Oh, the joys of pregnancy! While it is all worth it in the end, the journey itself can be somewhat tumultuous. One thing that can happen during pregnancy and make your journey a little more difficult is PUPPP Rash.
Hopefully, you will never have to experience this type of rash as it can be pretty annoying! However, if you do our guide below goes over everything to know about PUPPP Rash including the best possible treatments.
What is PUPPP Rash and What are the Symptoms?
Pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy (PUPPP) is a type of itchy skin rash that occurs on the stomach, particularly during the last trimester. It goes by other names including, Bourne’s toxemic rash of pregnancy, nurse’s late-onset prurigo, polymorphic eruption of pregnancy (PEP), or toxic erythema of pregnancy.
- Small red itchy bumps in the stretch marks
- Broad raised red areas as it progresses
- The rash may progress to the buttocks and thighs
What Causes PUPPP?
The actual cause of PUPPP is uncertain, but it is not an uncommon condition. According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, PUPPP is the most common dermatologic condition that pregnant women will experience, occurring in about 1 out of 150 women (https://www.aocd.org/page/PUPPP). It starts with the stretch marks on the abdomen. While doctors are not sure what the exact cause is, they do know that the stretched skin can be damaged and become inflamed. More research needs to be conducted to determine if an immune response to fetal cells is also a trigger for rashes and inflammation.
First-time mothers and mothers of multiples are more likely to be diagnosed with the rash as are mothers who experience rapid or excessive weight gain during pregnancy. Caucasian women are also more likely to develop PUPPP.
Some Important Things to Know About PUPPP
Can PUPPP Rash Come and Go?
The rash that comes with PUPPP may feel better with treatment, but it does not come and go. Luckily, it does typically go away around 15 days after the baby is born.
Mothers often complain that the itching is worse at night. One possible cause for nighttime itch may be hormonal changes. Self-care and anti-itch treatments can make the irritation less of a nuisance.
Can PUPPP Rash Spread?
PUPPP will start at the abdomen, but can also affect others areas of the body including the buttocks, thighs, and lower back. These are areas that may be stressed by the stretching skin. Even though it may affect the stomach, it rarely affects the belly button itself. PUPPP typically does not cause blisters or affect the hands and feet.
PUPPP is not dangerous to you or your baby. The rash has no effect at any stage of pregnancy, and it should not create any complications in your pregnancy. Besides, of course, causing discomfort for the mother.
Does PUPPP Rash Leave Scars?
After pregnancy, it may seem that the marks related to PUPPP don’t go away. Moisturizing helps reduce the effects of stretch marks and it will help with the rash marks as well.
What Should You Do if You Have PUPPP?
Consult with your doctor to be sure that it is indeed PUPPP. They may want to run tests to rule out other conditions or infections such as those that are fungal.
What Helps PUPPP Rash During and After Pregnancy?
Common medical treatment includes topical steroids and antihistamines. Your doctor may prescribe that for you. However, mothers can consider alternative, natural treatments if they are concerned about medication while they are pregnant or if they are breastfeeding.
Don’t Scratch. As with any rash, it is important not to scratch because it will continue the irritation and may even cause the spread of the rash.
Ice Packs and Cold Compresses. The cooling sensation from ice packs and compresses helps reduce swelling and inflammation and feels better so that you are not tempted to scratch.
Baths. Some women in the last trimester may feel awkward trying to get in and out of the bathtub, but the relief of an oatmeal bath can be cooling and helpful. Pine tar soap has been recommended for other skin conditions including eczema. Not only do the anti-inflammatory properties reduce the redness of the rash, but the antipruritic property relieves itching.
Essential Oil. Peppermint oil is widely known for relieving allergies and inflammation. Rub 2 or 3 drops of the oil directly on the skin three times a day or add between 5 and 10 drops to bathwater. Coconut oil is a moisturizer as well as rash relief.
Apple Cider Vinegar. Apple cider vinegar also has anti-itch properties. It can also be dabbed on the itching area or used in a bath.
Lotion. Moisturizing the skin is important for reducing stretch marks and relieving the stress caused by PUPPP. Look for an itch-relieving moisturizer that is baby-friendly. Cetaphil is one option that mothers have praised for itch and skin relief. Check out our favorite stretch mark creams that will help you stay moisturized here!
What Causes PUPPP Rash After Pregnancy?
Sometimes PUPPP does not show up until after the baby is born. Some believe that the rash continues because of an immune response to fetal cells. These cells can still be found in the mother for days after childbirth. However, PUPPP does not usually continue for more than about two weeks after giving birth.
Have questions about PUPPP Rash? Feel free to ask in the comments! Or ask a question in our Rookie Moms Facebook Group, it’s a great group of moms where you can share your experiences, ask for advice and even help out another mom!
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Frequently Asked Questions
How do you treat Puppp rash?
Common medical treatment includes topical steroids and antihistamines. Your doctor may prescribe that for you. For relief you can also use ice pasks or cold compresses, take an oatmeal bath, or apply lotion.
What causes Puppp rash during pregnancy?
There is no definite cause, but both rapid weight gain and carrying multipes are risk factors.
How long does PUPPP last?
PUPPP can occur throughout your third trimester and during postpartum. It typically does not last more than 15 days after your baby is born.