No more scratching!

Itchiness is a common complaint during pregnancy. Top problem areas include your rapidly expanding belly, thighs, breasts and arms. If you have a pre-existing skin condition like dermatitis it may worsen during pregnancy.

1. Avoid scratching. We know: It’s not easy. But scratching can lead to scabbing or scarring, even infections. Don’t do it.

2. Soak in a tepid (not hot) tub. Stir in some Aveeno, a colloidal-oatmeal bath product that soothes troubled skin or add Bio-Oil for added moisture to calm itchiness due to dry skin.

3. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. Your skin has to keep stretching to accommodate your increasing girth. Apply the extra-rich Yes to Cucumbers Daily Moisturizer, right after showering while your skin is still damp. For temporary relief of itchy, irritated skin, try Life Brand Calamine lotion.

4. Switch to a mild, scent-free laundry detergent. If your washer has an extra-rinse cycle, use it since detergent residue on clothing, bedding and towels can be highly irritating.

5. Don’t spritz on the perfume. Swap your usual soap, shower gel, and other body and hair care products for milder, scent-free products. Try Balea Body Wash Sensitive, for example.

6. Wear smooth, cotton clothing. Seamless undergarments will reduce chafing even more.

7. If the itch persists, see your doctor. In most cases, itchiness is annoying but relatively harmless. If your itching becomes more severe in the second or third trimester, gets worse at night, and is particularly intense on your palms and the soles of your feet, see your doctor ASAP.

You may have Cholestasis of Pregnancy, a rare condition triggered by pregnancy hormones, causing excess bile to enter the bloodstream. Although not dangerous to you, the condition carries significant health risks to your baby. Due to the potential for severe delivery complications, labour is usually induced early and/or your doctor may prescribe certain medications.

Although some women also experience additional symptoms like dark-coloured urine, light-coloured bowel movements, inability to digest certain foods, nausea or vomiting, pain in the upper right region of the abdomen and yellow eyes or skin, for some women, severe itch may be the only symptom.Although Cholestasis of Pregnancy is relatively uncommon, seeing your doctor will put your mind at ease.