Ditch the Itch: How to Deal With Your Postpartum Rash or Hives

Ditch the Itch: How to Deal With Your Postpartum Rash or Hives

Don’t let your postpartum hives bring you down! From soothing postpartum rash remedies to expert advice, we’ve got you covered.

The chances are your body’s going to do some unexpected things in your first weeks postpartum.

And while most of us were prepared for the most bizarre pregnancy symptoms, postpartum night sweats, headaches, and even rashes can still take us by surprise.

Postpartum hives are super common, but also pretty annoying.

So if you’re asking yourself ‘Why is my skin so itchy after giving birth?’ here are some answers (and some effective remedies too).

In this article: 📝

  • What does a postpartum rash look like?
  • What are postpartum hives?
  • Is it normal to get a rash after pregnancy?
  • What causes postpartum hives?
  • How long do postpartum hives last?
  • Postpartum hives treatment

What does a postpartum rash look like?

Well, postpartum rashes can come in all shapes and sizes.

It can appear as red, itchy patches, bumpy hives, or even blisters.

If you’re experiencing any unusual rashes or skin irritations after giving birth, it’s best to check in with your healthcare provider.

They can help you determine the cause and provide you with the best treatment to get you back to feeling like your baby’s soft-skinned self again.

What are postpartum hives?

Postpartum hives are one of the more common types of postpartum rashes.

But what are they?

Hives are a raised, bumpy, and often itchy rash on your skin.

They can be red, pink, large, small, individual, or run together.

They can even blister.

You might have seen them before as an allergic reaction, but they can also appear after you have a baby.

It’s all to do with your immune system, which (along with your hormone levels) takes a bit of a dive right after you deliver your little one.

You’re more likely to get postpartum hives if you’ve had similar rashes before.

But it’s not uncommon to get hives for the first time in the days after you give birth.

There’s good news, though!

  1. Hives are not contagious, so you can’t pass them on to your little one and;
  2. Having postpartum hives is usually just a one-time thing.

It doesn’t mean that you’ll have any new allergies once your body is back to a more normal balance.

Is it normal to get a rash after pregnancy?

Yes, it’s totally normal to experience a postpartum rash.

Your body just went through an incredible journey, and sometimes it shows its appreciation by throwing a little tantrum (though we would prefer it not to).

But don’t worry, this is just your skin’s way of adjusting to all the changes that come with pregnancy and childbirth, there’s nothing more sinister to it.

Just be sure to keep an eye on any rash or skin irritation, and don’t hesitate to talk to your healthcare provider if it seems to be getting worse.

Remember, you and your skin are both strong and capable of bouncing back from this little bump (pun intended) in the road.

Is it normal to get hives after pregnancy?

Yes, it’s normal to get postpartum hives ‒ but that doesn’t mean it’s any less annoying!

Hives can be caused by a variety of factors, including hormonal changes, stress, and even certain medications.

But just like the other pesky symptoms of pregnancy and childbirth, this too shall pass.

If your hives are really bothering you, talk to your healthcare provider to see if there are any treatments or remedies that might help.

And in the meantime, try not to scratch too much, as that can cause scarring.

What causes postpartum hives?

Looking for something to blame for your postpartum hives?

That would be histamines (i.e. the thing that Benadryl and similar medications are very much anti-).

Histamine is a chemical that your body releases when it senses that it’s under attack from an allergen.

This is a great defense but, when your body overreacts, it causes an allergic reaction, whether that’s sneezing, red eyes, or (in this case) a rash on any part of your body.

Another reason for your postpartum rash might be your liver.

Around delivery, it can be a little slower to remove waste from your body, and this can also lead to a rash.

Your liver function is one of the things that’s monitored with routine blood tests throughout your pregnancy and after you give birth, though, so this doesn’t need to be a major worry.

Why do I keep breaking out in hives postpartum?

While it’s not entirely clear why some new moms experience hives after giving birth, it’s thought to be related to the hormonal changes and stress that come with welcoming a new little human into the world.

But don’t worry, you’re not alone!

There are plenty of other moms out there who are also dealing with this itchy annoyance.

If your hives are driving you nuts, be sure to talk to your healthcare provider.

They can help you identify any potential triggers and provide you with some relief.

Can breastfeeding give you hives?

Not really. Postpartum hives are linked to the abrupt changes your body goes through after you give birth.

Whether you’re establishing breastfeeding or you’ve chosen to formula feed, the hormonal and immune system changes you’re navigating are quite similar in the first few days.

So breastfeeding is unlikely to be responsible for your rash.

Contact dermatitis

Especially if you have sensitive skin, you might well be allergic to something in the hospital.

This is more likely if you have a rash after a c-section, since you probably washed with antibacterial soap before the planned operation.

And your medical team will have used a lot of surgical tape and disinfectants during your surgery.

Sweat rash

Most women find that they sweat a lot as their bodies get rid of the extra fluid they needed during pregnancy – especially at night.

If your little one is a summer baby, it can also get pretty sticky when you have them in a baby carrier, or when they only want to nap on top of you.

Extra moisture = upset skin.


Lack of sleep, no time for a healthy meal, extra stress – it’s easy for your body to get run down after you give birth.

This makes you more vulnerable to bugs and viruses.

Even the common cold virus can sometimes cause a rash.

So if your hives are accompanied by any other symptoms like aching joints or a sore throat, it’s worth taking yourself to a doctor.

And remember, you should always call your doctor if you have a fever in the first weeks after giving birth.

There’s a small but serious chance that you might have picked up an infection that needs antibiotics, or that you’ve developed mastitis.


Although it doesn’t normally cause a rash, if you have stitches after giving birth, either vaginally or by c-section, they can itch a lot as they start to heal.

It’s uncomfortable, but it’s a sign that your body’s doing what it should, and things should feel a lot less irritated within a week.

How long do postpartum hives last?

A rash after pregnancy usually starts within the first 48 hours after birth, but it can also appear at any point in the first six weeks.

Generally, they’re gone before this six-week milestone too, although some new mamas with a serious case may be treating them for up to 12 weeks.

Postpartum hives treatment

If your hives are stubborn, or if they’re particularly itchy, your doctor will be able to recommend an antihistamine or a cream that’s safe to use.

There are lots of options here – from topical steroids to soothing lotions – which should give you some relief.

Postpartum hives home remedies

If you’d rather stay away from prescription medications, there are some things you can do at home to make your skin feel a little calmer.

  • Take regular cool showers. Hot water is pretty irritating on sensitive skin (as it releases histamines as well), and women are often advised to wait until after their six-week checkup before taking a full bath. But a shower that’s on the colder side can do wonders for your hives.
  • Apply aloe vera – either fresh or in gel form – for 20 minutes. You’ll feel cooler in no time.
  • Try creams containing shea butter or oat milk. Both of these are naturally soothing.
  • Wear loose clothing. When things get itchy, cotton and linen are your friends.

So if you’re in the throes of a postpartum rash or hives, hang in there, mama.

With any luck, your rash will disappear as quickly as it popped up, and you’ll be back to itch-free snuggles with your newborn in no time.

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