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What Can Itchy Stretch Marks During Pregnancy Mean?

One of the most com­mon preg­nan­cy-relat­ed skin dis­eases is a con­di­tion called Pru­rit­ic Urticar­i­al Papules and Plaques of Preg­nan­cy (PUPPP). The skin erup­tion is char­ac­ter­ized by intense­ly itchy, red-col­ored bumps that gen­er­al­ly form with­in abdom­i­nal stretch marks. Over the course of sev­er­al days the lesions may mul­ti­ply, group togeth­er and spread sym­met­ri­cal­ly. Areas most fre­quent­ly involved are the abdomen, but­tocks and thighs.

This dis­ease most often affects women who are preg­nant for the first time, and recur­rences with sub­se­quent preg­nan­cies are uncom­mon. It has been not­ed that women who devel­op PUPPP aver­age more weight gain and greater abdom­i­nal cir­cum­fer­ence dur­ing preg­nan­cy com­pared to women who do not devel­op the dis­ease. There­fore, women car­ry­ing twins or triplets are more fre­quent­ly affect­ed. Most cas­es begin late in the third trimester and last an aver­age of 6 weeks.

PUPPP is not asso­ci­at­ed with any harm­ful effects to either the moth­er or unborn child; how­ev­er, it is impor­tant to note that this skin con­di­tion may mim­ic oth­er dis­eases that can be harm­ful dur­ing preg­nan­cy and it is best to have eval­u­at­ed by a health care professional.

How do you treat PUPPP?

The goal of treat­ment is to con­trol the erup­tion and relive the itch­ing with top­i­cal steroids, anti-itch lotions and anti­his­t­a­mines. The con­di­tion ulti­mate­ly resolves with­in 1 week of deliv­ery. Con­sid­er mak­ing an appoint­ment with a Der­ma­tol­o­gist so that an appro­pri­ate treat­ment plan can be put in place, essen­tial­ly keep­ing you com­fort­able and safe dur­ing pregnancy.