Pregnancy is a time of many changes, both for your life as well as your body. While pregnancy is often an exciting and cherished time, not all of the changes that will happen with your body are positive.
Pregnancy can significantly affect a woman’s skin. In fact, 90% of women report experiencing changes in their skin during pregnancy.
The hormonal shifts associated with pregnancy can contribute to acne, rashes, sensitivity, dark spots, excessive dryness or oiliness, and pregnancy-induced eczema.
Eczema is the most common skin condition experienced by pregnant women, so if you’re currently suffering from this red and itchy skin condition, you’re not alone.
Whether you had eczema before becoming pregnant or not, you can still develop an eczema rash while carrying your child. Only 20–40% of women who experience eczema during pregnancy have a history of eczema before becoming pregnant.
Symptoms of Eczema During Pregnancy
Eczema symptoms frequently develop during the second trimester of pregnancy but can also show up during the first or third. Symptoms range from mild to severe and are the same symptoms of atopic dermatitis you experience while not pregnant, including:
- Dry, itchy skin
- Redness (“redness” may look different for people of color)
- Scaly or cracked skin that could be described as leathery
- Skin with a rough, thickened appearance
The Connection Between Eczema and Hormones
If you’re wondering why you and so many women experience eczema during pregnancy, blame your hormones. Your hormones can directly affect your immune system. While pregnant, your estrogen production increases and your immune system shifts to protect the fetus. It goes from a T1 response to a T2.
This is an important change to help your baby grow and make sure your baby is safe. However, it’s thought to be the primary factor in why some women experience eczema during pregnancy. Your body’s shift to a T2 response can also worsen asthma and allergy symptoms, which are well-known for correlating with the occurrence of eczema.
How to Treat Your Eczema While Pregnant
Before treating your pregnancy-induced eczema, always be sure to consult with your primary healthcare provider and OB-GYN to find the best treatment options for you and your baby.
Here are five treatment options you may want to consider to minimize the discomfort you’re experiencing from your eczema. Keep in mind that treatments may vary depending on where your eczema is located on your body.
Limit the Amount of Time Spent in Water
Spending a lot of time in water can dry out your skin and exacerbate eczema symptoms. To help prevent your skin condition from worsening, limit the time spent in pools and baths.
You’ll want to take quick showers with lukewarm water. Taking hot showers can also dry out your skin if you aren’t mindful of the water temperature and how long you stay in the shower.
Always moisturize your skin after cleansing in the bath or shower. But don’t just opt for any moisturizer. Choose hydrating products free of fragrances, preservatives, and other irritants to avoid aggravating the skin further.
Try Gladskin Eczema Cream
Gladskin Eczema Cream is a great example of a gentle and effective treatment for eczema symptoms, free of unnecessary and potentially harmful ingredients! Not only does it hydrate the skin, it primarily works with your body to help restore balance to the skin microbiome.
While Gladskin Eczema Cream can’t address the root cause of your pregnancy eczema — the hormonal changes — it does help build up your skin’s natural protective barrier, strengthen the skin, and lock in moisture.
Four out of five people suffering from eczema experience reduced itch with Gladskin Eczema Cream!
Manage the Itch
Itching is uncomfortable, but scratching an itch can actually make your eczema worse. That’s why it’s important to manage your itchiness and avoid scratching as best as possible. Avoid tight clothing; form-fitting clothes trap in heat and can make itching worse. Opt for natural fibers like cotton for your clothing… but avoid wool at all costs.
You can also apply a cool compress to your eczema rash to help calm and soothe the skin. To create a cool compress at home, run a washcloth under cold water until thoroughly wet. Remove excess water, and apply the homemade compress to your eczema patch. You can repeat this process as often throughout the day as needed to prevent scratching.
Bringing a new baby into the world is a big transition — one that can often bring up stress and worry. Believe it or not, stress is a common eczema trigger.
That means by minimizing your emotional stress, you may be able to improve your eczema symptoms.
Managing stress looks different for everyone, but some popular and often effective stress management techniques include:
- Exercising for 20 to 30 minutes if your doctor says it’s safe (cardio works best, which means even just walking can help)
- Focus on your breathing with meditation
- Get enough sleep every night
- Let out those big emotions through journaling
- Spend time with loved ones — laughing, hugging, and talking
Does Eczema While Pregnant Affect Your Baby?
While it’s completely normal as a parent and soon-to-be parent to worry about your little one, there’s no need to fret that your eczema while pregnant will affect your baby.
Eczema does seem to run in families, signaling a potential genetic component to the skin condition. However, having eczema during pregnancy doesn’t mean your baby will suffer from the same itchy, red rashes too.
According to the National Eczema Society, your baby has a 25% chance of having eczema if one parent has eczema, asthma, or allergies. Your baby has a 50% chance of having eczema if you have other children with eczema, asthma, or allergies — or if both parents suffer from eczema, asthma, or allergies.
If your baby does end up experiencing eczema, Gladskin has resources to help you manage the itchy skin condition and pick skincare products for your baby’s sensitive skin.
Breastfeeding With Eczema?
If you’re experiencing eczema on your breasts or nipples, it can make breastfeeding your baby uncomfortable or even downright painful.
Like with eczema on any location of your body, avoid overwashing. There’s no need to wash your breasts before your baby feeds. If you’re using breast pads, change them frequently when damp to avoid irritation.
As long as you’re not in significant pain, eczema doesn’t need to keep you from breastfeeding your baby. However, if you have concerns about your ability to breastfeed with your eczema, seek advice from a breastfeeding counselor or other medical professional.
Eczema can make your pregnancy experience more uncomfortable than it already may be. However, know that experiencing eczema while pregnant is common and, most times, no cause for concern.
By consulting with your doctor and practicing management tips at home like moisturizing, minimizing stress, reducing time spent in the water, trying Gladskin Eczema Cream, and more, you’ll be on your way to experiencing glad skin once again.