I Am Having a Baby, Not a PUPP
Of course you are having a baby, not a pup, but that doesn't mean you can't get PUPPP, which stands for Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy. With a name like that, of course it has an acronym.
- Pruritic means itchy.
- Urticarial means like hives.
- Papules mean small red, raised spots.
- Plaques mean larger raised areas.
- Pregnancy – you know what that means.
So this is a red, itchy rash that you get when you are pregnant. The problem is that this rash is extremely itchy.
PUPPP is more common in first pregnancies, and if you are carrying more than one baby. It sometimes runs in families. It happens anywhere from one in 130 to one in 300 pregnancies. No one knows for sure why women get it. It may have something to do with the stretching of the skin triggering an immune response.
PUPPP usually comes on during the last part of your pregnancy, the third trimester, and it usually involves the skin of the abdomen, an area which is getting larger. It may follow stretch marks. It often appears on the back, breasts and buttocks. While you can get the rash on your arms and legs, it rarely involves the face, hands or feet. The raised red spots and patches can be dry, or there can be larger red areas with red, raised bumps and blisters.
The good thing is that PUPPP is not dangerous, and there are no pregnancy problems associated with PUPPP. There are a few rare rashes in pregnancy that can mean something serious. This is not one of them. Still, if you think you have PUPPP, you want your obstetrician to take a look at it. You should have a doctor examine any significant rash when you are pregnant. If you do not have a typical case, a dermatologist (skin specialist) might also need to check the rash.
Usually PUPPP can be treated with moisturizers, oral antihistamines that have been determined to be safe during pregnancy (like diphenhydramine), and corticosteroids to rub into the skin. Both will help alleviate the itching. If the rash is very severe, steroids can be given by mouth but this is usually not necessary.
Finally, PUPPP most often goes away within 2 weeks after the birth of the baby.