can pregnancy cause ezcema?

[deleted account] ( 1 mom has responded )

I was wondering if it is possible to get ezcema as a result of pregnany? I know it sounds kind of like a stupid question, but since the last trimester I have had patches of ezcema on my hands. I never had them before getting pregnant, but have continuted having them flare up ocassionally since having my son 2 1/2 years ago.


Katherine - posted on 03/13/2012




What causes eczema during pregnancy: The most common variety, atopic eczema, is hereditary and probably triggered by exposure to environmental allergens that are harmless to others (aren’t you the lucky one?). Chances are if you’ve got atopic eczema, you (or someone in your family) probably suffer from asthma, hay fever, and/or food allergies as well. Other types of eczema (such as contact dermatitis) are caused by irritants such as chemicals, detergents, yeast, and metals (your rings — if they still fit — might start bugging you).

If you have eczema, it’s likely your raging pregnancy hormones are making the situation better…or worse. No one’s sure exactly why some women experience flare-ups during pregnancy, while other lucky ladies go into remission.

What you can do about eczema during pregnancy:

Certain topical steroids are considered safe during pregnancy but must be used in small quantities under strict medical supervision.

Antihistamines may help you cope with itchiness — but again, be sure to check with your practitioner first.

Coal tar has been used for years for its soothing effect on inflamed skin. Today, coal tar comes in numerous preparations, many of which are available over the counter. Check with your practitioner before you use any of these products. And alert your partner (and dry cleaner): While effective and free of side effects, coal tar smells pretty bad and stains everything it touches.

What solutions are off-limits: Pregnant (or breastfeeding) eczema sufferers should know these facts about the following common medications.

Cyclosporine has long been used on severe cases that don’t respond to other treatment, but current research indicates that it may be associated with an increased rate of premature birth. The bottom line: It’s a no-no now.

Some topical and systemic antibiotics may not be safe for use during pregnancy, so check with your practitioner first.

Protopic and Elidel are a new type of topical prescription medication known as TIMs, or topical immunomodulators, which reduce inflammation. The good news is that since they don’t contain steroids, TIMS don’t cause thinning of the skin (which leads to sores and bleeding). The bad news: They’re still off-limits during pregnancy because they can suppress the immune system. No luck with the oral forms of TIMS either — they cross the placenta and show up in breast milk.

Nonprescription remedies such as herbal or Chinese medicine should definitely be discussed with your practitioner in advance.

What preventive steps you can take: Limit contact with potential irritants such as laundry detergents, household cleaners, soaps, bubble bath, perfumes, cosmetics, wool, pet dander, juices from meats and fruits, plants, and jewelry. Avoid personal-care products that contain alcohol, don't spend too much time in the water (showers, baths, swimming pools), and don’t wash your hands too often (but definitely wash them as needed — pregnancy and germs don’t mix!). Finally, try not to get too hot or sweaty — which are two of the most common eczema triggers. Easier said than done when you’re already one hot mama? You’ll find a tip for staying cool below.

More smart strategies:

Moisturize early and often to lock in the skin’s own moisture and prevent dryness and cracking. (Avoid fragranced products, which may aggravate your already sensitive skin and your heightened sense of smell.)

Beware of sudden changes in temperature and humidity. (A sudden temperature spike can make you sweaty. A drop in humidity can dry out your skin and lead to a flare-up. ) In other words, no steam rooms, saunas, or Bikram yoga, all of which are off-limits for expectant moms anyway.

Use a cold compress — not your fingernails — to curb the itch. Scratching makes the condition worse and can puncture the skin, allowing bacteria to enter and cause an infection (which is especially dangerous during pregnancy).

Keep nails short and rounded to decrease the likelihood that when you do inevitably scratch, you won’t puncture the skin. If you tend to scratch in your sleep, try wearing a pair of cotton gloves to bed.

Stay cool by wearing loose, cotton clothes and avoiding synthetic fabrics, wool, or any material that feels rough to the touch. (Your partner's oversize T-shirt is a great choice for your sensitive skin and your growing belly!) Avoid overheating by favoring that layered look — and peeling off layers as you start to warm up.

Use only fragrance-free, neutral pH detergents, and double-rinse your laundry to help prevent flare-ups. Another tip: Wash new clothes before wearing to remove excess dyes and fabric finishers, and cut out any tags or labels that rub against the skin.

Stay calm. Stress is a common eczema trigger, so try to avoid situations that make you tense. When you feel anxiety creeping in, focus on how incredible your baby will be or how delicious he or she will smell.

One more thing: Research suggests that breastfeeding may prevent eczema from developing in a child, another good reason to nurse your baby if you can.

1 Comment

View replies by

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms