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Skin Itching in Pregnancy

A pregnant woman sometimes has itchy skin. This is not the most common symptom that most often appears with severe hormonal disruptions or abnormal liver function. Itching is expressed as an unpleasant sensation on the surface of the skin that you want to get rid of. The woman scratches the itchy areas in an attempt to numb the symptom.

Skin itching intensifies in the evening. It can wake up a pregnant woman in the middle of the night causing sleep problems. Women who are predisposed to chronic diseases of the biliary tract are especially susceptible to the manifestation of the symptom.

When Does Skin Itching Start in Pregnancy?

Skin itching is typical for the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. Violations in the liver occur at this time. Skin itching in the first trimester appears less frequently. It will be associated with loss of elasticity and increased dryness of the skin. This is due to a sharp surge in hormones.

Itching of the skin in the third trimester appears in the breast and abdomen. These are the places where the skin is most stretched.


Skin itching makes itself felt at the 20th and 28th weeks of pregnancy as a manifestation of cholestasis. This is due to the body’s response to elevated estrogen levels. There is intrahepatic stagnation of bile.

The manifestation of itching may disturb closer to the date of birth – at the 36th 38th week with a strong stretching of the skin. This is the period when the belly and breast grew the most.

Skin Itching pregnancy weeks

When will it end?

Itching of the skin caused by a malfunction of the liver should pass after the 28th week. A symptom caused by stretching of the skin can continue until childbirth and end only after the birth of the baby. Such a symptom can haunt a woman during allergy season if a woman has allergic reactions.

How Does it Feel?

Skin itching is felt as an unbearable feeling of discomfort, burning, and unpleasant feelings on the skin. Causes a reflex desire for scratching and friction. The symptom intensifies when the skin touches irritants: clothing or water. Itching sensations can be acute or mild. This is largely determined by the cause of the symptom.


The symptom occurs abruptly and is paroxysmal with a strong manifestation. The skin itches unbearably. The woman scratches her even more complicating the situation. There is redness, swelling, and itching only increase.


The symptom is mildly expressed in local foci of itching. The skin doesn’t itch much. Simple scratching reduces symptoms. It is short-term and does not bother a woman for a long period.

Do not confuse itchy skin as a symptom of pregnancy with dermatitis, allergies, or a serious illness.

Prevention methods

It is necessary to identify your predispositions to minimize the likelihood of a symptom of itching during pregnancy. It is better to undergo an examination that will help determine the tendency to allergies, chronic diseases of the biliary tract, and dry skin.

Treatment at the stage of preparation for pregnancy will eliminate the risks of a symptom. We can distinguish the following among the methods of prevention:

Choleretic preparations

The doctor may recognize choleretic if there is a hereditary feature of disorders in the outflow of bile, liver problems, dyskinesia, and other disorders. They will help reduce the level of bilirubin in the blood and improve the outflow of bile. By getting rid of the common cause of itchy skin, you can completely prevent its occurrence during pregnancy.

Reveal a tendency to allergies

Women during the gestation period may experience symptoms of allergic reactions in the form of urticaria or atopic dermatitis. It is better to take tests in advance and understand what you may be allergic to. You can completely avoid skin rashes and itching by removing these allergens during pregnancy.

Take care of your skin regularly

Itching sensations can appear due to severe dryness of the skin. It is recommended to constantly moisturize the body so that the symptom manifests itself less. Use a cream or oil immediately after a shower. This will nourish the epidermis, increase elasticity and reduce the risk of stretch marks. Skincare is ideally best started long before pregnancy. Moisturize it more thoroughly as soon as you know about your situation.

Why Skin Itching Occurs in Pregnancy?

The most common itching during pregnancy is a violation of the liver. This may be a malfunction in the production and outflow of bile or an increased level of bilirubin. Fatty acids that are produced in large quantities enter the skin along with the bloodstream. They irritate the nerve endings causing unbearable itching.

Liver function is disrupted due to hormonal disruptions and increased estrogen production. Functional disorders of the outflow of bile can occur with strong fetal pressure on the bile ducts. The skin may itch due to an exacerbated allergy. The influence of the external environment increases on a woman in a position. Her immune system is weakened and defense mechanisms work intermittently.

The skin in the third trimester itches as a result of severe dryness and tension, with the growth of the abdomen and a general increase in body weight.


You need to eliminate any irritants to protect your skin from itching. Track what causes the most exacerbation of symptoms and remove these factors. This will reduce the risk of acute skin reactions. Among the means of protection are pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. Vitamins and basic precautions work well.


Nourish your skin with a good cream. Pay special attention to the belly, thighs, and breast. Avoid dry knees and elbows. These are the most vulnerable places prone to peeling and itching. Apply the cream all over your body after showering. It should not contain allergic components and aggressive substances.

Lightweight and natural clothing

Wear underwear and clothes made only from natural fabrics. It should be cotton, linen, or viscose. It is better to choose loose-fitting models that will reduce friction and allow the skin to breathe. It is better to do without pajamas during sleep. Especially if the itching bothers you very much. Bed linen should also be natural and smooth.

Antiallergic drugs

Antihistamines may be prescribed if the cause of skin itching is allergies. Doctors most often prefer topical agents: ointments, gels, and creams. They significantly reduce itching and irritation and relieve swelling and redness. Only a doctor can prescribe specific drugs after a thorough examination.


Be sure to contact the doctor if the itching of the skin is accompanied by severe rashes. They occupy a large space of the skin or are focal. You need to go to a dermatologist if eczema, severe swelling, or ulcers appear. There may be more serious reasons for this than a violation of the liver. Skin itching and rashes very often appear with diabetes, dermatitis, viruses, or after stress.

What Not to Do

Do not self-diagnose when skin itching occurs. Only a doctor who specializes in this field can determine the cause of the symptom. Skin itching without rashes with a short-term manifestation does not require treatment. Mandatory consultation with a dermatologist is necessary if the problem is serious. Prohibitions for skin itching:

Do not scratch the skin

Reflex scratching with severe itching can destroy the top layer of the skin. This will lead to serious consequences because you can bring the infection.


It is not recommended to take sun baths with a strong manifestation of the symptom. The skin at such moments is too vulnerable and sunbathing can harm it.

Take a hot shower

Hot water is a strong irritant. It will increase the itching and cause extensive redness of the skin. Contact with water must be limited.

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