Itching in pregnancy, a common symptom

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Itching: a common symptom in pregnancy

About 20-25% of pregnant women - one in four or five - suffer from itching, which is therefore a fairly common condition in pregnancy. Typically, itching affects the abdomen, but it can sometimes extend to the hips and thighs as well. "Usually it's one physiological condition and, apart from a little annoyance, it does not involve problems "says the gynecologist and phytotherapist Valentina , freelancer.

Depends on what

The main cause of the "physiological" pruritus of pregnancy is represented by the variations affecting the skin which, especially in the third trimester, stretches a lot as the belly increases in volume. "It is no coincidence - comments the gynecologist - in the vast majority of cases the itch appears right in the third quarter".

Furthermore, due to hormonal changes, the skin tends to dry out, and this also contributes to itching.

Read also: Pregnancy, this is how your body changes

Itching in pregnancy, what to do

The first thing to do is avoid too aggressive detergents, which tend to dry out the skin, preferring delicate products, for sensitive and intolerant skin: therefore better non-foaming and possibly fragrance-free detergents.

"Furthermore, it is worth considering whether aintolerance or allergy to any cosmetic product (creams or oils) that you may be using on your stomach to reduce the risk of stretch marks. "he advises." Just try to stop the cosmetic for a few days and see what happens. If the symptom improves it means that it is better not to use that cosmetic anymore, if it remains unchanged it means that the causes are other ".

To give relief they can be used moisturizing and emollient creams, possibly containing menthol, which has a cooling effect. In fact, the heat worsens the symptom, so it is better to avoid being too outdoors on very hot days, and dressing light if for example it is hot in the office. And speaking of clothing: avoid contact with synthetic clothing instead of breathable natural fibers. And no to clothes that are too tight - in any case not recommended during pregnancy - preferring the more comfortable ones instead.

Read also: Maternity clothing, the advice of the midwife

Finally: even if it is true that when it itches, it itches ... fundamental when there is itching is avoid scratching, "also because - he affirms - the micro-lesions from scratching in turn create more itching." In this regard, it may be useful to try to elaborate some distraction strategies to be put in place when itching comes, for example singing a song, counting to 10, rubbing your hand and so on.

Do you have to worry?

Although itching in pregnancy is usually a physiological condition, which does not involve risks for either the mother or the baby, it is always worthwhile to talk to your doctor about it, to be sure that it is not associated with other diseases. Indeed, in some cases rare or very rare it can be symptom of other conditions, dermatological or other, which can give rise to obstetric complications. "Certainly the doctor should be consulted if the itching is intense and affects other parts of the body in addition to the abdomen, and if it is accompanied by arash"he warns.

Read also: Itching in pregnancy, when to worry

Other sources for this article: Pruritus in Pregnancy, article published in Canadian Family Physician; information material on Baby Center

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