Eczema: How to treat it during pregnancy?


With Erwin Benassaya, intern in dermatology at Necker Hospital in Paris

Itching (itching) during pregnancy: when is eczema? What are the symptoms?

Eczema is skin condition Which leads to inflammation and irritation of the skin. In industrialized countries, it affects approx 10% to 20% of infants versus about 3% of adults. While most children recover from it by about the age of 10, others will have the disease for life.

There are two main types of eczema:

  • Atopic eczema (or atopic dermatitis) which is the most common form and which corresponds to a chronic disease that develops in flare-ups. The causes are genetic (the floor of atopy in the family) and there are also environmental factors (pollution, tobacco, stress …);
  • Contact eczema That appear as a reaction to an allergen or irritant (care products, cosmetics, food allergy, medication, clothing, etc.) and that do not last.

Most often, a pregnant woman is affected by atopic dermatitis, aka, when it appears during pregnancy, Atopic eczema of pregnancy.

The symptoms of atopic eczema are generally the same as they were before pregnancy. “As in the case of a non-pregnant woman, in the acute phase we will find erythematous, itchy, vesicular, and oozing lesions and rashes. When chronic, these plaques itch intensely and may ooze or thicken.” explains Erwin Benassaya, MD, a dermatologist intern.

Often there are red spots in folds (Knees, elbows, neck, ears…and rarely in the stomach.

However, there are more serious diseases to watch out for during this period. Where you have to be careful with pregnant women is that you can get them Polymorphic rash of pregnancy Or autoimmune bullous dermatitis during pregnancy, which can pose a risk to the health of the fetus. Thus, sIf, in addition to eczema, you suffer from hives, bubbles or blisters, it will be necessary to consult a health professional to ensure that it is not one of these two diseases. adds the doctor.

Cholestasis of pregnancy, a rare liver disease that causes itching, should also be monitored. In fact, it could increase the risk The death of the fetus in the wombPrematurity and neonatal respiratory distress.

What are the causes of eczema (or atopic dermatitis) in pregnant women?

With regard to atopic dermatitis, it is basically from a hereditary factor. So pregnancy is not the reason for that. However, it can, like stress, be a trigger for eczema flare-ups.

“Pregnant women with eczema are women who have genes predisposing to atopic dermatitis in their genetic heritage. Pregnancy creates an imbalance in the regulation of the immune system that can lead to the development of this system. Erwin Benassia says.

This liberation may be a reason for the other Skin problems. Among these:

  • skin discoloration (particularly the famous “pregnancy mask” appearance);
  • Poor circulation cause edema or even small visible veins…;
  • Decreased skin elasticity and the appearance of stretch marks.

Eczema of pregnancy: can it affect the baby?

in case disease of the skin Or contact eczema (allergic) during pregnancy, so there is no biohazard to the mother or the child. According to a dermatologist“Atopic dermatitis does not affect infants, but if both parents have atopy, the risk of developing atopic dermatitis or food allergy is much higher.”

This is a transmission risk About 70%, however, fortunately, it is not systematic.

Pregnant women: how to treat eczema during pregnancy?

Cream, tablets .. What are the treatments for eczema during pregnancy?

“Treatment is the same as for a non-pregnant woman. It will be necessary to apply topical corticosteroids to the lesions every day until they completely disappear. These products do not have a negative effect on pregnancy.” explains the doctor.

Usually, itchy red spots It disappears after conception. However, it is very likely that they will return for the subsequent pregnancy of the expectant mother.

Natural remedies for eczema

Knowing that essential oils are not allowed during pregnancy. Natural treatments will be limited to caring for your body with moisturizing products (moisturizing cream, moisturizer, etc.) to be applied several times a day to the skin, especially in winter, because the cold dries the skin more.

It will also be necessary to give priority to Short showers (especially not too hot) and be careful with the cosmetics you apply. It is best to avoid all hypoallergenic products with fragrances and alcohol, as they may trigger allergic reactions and trigger new eczema outbreaks.

Finally, with stress being an aggravating factor, it is recommended for the expectant mother to find time for one or more activities to remain zen. This could be prenatal yoga or pilates, tai chi, or even suffocation.

Atopic eczema: Does breastfeeding have beneficial effects?

Breastfeeding multiple protective effects for the child, Not only against gastrointestinal infections, respiratory infections, and meningitis and can also protect against atopic eczema. Babies who are breastfed almost exclusively until the age of four months are generally breastfed Less likely to develop atopy » Erwin Benassia says.


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