Q. Pregnant wife is having itching on her belly, hands and feet. Should it be something to worry?

Answered by
Dr. Gowrimeena
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Oct 16, 2014 and last reviewed on: Sep 11, 2019

Hello doctor,

My wife is 37 weeks pregnant. She has itching on her belly, hands, and feet. I read on the internet that, it may be PUPPP or cholestasis or neither both of them. Is it something to worry?

Dr. Gowrimeena

Obstetrics And Gynaecology


Welcome to icliniq.com.

If the itching is present with rashes, it can be PUPPP (Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy). But you need to see a gynecologist or a dermatologist before we can come to a conclusion. Itching alone without any skin rashes can be cholestasis in pregnancy. But few tests need to be done before we can reach the diagnosis. More important is to keep an eye on the baby's movements. If it is PUPPP, then usually there is nothing to worry.

If it is obstetric cholestasis, we will deliver the baby as soon as possible, as the benefits of continuing pregnancy after 37 weeks are less compared with the unpredictable risks to the baby due to cholestasis.

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Frequently Asked Questions


What are the causes of belly itching during pregnancy?

Pregnant women commonly experience itching in the stomach. Some of the common causes are:
- The skin gets stretched and dry as the belly expands as the baby grows.
- High levels of certain chemicals and hormones during pregnancy.
- PUPPP (pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy) results in itchy skin rashes.
- Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy or cholestasis, which is a liver condition.


How to get rid of belly itching during pregnancy?

Some times to get rid of belly itching during pregnancy are:
- Avoid scratching, as it can result in more irritation.
- Apply a gentle moisturizer or oil on the belly.
- You can also apply Calamine lotion.
- Vitamin E oil works wonders.
- To prevent the skin from drying out, use a room humidifier.


What causes itchy hands and feet during pregnancy?

Severe itching in the hands and feet without any visible rash on the skin during pregnancy can be a sign of cholestasis. It is a liver condition that affects pregnant women. Some women feel itchy everywhere, which gets worse during the night.


When to be worried about itching during pregnancy?

It is common for pregnant women to feel itchy because the skin drys out as the belly stretches and hormonal changes. But severe itching in the hands and feet with no signs of a rash can be a serious condition called cholestasis.


What can cause itching all over the body during pregnancy?

Feeling itchy all over the body during the third trimester of pregnancy can be a sign of obstetric cholestasis (OC).


Is itching a sign of early pregnancy?

Itching is usually not a sign of early pregnancy. But it is common during the second or third trimester as the baby grows.


Please suggest some natural remedies for itching during pregnancy.

The following are some natural remedies for itching during pregnancy:
- Moisturize the skin with aloe vera gel or coconut oil.
- Take a shower with warm water, but not very hot water.
- Apply a paste made from mixing baking soda with water on your belly.
- Take a shower after mixing a cup of oatmeal in warm water,
- Avoid using harsh creams and soaps.
- Avoid stress.
- Apply a cold compress.


Can dehydration cause itchy belly during pregnancy?

Yes, dehydration can result in dry skin. Dry skin is less elastic and itchy. Dehydration can also result in other severe complications like premature labor, neural tube defects, and low amniotic fluid. So drink at least 8 to 12 glasses of water every day.


When does itching usually start during pregnancy?

Most pregnant women feel itching in their bellies and the area around the breasts. This is because of dry skin and hormonal changes.


What causes severe itching at night during pregnancy?

Itching that is seen with cholestasis increases in intensity during the night. It causes excessive itching in the hands and feet.

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