What is a Pregnancy Rash?

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  • Written By: Tara Barnett
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 20 September 2016
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A pregnancy rash is a skin condition that occurs while a woman is pregnant. There are a variety of different types of pregnancy rashes, all with different causes. Some rashes are harmless to the fetus, while others can be dangerous even if the rash does not seem severe to the mother. For this reason, it is important to have any pregnancy rash examined by a doctor. Most of the time, a rash during pregnancy can be treated with simple medications.

One of the most common types of pregnancy rash is called pruritic uticarial papules and plagues of pregnancy, or PUPPP. This type of rash is thought to be caused by cells from the fetus irritating the mother, but there is no definitive known cause. A pregnancy rash of this sort is characterized by red swollen marks on the abdomen occurring sometime in the third trimester. While this type of pregnancy rash cannot be cured, discomfort can be alleviated using itch creams as directed by a doctor.

Prurigo gestationis is another type of pregnancy rash characterized by itchy red bumps on the arms, hands, or feet. This type of rash is also dealt with using itch creams and is not associated with any additional risk to the mother or child. Herpes gestationis, on the other hand, is another rash that may affect the child as well. A rash of this sort is characterized by itchy bumps that become lesions and may continue or worsen after birth.


Given that rashes can be signs of serious problems during the pregnancy, it is essential to visit a doctor for even normal-looking rashes. Some rashes are caused by things like liver problems, and infants born to mothers with these rashes have an increased chance of being born prematurely. Knowing what precisely the rash is can help prepare for potential problems later on, as well as provide relief from symptoms. Particularly if one is going through a first pregnancy, any suspicious symptom should be dealt with promptly.

Less serious pregnancy rashes include those due to wearing clothing that does not fit or getting too hot or sweaty. Pregnant women often feel itchy or hot and may experience extreme itching in the abdominal area. Stretch marks, which are lines caused by the rapid expansion of skin, may initially look like rashes as well. These problems are usually uncomfortable for the mother but not dangerous at all for the child. The best way to treat these problems is to wear loose clothing and stay relaxed and comfortable.


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Post 3

Is eczema considered a rash? I seem to have developed eczema and I'm four months pregnant. I've never had this before. My skin is red, raised and there are some blisters. It hurts!

Post 2

@literally45-- I developed a PUPPP rash in my pregnancy too, when I was 36 weeks and I had it until I gave birth. I think that's the case with most women who have it.

There are prescription ointments that stop the itching and relieve inflammation though. If the one you have isn't working, go back to your doctor and ask for something else.

I also used baby rash cream and vitamin E cream when I had it and those helped as well.

I know what you're going through, it's not fun but hang in there. Once you have your baby, you will realize it was worth it.

Post 1

I have a PUPPP pregnancy rash on my stomach and I'm using the anti-itch cream given by my doctor but it hasn't made a difference.

Will I have this rash for the rest of my pregnancy? I can't stand the itching, I don't know what to do.

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