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.
WHAT IS PUPPP RASH?
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!
What pregnancy is advertised as
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.
HOW TO TREAT PUPPP RASH
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.
MY EXPERIENCE WITH HIVES
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.
IF YOU HAVE PUPPP Rash
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.
WHAT I’M DOING
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.
I developed PUPPP at 28 weeks and it spread rapidly and fiery across my whole body. My doctor and dermatologist prescribed a steroid cream and told me to take benadryl and to wait it out because it will go away after I give birth…. well that was 12 weeks away and I was not about to just sit back and be absolutely miserable. I have scoured the internet for other people who have experienced the same thing and found a whole community of pregnant women who are suffering 🙁 So far, I’ve found pine tar soap + benadryl + ice packs worked well to calm my skin down when I was having really bad itching moments. I also feel like any topical cream or lotion only made the itching worse, so I stopped using them and am currently focused on using the soap and cold packs while I test out the theory from another blogger I read about curing it from the inside out. Next up…. a diet that focuses on detoxing the liver. (black cherry juice, citrus fruit, whole grains, no fried food, sugars etc) at this point I’m willing to try anything and have heard good responses from focusing on your liver… but who knows?!
It’s horrifying how many women are suffering during their pregnancy because “it’s not fatal or that big a deal” the itching is torcher! I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. SO sorry to hear that you are experiencing this. As someone who went through it, there’s nothing that I can say other than you are NOT ALONE.
Hello super heroes!! I am 8 weeks pregnant and that’s is very rare to experience such exact pupps at first trimester, at first I thought I ate Something which caused me allergy or may I got a mosqueto bite!! But after few hours it started to spread around my neck, hands, underarms, around the belly and back,,, the worst is after 5 days it started to spread in my hair sculp and I feel like am on fire right now. Am worried as a pregnant we can’t take steroids doses and that’s the only quick solution. But I can’t imagine after all the doctors visits and lab tests, they told me that this is common in pregnancy!!! Seriously that didn’t help at all and I wished I ate something that caused this instead. Currently am taking zyrtec during the day and chlorophyll at night with continuous application of Calmin lotion all day and night. I really don’t know when that will dissappear am tired and don’t know if I can handle it more often. Best of luck to anyone who is experiencing this and I highly appreciate how mommy’s are suffering to bring a miracle to life. Best regards, Hunaida
Hi gorgeous, thanks for sharing and to everyone here. I’m in my 18 weeks pregnancy and my hives in the middle of 15-16 weeks of pregnancy. My doctor and nurse recommended benadryl and oath baths as well they help but not really, I guess when the benadryl is out of my system it started to get very itchy especially by 4am as well. I get very worried my doctor told me I might have an allergy and told me go to dermatologist but my concern if they can really helped me or we just have to spend money instead saved that money for my delivery? It’s very irritating and makes me worry so much whenever I am itchy,does my baby felt it too or my baby feels more itchy, I don’t want my baby to suffer the same thing.
I developed my PUPPP rash in postpartum (which I’m told is pretty rare, lucky me!) and my doctor was sad to tell me it may last 4-6 weeks. This rash is no joke! I’d rather have all of my “regular” pregnancy symptoms back, and I’d even prefer to deliver my baby again over having this constant itchiness!!! I empathize with anyone struggling with this, in pregnancy or postpartum 🙁
Thank you for sharing. I am 35 weeks and developing PUPPPs. It has spread so quickly in just a matter of days and I’m trying not to scratch but it is impossible. Did you work during this time? I am nervous how it will go at work, as I have patients all day, when I can barely tolerate clothes over my skin at home…
Nice read and info. Thanks. I do feel empathized. I am writing this in middle of night as i am suffering.
I hope you find some relief. It’s just awful.