Itchy, scratchy, and Mrs. Happy

There’s this skin condition called PUPPP that some pregnant women get toward
the end of the third trimester. It occurs in fewer than one percent of pregnant
but those few suffer pretty terribly. Here’s what WebMD says
about it:

Pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy (PUPPP) is the most
common skin condition specific to pregnancy. Women with PUPPP develop small
red bumps and hives, and when severe, the bumps form large patches. This
rash usually starts on the abdomen and spreads to the thighs, buttocks, breasts,
and arms.

"You feel itchy everywhere during the worst and last trimester," Leffel
says. However, he adds, anti-itching topical medications, antihistamines,
and topical steroids can control the itching.

I’m here to tell you that topical medications and antihistamines don’t work,
at least not for Mrs. Happy. She saw the OB today, who told her she has the
worst case she’s ever seen. Calihist, Aveeno, and hydrocortisone relieve the
itching for about half an hour, but then she’s in hell again. The itching is
so bad it wakes her up at night. She can’t sleep for more than three hours
at a time because she has to keep reapplying the cream(s). She expects to live
like that after the
baby’s born, but not before.

She’s seeing a dermatologist tomorrow to hopefully get some sort of topical
steroid. The OB promised it wouldn’t affect the baby, but if any of you ladies
out there know of a natural or OTC way to cure this thing, your input would
be greatly appreciated.

14 thoughts on “Itchy, scratchy, and Mrs. Happy

  1. Hugs to you Mrs. Happy, I know how that last few weeks is rough :) I broke my foot when I was 38 weeks and it terribly affected my sleep as well. My thought about the lack of sleep at the end of pregnancy is that God is preparing you to have constant night wakings before their is a crying baby attached to it. That is with out the extra “bad” stuff that both of us experienced. There is a website that I am a member of that has a “natural living” section. They are great and knowledgable Christian ladies. If you post on there they might have something? I searched and couldn’t find anything about rashs in pregnancy. I hope that you feel better :)


  3. We’ve some friends locally who had the same problem during her last trimester. According to her, as soon as the baby was born – *within minutes* – the itching stopped and everything was fine. Not sure if this will happen in your case, but I’d hope so. And no, it didn’t affect the baby in the least. Maybe this will provide some hope.

  4. The Cortaid lotion is great for itching. Also, my stepson has eczema and he bathes with Selsun Blue- all over his body for itching. Sounds crazy but it helps him. It’s horrible being this far in and not being able to sleep but in reality even if she weren’t itching she wouldn’t be able to sleep for some reason or another!

  5. Tell them they need to induce.
    I retract my predictions from the baby pool.

    Caladryl lotion is effective for some skin conditions, but I would be afraid to use it during a pregnancy.
    Soaking in a bath with baking soda in the water (1/3 cup or so) might offer a little safe relief, but it will only last as long as she’s in the water.
    I live and die by cocoa butter (Palmer is my favorite brand) for dry itchy skin, but this condition sounds serious beyond the reach of cocoa butter.

    The loss of sleep isn’t worth fretting over. The night before my first daughter was born, I got up 8 times to go to the bathroom. God just has a way of breaking you in early, I think.

    Seriously, if she is that miserable, go tell the doctor that she can’t stand this, and demand that they induce. Remember the gander who stood up for his mate? You can do this! The baby is plenty big. Unless you know that he is twins and you aren’t saying anything. But twins are often early and they generally do fine. Go for it–maybe Tater will turn into an October Punkin.

  6. Mrs. Happy will be seeing a dermatologist today at the suggestion of her OB. She (my wife) really doesn’t want to induce. She’d rather everything happen as naturally as possible, except where this fiery itching is concerned. All the literature says the condition will clear up within a week of birth. It would be nice if it cleared up within minutes. Thanks everyone for your suggestions and prayers.

  7. I am sorry for Mrs. Happy, but I think sometimes God throws those things at us toward the end of the pregnancy just so we will want to go ahead and *have* the baby. My second baby was over ten pounds and I had sciatica so bad at eight months that I couldn’t walk. I actually crawled to the phone to call the nurse about it. She said it would go away when the baby came. I was incredulous, at the time, and asked her how I was supposed to take care of my two-year-old. Of couse, she didn’t have an answer for that. She was right, though, it did go away after the baby was born. :o )

  8. Oh, please, don’t try to be induced over this. Induction is so invasive and starts a whole process of events that can lead to having a c-section. Mrs. Happy will wish she *was* just itchy-scratchy and sleepless.

  9. {{{(soft, padded, non-itchy hugs)}}} I’ll be sending Mrs. Happy my most soothing and cooling thoughts. Does a cool shower or bath help? Maybe something like Solarcaine to numb the skin? Ugh. I wish I could help. Much love and many hugs and kisses, Amy

  10. **duly chastened**
    Sorry–that was bad advice. Thank you for not listening. I am sorry for offending you and hope you can forgive me.
    That was a knee-jerk reaction to a past experience of mine. When I was 26 and had a just-turned-three year old, an eighteen month old, and an eight-WEEK old, we all got the chickenpox. I was still having issues trying to heal up from too many births too close together, and then we got whacked with the chickenpox. Add to that, I live 1500 miles from family (who had already been out to help with the new baby once), and my husband was working a 50-hour-a-week, blood-sucking job at GE and had already burned all his vacation and personal leave for the birth of the baby. All my friends were also young mothers, who weren’t coming near a chicken-pox infested household. So I had to duke it out on my own, and as you saw above, I still bear some scars. It was a hellish experience, and when I thought of Mrs. Happy ripe with child and itching without reprieve, I had a huge emotional reaction. I am sorry. I will pray for God to help Mrs. Happy in His way.

  11. I guess at this point it is all prayers and many sympathetic shoulders to cry on. We are thinking about you both. Any words of wisdom from the skin doctor today?

  12. The dermatologist gave her a prescription for extra-strength hydrocortisone, and we went to Target and bought her a pair of silky pajamas that wouldn’t aggravate the itch.

    I didn’t mean to chasten you, just to explain. And believe me, I’ve lived with a pregnant woman for about nine months now, so I know all about emotional reactions. :)

  13. With my third child I had this same condition. Another woman posted she broke her foot. Well I had the hivess and I had broke my foot at 37 weeks. I would soak in Aveno baths it was the only thing that would relieve that feeling. I suffered through three weeks of it and finally my water broke. The hives were cleared up in a matter of days and the itching quit almost immediately after birth. Mrs Happy I feel your pain. Good Luck and hang in there.

    On a side note, I came accross your website and I love it. There are some wonderful ideas out there and it is nice to see someone embrase the spirit of marriage. I am in a relationship with a wonderful man finding love again after a very rough first marriage. We have seven children between us. Thank you, and I’ll be back for more reading.

  14. I am feeling your wife’s pain. My itch started w/ the bottoms of my feet. I bought a cold therapy unit (cooler w/ ice) that circulates cold water for about 6 hrs around the pain. It worked for the moment. A few days after constant nighttime use, the wide spread rash miraculously left the soles of my feet. Thank God! I could finally get some sleep. Then, lo and behold, I noticed a few dots under my bra… I scratched.. it instantly spread to my belly… literally within minutes. Then, my OB told my to use tanactin (anti-fungal foot spray)– that the rash was only something like prickly heat. Let me tell you– boy was he wrong! Tanactin and Desonex seemed to keep the scrathing at bay… this was Sept 14th ish. Well, Oct 10, I woke up at 3 am with a little drip… and 17 minutes later, I delivered my son 5 weeks early. I thank God every day for his healthy delivery. He is NOT touched by this hideous rash. However, the day after I delivered, the rash spread like wildfire all over my body. It is on my forehead, my thumbs, inbetween my fingers, my back, my thighs… breasts… neck… in my hair on my head… tops of my hands… arms and knees. Pretty much- every inch of my body itches… and I gave birth 17 days ago. My OB said it couldn’t possibly be PUPPPS… my dermatologist did several swabs and biopsies… and tomorrow I get to start Prednisone… 2 tabs for 4 days at 40mg, 1 tab for 4 days at 20 mgs and then 1 tab for four days at 10 mg. I am praying right now that this instantly begins to work starting tomorrow morning. I believe he can give me this much med as I have already delivered a healthy boy… however, I’m not sure if I can ever go back to breast feeding again. I wanted to do this for my premature son’s health, but I am on the verge of a mental breakdown w/ my entire body itching like it does. So–weighing the odds… I need the meds and we’ll see what becomes of my milk. I tried the advertised herbal remedies w/o relief… dandelion root, garlic, flax seed oil, acidolphilus, and stinging nettle. Atarax doesn’t really seem to work… but 2 bendryl seems to do the trick for about 4 hrs w/ the help of triamcinclone steriod cream all over my body. The only thing getting me thru this time is my beautiful and healthy son who THANK GOD did not get this rash at birth. I’ve done so much research, and occassionally, babies are delivered w/ the rash. BUT… one thing to look forward to is… no two pregnancies are alike- just because mine got worse– yours could be like all else and disipate right after delivery. Isn’t it nice to be one of the odd ones? Good luck and I feel for anyone else who has to deal w this HORRIBLE- AWFUL ITCH.