Suddenly feel like you’ve got an itch you just can’t seem to scratch? If you’ve got an itchy belly during pregnancy, you’re not alone: Skin irritation is a common problem for many mamas that tends to start around week 23 of pregnancy, when you’re really starting to show, and only seems to get more pronounced as time passes (and your belly continues to grow).
WHAT CAUSES AN ITCHY BELLY
When skin expands (and the skin on your abdomen is expanding big-time) it becomes increasingly moisture-deprived — and dry skin tends to feel itchy and uncomfortable. (Your butt might have a serious case of the itchies, too, if it’s expanding along with your belly.)
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Call your practitioner if you:
- Are experiencing an itch on other parts of your body not related to dry or sensitive skin
- Are positively itching everywhere
- Have an itchy rash on your belly (especially in the third trimester), which could be PUPP — an annoying but very treatable pregnancy symptom
WHAT YOU CAN DO
- Don’t scratch. Tempting as it may be, grating away at your skin only causes more irritation.
- Moisturize. A light, gentle, fragrance-free moisturizer can temporarily curb the itching; apply it frequently and liberally.
- Dab on anti-itch cream. The pink calamine lotion your mom put on your chicken pox works in particularly tough cases.
- Smooth on vitamin E oil. It’s very healing — great for sore nipples after pregnancy, too.
- Soak it up. A gentle oatmeal bath with warm water can work wonders for dry skin — just make sure the water’s not too hot (it can dry out your skin even more).
- Use a humidifier in your bedroom. It may help keep your skin from drying out – but proceed with caution, as it can also spread germs and trigger allergies if used improperly. Follow the manufacturer’s directions about keeping the machine spic and span, and don’t run it round the clock.