Causes of itching in pregnancy, when to worry

Pregnancy comes with  its own perks and discomforts. In other words, it is a roller coaster and each one is different, even for the same woman. Some women find it so easy at the beginning and towards the end, they may have disturbing symptoms, while for others it may be the other way around.

Pregnancy itching
Delighted and surprised woman holding pregnancy test

Itching is one of the symptoms that many pregnant women have to face, especially in the third trimester. It is not any easier for them if the weather is hot, like in the summer period.

In most cases, it is nothing to worry about. There are relief medication available to help out with this uncomfortable feeling.

Conditions that cause itching are

  • The normal stretch of the skin on the Abdomen

As the abdomen distends to accommodate the little miracle in it, so does the skin. This causes stretch marks for most pregnant women, and may be accompanied by itching. It is commonly observed from the second trimester.

pregnancy itching
The itch,pain of pregnant belly
  • Prurigo of pregnancy

Pruritus is the medical name for itching, while Prurigo means ‘itching disorder’. They are lesions which come out on the knees, elbows, ankles, shoulders and abdomen.They are so itchy so they look scratched out.

  • Obstetric cholestasis

This condition is rare. However, fact is it’s not ‘rare’ to the person that is affected. It is caused by pregnancy, in the last trimester, and results in severe itching which is more prominent on the soles of the feet and palms of the hands. It is also worse at night. The feeling is very discomforting, although it does not affect the health of the mother or that of the unborn child. Jaundice (yellowing of the skin) may occur in some situations.

Blood tests are done by the Doctor to test how the Liver functions, also regular scans are done to check that the Baby is fine. If severe, the baby is delivered.

Oral antihistamines, like piriton are helpful. The Doctor may also prescribe bile-reducing medications. Some people have found calamine lotion and Apple cider vinegar (ACV) effective, calamine lotion leaves the body white so it is best to be applied when You plan to stay indoors.

pregnancy itching remedy
Apple cider vinegar effective natural remedy for skin itch


  • Pemphigoid gestationis(PG)

Sometimes Our immune system may fight against itself, this is called autoimmunity. PG is an autoimmune condition that happens in the late second or last trimester.Itchy Blisters(fluid-filled raised skin lesions) are formed in groups.

It is managed with Oral and topical steroids.

  • Polymorphic eruption of pregnancy

Polymorphic simply means different/varying shapes and sizes. These rashes are seen on the abdomen, later spread down to the legs and buttocks and provoke itching. First-time pregnancies are more often affected and they start in the last trimester and immediately after birth.

  • Pruritic folliculitis of Pregnancy

These look like acne , except they cause scratching of the skin.

Topical steroids help to relieve the symptoms and they resolve on their own after delivery.

  • Preexisting skin diseases like Eczema can worsen during pregnancy and itching may manifest.

The most important action to take is to have regular antenatal check ups. Do not feel ashamed to discuss anything with Your Doctor.

pregnancy consultation
Pregnant woman and doctor in office

Stay healthy








  1. misschissyblog | 2nd Oct 17

    Oh my goodness I experiences polymorphic eruption of pregnancy with my second daughter, one is the worst experiences ever. Was really. As that’s I sometimes scratched my skin off …oh pregnancy don’t remind me 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

    • Nafisah Nuhu-koko | 2nd Oct 17

      Oh wow..I can imagine because I had obstetric cholestasis with my daughter. But thank God we can laugh it off now.. xxxx 😊😊😊😊

      • misschissyblog | 2nd Oct 17

        Yes we are 🤣🤣🤣. Wasn’t funny then …what we go through for our children eh

        • Nafisah Nuhu-koko | 3rd Oct 17

          I know right xxx

  2. Ger | 3rd Oct 17

    Oh I definitely could have used all this knowledge when I was pregnant. I had itching so bad around my stomach on my first that I often had to go back and forth to doc , because it became painful! Never had any itching ( well excessive itching ) with my other pregnancies .
    This is a very valuable piece , something which I think women aren’t really informed about !

    • Nafisah Nuhu-koko | 3rd Oct 17

      What You have is very true. We need to be better informed..thank you Ger

  3. sarah nichols | 3rd Oct 17

    this is a really helpful and informative post. I think its important that people look out for the signs and know when to see a doctor and when not. I didn’t suffer with much itching in either of my pregnancies luckily.

    • Nafisah Nuhu-koko | 3rd Oct 17

      Oh good to know You didn’t , it’s not a funny getting better informed,I think so too xx

  4. BattleMum | 3rd Oct 17

    I had incredible itching during my second and third trimester but only on my belly. It used to drive me crazy, especially at night. And it’s one thing I only learned about during pregnancy, I never knew about it before hand!

    • Nafisah Nuhu-koko | 3rd Oct 17

      Aww I totally understand. Glad You turned out fine.

  5. Newcastle Family Life | 4th Oct 17

    I had never heard of some of these conditions before and I have had three children x

    • Nafisah Nuhu-koko | 4th Oct 17

      wow, that’s awesome xx

  6. Amy - All about a Mummy | 4th Oct 17

    Oh my goodness I had completely forgotten how much my stomach itched when I was pregnant! It is all coming back to me now!!

    • Nafisah Nuhu-koko | 5th Oct 17

      It is quite unpleasant. xxx

  7. fashionandstylepolice | 4th Oct 17

    This is super helpful. I remember having the itch while I was pregnant 4 years ago.

    • Nafisah Nuhu-koko | 5th Oct 17

      Thank You for stopping by xxx

  8. Jenni | 4th Oct 17

    A very informative post. Thankfully I didn’t experience itching with either of my pregnancies.

    • Nafisah Nuhu-koko | 5th Oct 17

      Glad to hear that Jenni. Thank you xx

  9. Christy B | 5th Oct 17

    So helpful! Thank you 🙂

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