Itching during pregnancy

Ridhi Doomra

Created by Ridhi Doomra
Updated on Jul 12, 2021

Itching during pregnancy
Reviewed by Expert panel

Pregnancy comes with numerous metabolic and hormonal changes in your body and mild itching during this period is essentially a result of those changes. And as you progress in your pregnancy you might experience itchiness around your abdomen, and breasts, as the skin around these areas is stretching to accommodate the growing foetus thus causing the itch. In addition, if you have a dry skin the itchiness becomes intense and more pronounced. So let's go deep in this and see what are the exact causes of itching and is it why some mommies to be experience more itching than others.

What Causes Itching During Pregnancy?

Usually the itching during pregnancy is because of all the changes your body is going through this period like I said earlier as well. However, in some rare cases the itching can be due to an underlying medical condition for which you may need to consult your doctor. Sometimes the severe itching may be accompanied by other symptoms that clearly state that you need to consult a doctor. 3 main symptoms are

  1. Dark coloured urine
  2. Unusual bowel movements
  3. Yellow eyes and skin

Also Read: Should You Have Benadryl During pregnancy

Can Itching During Pregnancy Cause Stretch Marks?

It is not the itching that causes stretch marks but all the scratching you do to ease the itch does cause the stretch marks. Imagine a full blown balloon and you scratch it with your finger tips you get some marks on the skin of the balloon. Same is the case with your pregnant belly. Your stomach muscles are stretched and if you scratch to ease the itch you will leave marks on your abdomen and these marks become more pronounced post delivery thus taking the form of stretch marks.

How To Treat Constant Itching During Pregnancy?

Constant itching during pregnancy can be both frustrating and troublesome. So how can you control or treat the constant itching. Here are 4 simple steps to ease constant itching.

  1. Stay hydrated: Keep yourself hydrated as that helps in keeping the skin soft and supple thus reducing the itch
  2. Light oil massage: Use coconut oil on the itchy area to keep it moisturised
  3. Towel dry gently: Don't rub yourself dry instead gently dry yourself and post drying apply oil all over the body to reduce the itch. Believe me it works wonders and leaves your skin well hydrated and less prone to itching
  4. Use mild detergents: While washing ensure that you are using a mild detergent and the clothes are thoroughly clean with no soap residue left on the clothes as that can aggravate itching

Why Does My Pregnant Belly Itch At Night?

While mild itching is quite common during pregnancy, but if the itching is severe and troubling you in the night then it is better to consult your doctor as it could be a medical condition that may require immediate medical intervention. So if your belly is itching in the night despite doing everything to reduce the itch then it is high time you consulted your doctor.

Is Itching During Pregnancy Indicative Of Baby Gender?

Well it is essentially a myth that your itch can predict the gender of your baby. There are numerous tales about it. When I was pregnant with my child, I was told that if you are itching in the left it is girl and if on the right then it is a boy. Oh boy!! But I was itching all over my abdomen! So ladies pay no heed to it and treat the itchiness there is no truth in this statement.

itching during pregnancy

Itchy Legs During Pregnancy

Wearing tights or clothes that are irritating to the skin can cause legs to itch during pregnancy. Itchy legs can also be observed as a side-effect of diabetes or kidney diseases. Though mild itching is common in pregnancy and not a cause of concern, but severe itching should be reported to the doctor. Your doctor can check for 'obstetric cholestasis', or 'intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy' (ICP), which is rare and affects about 1% of all pregnant women.

Home Remedies For Itching During Pregnancy

Although there are some natural therapies that you can do at home to ease the itching during pregnancy I would still suggest that if you experience severe itching please consult your gynaecologist for the same. Below are 7 ways to ease itching during pregnancy. I would like to share a few tips to help relieve itching during pregnancy:

  1. Cold packs help: Whenever you experience itching around your abdomen and breast areas take some ice cubes in a muslin cloth and rub it over the itching area till the itching subsides
  2. Moisturise well: Keep your skin hydrated with a good perfume free moisturise, you may also like to use cocoa butter as it keeps the skin soft, supple and itch free for a long time
  3. Keep yourself well hydrated: Well like your skin needs to stay soft and moisturise from outside it also needs the same hydration from within as well. So drink plenty of water so that the toxins are flushed out and your skin is soft and supple
  4. Natural fabrics are your best bet: Go for fabrics that are made of natural fibres especially cotton as that lets your skin breathe easy thus not adding to the itch and minimising the itching to some extent
  5. Avoid anything fragrant: Yes that includes your soaps, perfumes and even deodorants, as all this increase the irritation in the skin thus further making your skin itch. So go for mild soaps and perfumes. In fact avoid perfumes and deodorants if you can
  6. Say no to hot showers: Yes, hot showers tend to aggravate itching by drying the skin and thus making it worse. So avoid taking hot showers or baths. In case you are addicted to hot showers or baths then you can opt for warm or lukewarm baths so that there is no sudden dryness of the skin that results in itching
  7. Aloe Vera to rescue: You may also apply aloe vera gel to soothe the itchy skin and inflammation as it is a natural healer. You can directly take the gel from the plant and apply it on the itchy skin or you can buy it from a pharmacy shop

If you have a serious rash or are extremely itchy, these measures alone are probably not enough to give you adequate relief. Talk to your doctor. You may need topical or oral medication, or both.

Happy, healthy pregnancy mommies!

Did you find Ridhi's information on itching during pregnancy useful? How did/do you relieve itching during your pregnancy? Do leave your comments…. We love hearing from you!

This content has been checked & validated by Doctors and Experts of the parentune Expert panel. Our panel consists of Neonatologist, Gynecologist, Peadiatrician, Nutritionist, Child Counselor, Education & Learning Expert, Physiotherapist, Learning disability Expert and Developmental Pead.

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| Aug 14, 2017

I agree it's scratching that leaves scratch marks. Instead of scratching we should rub gently with soft cotton cloth.

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| Aug 31, 2017

i am going thru this itching phase and trust me its not normal i feel like a monkey all day.. but reading this i feel normal its all in the hormones n pregnancy can really come up wit weird things and changes... thanks

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| Sep 14, 2018

I used to apply coconut oil & glycerin mixture everyday once starting 4th month. Increase that to twice if still feel itchy. Apply n masage henry for 5 minutes. DON'T SCCRATCH. I am a mother and never got any streatch mark during pragnency.

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| Apr 09, 2019

i am going through bad itching.. and that is due to bilirubin increase in my blood. plz get urself tested and get ur lft done if ur bilirubin will be high u need to get the medicine for the same

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| Sep 19, 2019

I have extreme itching on my breasts ... I scratch with nails and piece of cloth and many more things but its still same ....

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| Jul 16, 2020

U can also rub a mixture of coconut oil +aloe vera gel every day starting from the second trimester,as the stomach gets bigger u can increase to twice a day or apply when u feel the itching... it helps softens the skin and makes it easy for it to stretch.

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