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Red rash when pregnant

You’ll see many changes in your skin during pregnancy, mainly due to the changes in hormone levels that affect the pigmentation of your skin. None of these changes are permanent and, in fact, many rashes are specific to pregnancy and disappear after you deliver.

What causes it?

Rashes and itchiness on your abdomen are usually caused by the stretching of your skin. Hormonal changes can also make your skin itchy or blotchy. You could develop rashes during pregnancy for common reasons, such as allergies, infections, insect bites, or reactions to medicine. When in doubt, talk to your healthcare provider if you are bothered by itching or discoloration of your skin because some rashes could be signs of conditions that are harmful.

Some common diagnoses of red rashes during pregnancy include PUPPP, Prurigo of Pregnancy, Impetigo Herpetiformis, or Pruritic Folliculitis of Pregnancy, all of which can affect various parts of the body. In rare cases, the rash may indicate Fifth’s Disease, also indicated by fatigue and a fever.


Pregnant women should probably stay away from typical causes of rashes, like synthetic fabrics or harsh skin cleaners. You can apply powder or calamine lotion to soothe the itching, and don’t forget to keep your skin hydrated by drinking lots of water. If your rash is severe, your healthcare provider might prescribe a steroid, antibiotic, or antihistamine to get it under control. In fact, many healthcare providers recommend that women call about any rash they have. And as is the case for any skin condition, try not to scratch too much and make the irritation worse!

Reviewed by Dr. Jamie Lo
Read more
  • S Vaughan Jones, C Ambros-Rudolph, C Nelson-Piercy. “Skin disease in pregnancy.” British Medical Journal. 348:g3489. Web. 6/3/2014.
  • “Itching and obstetric cholestasis in pregnancy.” NHS Choices. NHS Choices, 7/17/2014. Web.
  • Mayo Clinic Staff. “Cholestasis of pregnancy.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, 8/16/2014. Web.
  • “Skin Conditions During Pregnancy: FAQ169.” ACOG. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 6/14/2015. Web.
  • Marc Tunzi, Gary Gray. “Common Skin Conditions During Pregnancy.” American Family Physician. 75(2):211-218. Web. 1/15/2007.
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