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Erika Rasmusson Janes

Rash During Pregnancy

Got a weird rash during pregnancy and don't know what could be causing it? Here's some expert advice.

What is a rash during pregnancy?

A rash is an inflammatory reaction of the skin, which most often causes a change in the way your skin looks — whether it’s the color or texture (or both). Usually, a rash only affects a specific area of the body. It may also cause swelling or itching.

What might be causing my rash?

What can’t cause a rash?! There are a ton of common causes, and they range from mild to serious conditions. Allergies, insect bites, medicines, infections like chicken pox, and connective tissue disorders can all cause rashes.

There are also some rashes that occur only during pregnancy: PUPPP (pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy) is the most common.

When should I go to the doctor with a rash?

It definitely never hurts. That’s because seemingly harmless rashes can be caused by conditions that really are harmful to you or baby. And do it ASAP, since early diagnosis is important with rashes, according to Mary L. Rosser, MD, PhD. Itching without rash — especially in the  third trimester — may be caused by cholestasis of pregnancy; if you’ve got itching, definitely consult your doctor.

How do I treat rash?

For any rash, adding oatmeal or one to two teaspoons of baking soda to a warm (not hot) bath can be soothing. If you think your rash stems from an allergic reaction, you can try taking Benadryl, which Rosser says is pregnancy-safe. Check with your doctor about the right dose.

Expert: Mary L. Rosser, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Women's Health at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University

Plus, more from the Bump:

Itchy Skin During Pregnancy

Skin Changes During Pregnancy