This article was first published on ZenParent. Read the original article here.
Are you pregnant and itching all the time? Most pregnant mothers complain of itching in the stomach, chest or feet all the time. Where are you itchy? I remember feeling like there was a dust particle lodged around my nose somewhere and scratched it until it was tomato red, most of the time!
Truth is, pregnancy is a time when the hormone levels in a womanâ€™s body are constantly changing and that is usually reason enough for the heightened sensitivity in skin. As your belly expands to make room for the new life growing inside it, the skin also stretches, and that often causes the itching.
However, sometimes this all-too-common pregnancy side-effect could potentially be a sign of something serious too.
- When the itching is usually in hands or feet
- Urine is darker and smellier
- Fatigue/ exhaustion
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms you should consult a doctor because it could be Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy (ICP).
ICP is a group of liver disorders specific to pregnancy which interfere with the flow of bile. Elevated bile acids in the blood are associated with increased risk to the unborn baby.
It is important to note that Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy is not a single disorder, but a heterogeneous group of many different disorders, all of which lead to elevated bile acids. This means that the disorder may present itself very differently in affected women. 80% of cases are diagnosed in the third trimester, about 10% in the second trimester, and another 10% in the first trimester.
What you can do?
Luckily not all the itchiness is cause for you to head to the doctor. Here are some tried and tested formulas to rid you of the constant rash inducing itchiness.
Take a warm water bath everyday and make sure you moisturize thoroughly. If you live in warmer climes, it is perfectly all right to bathe twice, in which case you must moisturize right after every bath.
- Do not scratch
This is a golden rule mothers have talked about since we were kids. Scratching hard only worseness the skin that is already quite distressed because of the hormonal changes. Using nails could form a rupture. Try keeping a small hand towel and rub gently on the areas that are regularly itchy.
- Use Vitamin E oil
If using vitamin e enriched lotions are not helping, try buying vitamin e tablets that are freely available in the market. Buy a few capsules and puncture them into a small cup. Mix a teaspoonful of olive oil to make it more pliable when you apply.
- Use humidifier in the room
Since dryness is the real source of most of the redness on your skin, you can reduce this by using a humidifier. A humidifier is a gadget that increases the water (humid) content in the air around you and can relieve you of some of the dryness you feel.
- Use sunscreen
Strong sun can definitely do damage to your skin. It is important for you to apply a sun screen lotion with an SPF of at least 30+ to protect your sensitive skin.
- Drink plenty of water
Make it a point to increase your water intake when the dryness is at its peak. Drinking at least 8-10 glasses of water can help in flushing out toxin buildup, and keeping you well hydrated.
- Do mild exercises
Do not give exercises a skip. Do mild yoga/walking/exercises as prescribed by your doctor to maintain good blood circulation.
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