PUPPP rash can be super itchy and annoying, but it’s not harmful to you or your baby. We’ve got all the essential info here.
PUPPP rash is an itchy rash that can make an appearance late in pregnancy.
The itchiness can be super annoying, even getting in the way of your daily life and a good night’s sleep.
But the good news is that this particular pregnancy rash poses no risk to you or your baby.
And it will probably disappear soon after you’ve given birth.
Keen to find out more about PUPPP rash in pregnancy? We’ll take you through the details.
In this article: 📝
- What is PUPPP rash?
- What causes PUPPP rash?
- What are the risk factors for PUPPP?
- How do I know if I have PUPPP rash?
- How do I get rid of PUPPP?
What is PUPPP rash?
PUPPP stands for Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy.
(We know—and you thought “PUPPP” was a mouthful!)
It’s the most common skin condition during pregnancy, happening in about 1 in 160 of them.
An early stage PUPPP rash looks like small hive-like bumps (that’s the “urticarial papules” part), usually appearing in and around the stretch marks on your belly.
Clumps of these bumps can sometimes merge to form larger raised patches (or “plaques”).
If you have paler skin, the rash may appear pink or red.
But if your skin contains more melanin, the bumps and patches can be the same color as your skin or darker.
After a while, the rash can spread to other areas of your body, including your legs, arms, butt, and breasts.
Small piece of good news? It doesn’t usually affect your face, hands, or feet.
PUPPP rash is often horribly itchy (“pruritic”) but doesn’t tend to be painful.
When does PUPPP rash start?
But, less commonly, it’s possible to get PUPPP rash after pregnancy, shortly after you’ve given birth.
What causes PUPPP rash?
Scientists still don’t know for sure.
But there are a few theories.
One theory is linked to the fact that PUPPP rash develops in areas where the skin has stretched to make room for your growing baby.
It’s thought that the damage to the skin can cause an inflammatory response from your immune system, which then leads to the rash appearing.
Another theory suggests that cells from the baby may make their way into the mama’s skin, irritating it and causing the rash.
Another theory is that hormonal changes occurring during pregnancy could potentially contribute.
Higher levels of progesterone have been found in pregnant mothers with PUPPP rashes.
And an increased amount of progesterone within the body will cause an increase in progesterone receptors, which could elicit an immune reaction as seen by skin lesions – hello PUPPP rash
How does PUPPP spread?
It’s not known exactly how a PUPPP rash spreads to other areas of your body.
But we do know that the rash isn’t contagious—you don’t have to worry about passing it on to anyone.
What are the risk factors for PUPPP?
Things that increase your risk of developing PUPPP include:
- Being pregnant for the first time
- Being pregnant with multiples
- Gaining a lot of weight quickly
- Being caucasian
- Carrying a baby boy (Interestingly, the stats say this is double as likely as if you were pregnant with a girl.)
- Experiencing high blood pressure
But it’s still possible to get the rash if none of those things apply to you.
How do I know if I have PUPPP rash?
If you think you might have PUPPP rash, the best thing to do is to check in with your healthcare provider.
Often, they’ll be able to diagnose the rash simply by examining your skin.
They might also ask you whether you’ve started taking any new medications recently, to check if the rash isn’t a reaction to one of them.
In some cases, they may want to carry out some tests to rule out other potential causes of the rash.
These could include:
Once your provider has diagnosed PUPPP, they’ll be able to suggest some treatments to help ease the itch.
How do I get rid of PUPPP?
The best way of getting rid of PUPPP rash is to have your baby!
Unfortunately, there’s no treatment that will totally banish it before then.
But your healthcare provider might recommend a topical steroid cream or an oral antihistamine (such as diphenhydramine) to help reduce the itchiness of your skin.
FYI, always make sure you check with your healthcare provider before using any over-the-counter medications – not all are safe for your baby.
Or you can try some of these home remedies to see if they help you feel more comfortable:
- Apply a cool washcloth to the rash
- Soak in an oatmeal or baking soda bath
- Use a gentle, fragrance-free moisturizer
- Wear loose cotton clothing
How long does it take for PUPPP rash to go away?
PUPPP typically lasts about 4 to 6 weeks.
In most cases, it will go away within days or a couple of weeks after you’ve had your baby.
And it usually doesn’t leave any scars behind it.
We hope you find some relief from your PUPPP rash soon.
And if you need a listening ear, remember your Peanut community is here for you.