Mmm, hives. The not-so pleasant side of pregnancy. You know, along with the sickness, the hair loss, the swollen body…
This was the bit that really drove me to distraction, and it seems it affected some of you too. Firstly, you should definitely see your midwife about this particular problem, and possibly your GP. I actually only found my dermatologist to be truly helpful in the end – everyone else was stumped by my itchy rash. I was diagnosed with Polymorphic Eruption of Pregnancy and eczema, but there are a whole host of rashes that can crop up as a result of the insane hormonal surges your body is trying to handle. Sometimes it’s just an itchy abdomen, as the skin stretches to accommodate your baby. The problem is, the usual itchy-skin medications aren’t all safe for use during pregnancy. Don’t just merrily slap on Hydrocortisone as a doctor will often recommend against using it during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Instead, look at other remedies to cope with the itch and resulting sore skin.
All you can really do is reduce the heat in it and try not to irritate it. So only wash with luke warm water – no hot baths or showers. In terms of cleanser, I swear by Emma Hardie Amazing Face Cleansing Balm £34 – it won’t dry out or aggravate hives but will remove any makeup. Obviously it’s best to avoid makeup altogether, but if you have to wear it (I did) try Cover FX. I used a combination of their Water Based Liquid Foundation £37 and the Mineral Powder £31 (applied with a foundation brush, it gives strong but not chalky coverage) and it seriously reduced the redness.
Also in my kit:
Eau Thermale Avène Water Spray £6.50. Also a great one for the hospital bag.
Metique Tea Tree After Wax Lotion £11.22. Yes, it’s great for soothing skin post-wax, but its cooling effect and softening Vitamin E also calm itchy, inflammed skin elsewhere on your body. I’m assured it’s safe for pregnancy, and I can vouch – it is the nuts.
Feme Pads around £15. Wrapped in the accompanying gauze they do wonders for cooling and calming hives on your legs, arms and bump, as well as reducing C-Section swelling, and doing the job they’re actually designed to do, of course. TIP: buy a lot of gauzes.
My dermatologist prescribed Junior Oilatum for washing, and although you can buy it over the counter, if it’s prescribed you can take advantage of the free prescriptions policy. Other than that, wear cooling cotton clothes – or nothing at all if possible – and steer clear of anything perfumed.