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What the Yuck: Why does my pregnant belly itch?
May 27th, 2012
08:06 AM ET

What the Yuck: Why does my pregnant belly itch?

Too embarrassed to ask your doctor about sex, body quirks, or the latest celeb health fad? In a regular feature and a new book, "What the Yuck?!," Health magazine medical editor Dr. Roshini Raj tackles your most personal and provocative questions. Send 'em to Dr. Raj at whattheyuck@health.com.

Q: I’m pregnant, and my belly itches all over! How come?

A: As your skin stretches over your growing bump, it can become dry and irritated. Hormonal changes may cause itching, too.

So slather on moisturizer regularly and avoid hot showers, itchy fabrics like wool, and scratching (which makes the problem worse).

If you also start to develop small bumps, especially in your third trimester, you may have pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy (PUPPP). Your doctor can suggest an ointment to help relieve this harmless condition.

In rare cases, though, itching can be a sign of liver or gallbladder disease; pregnancy makes you more prone to both. So if moisturizing doesn’t help, be sure to check in with your doctor.

Copyright Health Magazine 2011


soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. Sandra Lee Barnett

    I had PUPPP with my first pregnancy, but not with my second. It began in my 34tth week, I delivered in my 38th week when my water broke, and I itched for 13 weeks after my daughter was born. It was an absolute nightmare. I remember it as if it was yesterday. My daughter is 26 years old now, and was worth every day of pain though.

    May 28, 2012 at 11:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • thatwave

      I hate PUPPS and trying to discretely scratch my belly in public! Fortunately mine went away in the days after delivery because it was extremely irritating.

      May 29, 2012 at 19:19 | Report abuse |
  2. ser

    AHHH...isn't that sweet

    May 28, 2012 at 12:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Jessica

    During my last pregnancy I could not have lived without the Stretch Mark Cream from Apothederm http://apothederm.com/shop-products/body/stretch-mark-cream/
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    May 29, 2012 at 14:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Carol Roberts

    I used some stretch mark creams that I read about on http://www.stretchmarkremovalcreams.net and the best one I found was the Retin-A. It was nice and soothing and pretty cheap too. My belly itched like crazy almost the entire pregnancy!

    June 10, 2012 at 01:32 | Report abuse | Reply
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    Finding this site made all the work I did to find it look like nothing. The reason being that this is such an informative post. I wanted to thank you for this special read of the subject. I definitely savored every little bit of it and I submitted your site to some of the biggest social networks so others can find your blog. jual kosmetik di surabaya

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  6. Valerie

    Thanks for the great article. I was so itchy with my pregnancy... I thought I was going to go nuts. Then I read your article and as you recommended I stopped taking hot showers and that helped. I also went online to find a good moisturizer. I didn't want anything with chemicals. I found a company called Yume Blush. They make a natural, edible(flavored) body cream that I started massaging on my belly everyday. That was it, the itching was gone!! The only thing is that I can't stop putting it on my lips cause it tastes so good. ; )

    January 13, 2013 at 01:13 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.