PUPPP Rash During Pregnancy

This blog post is about my experience with PUPPP Rash during pregnancy

PUPPP Rash during pregnancy, let's add this to the long list of things people do not talk about or tell you about pregnancy. 


The basic definition of PUPPP Rash during pregnancy is:


PUPPP is an itchy, bumpy rash — annoying but benign — that usually develops on the abdomen in stretch marks and sometimes appears on the thighs, buttocks or arms. It’s most common in first-time mothers and those carrying multiples. Sometimes itching can become very severe and spread to the rest of the body, but never on the face (thank goodness for small miracles). (whattoexpect.com)


This rash is beyond annoying and for me developed on my wrists first, then spreading over my entire body up my neck, but yes it did not reach my face. This all began the night before my 34th week of pregnancy. 


Honestly, I don’t even care how awful it looks, it’s the insistent itching and swelling that is the most uncomfortable and difficult to deal with. Imagine your entire body itching only aggravated by anything touching your skin, and even further aggravated when warm. You cannot get comfortable. Being well into my 8th month of pregnancy, comfort is key. Hot showers and sleep are joys that I’m now robbed of. 


PUPPS Rash makes it impossible to get sleep because any pressure on the rash causes more itching. Scratching the itch spreads the rash and causes swelling and even more inflammation. 


There are different levels of PUPPS Rash and what I experienced seems to be on the more server side. Yay me! 

PUPPP rash during pregnancy Serein Wu

What pregnancy is advertised as

PUPPP Rash during pregnancy Serein Wu
PUPPP Rash during pregnancy Serein Wu
PUPPP Rash during pregnancy Serein Wu

These photos of my PUPPP rash during pregnancy are at it's best soothed times. The worst flare ups are usually around 4am when I'm hysterically crying in the bathtub trying to soothe the itching and swelling exhausted. The last thing I'm thinking of is snapping a photo. My friend who also experienced PUPPP Rash during pregnancy shared her photos and said the exact same thing.


While the rash is not dangerous to your baby, the lack of sleep and discomfort isn’t great for your final trimester either. I mean I’ve already had my first pregnancy during a pandemic and my doctor’s office shut down with no notice at 30 weeks, can I catch a break?


No one knows what causes PUPPP, but most doctors don’t know what causes hives either. My doctor recommended Benadryl and calamine lotion. 


I also found oat milk baths to be soothing, but only if the water was lukewarm. Any heat would trigger itching.  


Wear loose clothing, avoid sunlight and heat. Sleeping with ice packs.  Drink plenty of water and try to get as much rest as possible. 


The most frustrating thing when going through PUPPP is how women will tell you it lasted for them till the end of their pregnancy or “oh I was itchy too at the end of my pregnancy,” which is the last thing you want to hear. 


Your experience is yours and it cannot be diminished by it being “common” or because so and so was also itchy. PUPPP Rash is no joke and incredibly unbearable at night. I'm writing this blog post the help those experiencing it know they are not alone and they are not over reacting. This isn't a tiny rash or normal hives. It's something more. 



I’ve had my fair share of experience with hives and it’s never pleasant. My first horrible experience was the onset of hives in elementary school that lasted for 6 months. These hives were all over my body and face. 


I had missed weeks of school, saw countless doctors, who all said it was not contagious, but could not offer any real treatments or answers. When I went back to school the parents and teachers were all afraid of me. I looked awful. Giant red blotches swollen all over my face and body. The worst was the constant itching. 


Try learning while also not scratching your skin off. The kids surprisingly got past my hives and treated me pretty normal, but it was the way the adults behaved that has forever been ingrained in my mind. It’s probably why I don’t hold too much value on my appearance. 


I was on steroid creams, which did little to nothing and really just made me feel sticky aggravating the hives all day. They eventually put me on medication, which also didn’t really do much. Eventually the hives went away, but not without some lasting trauma. 



So if you are reading this blog post because you have PUPPP rash during your pregnancy. I’m sorry because I truly know what you are going through. Nothing I say will help. No one can tell you how long your rash will last or what triggered it. 


Maybe knowing 1 in 150 first time pregnancies experience this in their third trimester might help you. It didn’t help me. 



The most frustrating thing is that I have all these plans and lists of things I wanted to get done the last month of my first pregnancy, but everything has been on hold or slowed down as I take care of my symptoms. 


I can’t tell you what will help you or what you should do, but here’s what I’m doing based on what works for me to manage the symptoms and what my doctor has recommended. 


Please ALWAYS check with your doctor before trying anything, ESPECIALLY while pregnant. 


  • Drinking tons of water, eliminating allergies in diet and around me as much as possible. 
  • Wearing loose clothing
  • Applying Calamine lotion consistently
  • Taking oat baths in lukewarm water
  • Taking Benadryl at night before bed (this is something I hate doing, but it’s that bad right now)
  • Sleeping with ice packs 
  • Turning our AC down to 70 


Unfortunately there’s nothing we can do to prevent PUPPP Rash during pregnancy, the worst is all the resources saying it’ll go away after pregnancy. Really? That’s supposed to be helpful? 


Something I’m realizing more and more during this pregnancy is truly how much we are not told about pregnancy, labor, and delivery as women, especially in the United States. The unbelievable thing is that we should just grin and bear it because we are given the gift of our baby. 


Yes, I’m grateful for my baby and its health, but that does not make my pain and suffering any less or does it mean it should be ignored. Women deserve to be treated as human beings with complex emotions and the right to informed consent at all times. We should be made aware of pregnancy symptoms and options to treat symptoms and so much more. 


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