Itching and Skin Conditions

Most itchy skin in pregnancy is caused by stretching and hormonal changes.moisturizing

  • Gentle, massages with oil where the skin has stretched can help a lot. –  Try almond, sesame, coconut, olive, avocado, apricot or vitamin E oil.
  • Moisturize your skin with fragrance free skin care products.
  • Avoid mineral oil-based skin care products. Read the labels; most skin products are made with mineral oil.
  • A hexane-free castor oil softens and soothes dry and scaly skin.
  • Avoid hot showers and baths, because they dry out your skin.
  • Take warm baths with flower petals and a few drops of pure flower oil; Try rosemary or lavender. Some essential oil companies have fragrant blends for mother and baby.
  • Take colloidal oatmeal baths. – Colloidal oatmeal is made from extremely fine-ground whole oats, which can relieve itching and soothe skin.
    You can make your own (grinding or blending essentially oats into a powder). Add two cups into a warm bath. Aveeno Soothing Bath Treatment is a similar product that is sold in stores.
  • Gently pat yourself dry afterward to avoid rubbing or irritating any sensitive areas.
  • Mild laundry soap – Pregnancy can make you more sensitive to irritants like detergent residue.
    Make sure your clothing, towels and sheets are washed in mild laundry soap and well rinsed.
  • Choose a natural shampoo.
  • Some women benefit from avoiding soap altogether.
  • Choose loose fitting, cotton or natural fiber clothing over polyester or blends.

Because you’re making a baby, begin treating your own skin like a baby’s.

Treating Itchy Skin Through Diet

  • Be sure you are drinking sufficient amounts of water.
  • Add unrefined virgin olive oil to your diet.
  • Increase your intake of foods that are rich in vitamins A, D, and linolenic acids.

Vitamin A-rich foods:

  • Fish liver oil
  • Liver
  • Vegetables
  • Eggs
  • Dairy products

Vitamin D sources:

  • Sunlight (no tanning – use sunscreen)
  • Vitamin D-fortified dairy products
  • Saltwater fish
  • Fish liver oil

Linolenic acid sources:

  • Flax seed oil
  • Evening primrose oil
  • Sardines

Releasing Toxins

Itching during pregnancy may also be due to the body’s efforts to purify, releasing old stored toxins through the skin.

Detoxification causes excess heat in the liver and blood, which must be released via the skin This is why it itches and it can feel like you are on fire.

itchy-skin-during-pregnancyBetween 0.02 and 2.4% of pregnant women are diagnosed with a condition called pruritus gravidarum (also called PUPPS) or pruritic urticarial papules and plaques  (PUPPP), a kind of severe itching with itchy red spots spreading to your arms and legs. It is related to elevated estrogen and progesterone levels interfering with the liver’s efficiency in excreting bile salts. Onset is usually in the third trimester. The good news is there is nothing to worry about. The condition will go away after you give birth.

  • Drink the water of young coconuts and eat the soft flesh. Coconut is an ancient remedy, to relieve the excess heat in your body.
  • Cut fried and fatty foods out of your diet.
  • Drink more water.
  • Eating steamed or raw beetroot has been found to help.

Sometimes with PUP nothing seems to help except finally having the baby. Even if you are really uncomfortable, PUP does not harm mother or baby. You must try not to scratch so much that your skin become raw and sore.

In rare cases, itching particularly late in pregnancy,  especially on the hands and feet, could be a symptom of a more serious condition. Click here to learn when you should seek the help of a doctor.

Anti Itch Salad:

  • 1 Beetroot ~ peeled and grated
  • 1-2 tbsp lemon or lime juice
  • 1-2 Tbsp Omega oil (best) or Virgin Olive or Coconut Oil
  • Natural Soy sauce ~ to taste
  • Toss together and enjoy!

Melasma or “mask of pregnancy”

This condition is characterized by discoloration of the skin, mostly on the forehead, nose and upper lip. Melasma is not usually itchy, but it makes women feel very self-conscious. Caused by hormonal changes, it gets worse if the mother is nutritionally stressed and it gets darker if exposed to the sun. Covering your skin to protect it from the sun helps minimize this condition. It normally goes away gradually after the baby is born. Improved nutrition is the key. In some Native American tribes, mothers would rub the baby’s first poo, the meconium, on melasma to reduce the staining of the skin. I have not tried this, but it can do no harm.

Itchy vagina

An itchy vagina often stems from a bacterial or yeast infection, especially if accompanied by strong odor.

  • Try sitting in a warm bath with a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, for at least 20 minutes, three times a day.
  • If after three days the symptoms persist, please tell your health care provider.
  • Avoid making love until it clears up completely.

As pregnancy comes to its fullness, it is very important to clear up any vaginal infections so the baby won’t be infected as he or she passes through the birth canal.

  • Wear cotton underwear only, or none at all, especially at night while you sleep.
  • Wipe after bowel movements only from front to back, to prevent infecting the vagina with feces.
  • Wash with mild soap (or no soap) and water at least twice daily.
  • Never douche, unless your health care provider recommends it.

Pregnancy does increase the wet and juicy quality of your vagina. There will be more discharge. If your vaginal discharge has no unpleasant odor (like bad fish or too-yeasty) there is no infection. You simply are more-juicy, a condition naturally occurring in pregnancy. Increased heat due to additional body weight, increased blood flow and hormonal levels contribute to a vaginal environment that has a more delicate balance and needs protection against infections.

For the same reasons mentioned above, you may also sweat more, while pregnant and breastfeeding. This is just your body’s natural ecology. Learn to love it.

When should I go to the doctor with my itchy skin during pregnancy?

If you have severe itching—particularly on your hands and feet—late in pregnancy that’s accompanied by dark-colored urine, light-colored bowel movements, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite and fatigue, talk to your doctor. They could be signs of cholestasis, a disease that affects the liver and that could also affect baby’s health.

In general, this is caused by an overtaxed liver.As the liver is nurtured and strengthened, the itching will stop, or at least lessen considerably.

Recommended Natural Treatments:

  • Dandelion: a detoxifying herb that supports liver function. Take dandelion root tincture twice daily
  • Yellow dock: relieves heat in the circulatory system and builds iron supply
  • Burdock: dispels toxins by means of diuresis (peeing toxins out)
  • Beet root: nourishing and supportive, promotes elimination, cleanses the liver.

These plants are mildly cathartic (help to empty the bowels), and diuretic, which is useful to remove the toxins from the stressed liver.

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