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Relieving itchy skin during pregnancy
Q: I’m 26 weeks pregnant, and I have really itchy skin. What’s safe to use to reduce my itchiness?
A: During pregnancy there are a number of reasons your skin may feel itchy. Your core body temperature rises during pregnancy, causing some women to get a heat rash. Many women find their skin is sensitive to clothing during pregnancy, so they choose loose, cotton clothing rather than synthetic fabrics. Detergents may contain ingredients that lead to itching, too. Changing brands can help. Try Dreft® or Ivory Snow®.

To relieve itchy skin, your may find relief from a tepid oatmeal bath. Try Aveeno® products or make a bath using two parts cornstarch to one part baking soda. Over-the-counter preparations that can help with itchiness include cortisone cream and benadryl® (diphenhydramine HCL). Be aware, however, that Benadryl can cause drowsiness.

If your itchy skin persists, talk to your healthcare provider. There’s a pregnancy condition in which excess bile acids can be responsible for itching. A blood test can determine if this is the case. If so, there are specific medications that can reduce the itching.

Laura E. Stachel M.D. Obstetrician & Gynecologist