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Atopic Eruption Of Pregnancy- Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

5 min read

As we all know, pregnancy comes with substantial changes to your body. Some of the issues that worried you the most during the pre-pregnancy period are found to miraculously subside during the course of pregnancy. On the other hand, some health issues get worse when you get pregnant. Here we explain you a skin issue that is not rare but a bit tricky to manage – Atopic eruption
Atopic eruption of pregnancy

What Is Atopic Eruption Of Pregnancy (AEP)?

‘Atopy’ means one’s increased risk to experience eczema, asthma, or hay fever. Atopic eruption often has a silent period, during which, it shows the signs of cure but reappear with or without significant cause. Many ‘environmental’ factors can make eczema worse. These include heat, dust, contact with irritants and infections. Pregnancy is a vital factor that triggers eczema.
Atopic eruption of pregnancy refers to the flaring up of eczema in the course of pregnancy. The inflammation of the skin brings about dryness and itchiness, which are extremely bothersome when you are pregnant.

Which Body Part Is More Prone To Atopic Eruption?

It can appear in any part including the face. However, the areas, which are more prone to atopic eruption include the skin wrinkles of the elbow, knee, and wrists (joints). It also often appears in the neck.

Who Is Susceptible To Atopic Eruption Of Pregnancy?
  • Women already having eczema experience the aggravation during the course of pregnancy. 20% of the AEP patients fall under this category
  • The remaining 80% are the expecting mothers who are experiencing eczema for the very first time
  • Again, most of this 80% expecting mothers have already experienced issues with their sensitive skin or have close relatives experiencing eczema
When Does Atopic Eruption Appear In The Course Of Pregnancy?

Mostly, atopic eruption happens during the initial months of the pregnancy (before the fifth month). Anyhow, 75% of the cases are reported before the third trimester.

What Causes Atopic Eruption Of Pregnancy?

The exact reason of AEP is yet to be discovered. However, here are three common factors that trigger atopic eruption of pregnancy among the expecting women.

  • Extremely active immune system
  • Poor skin barrier function
  • Hereditary factors
Can Atopic Eruption Of Pregnancy Affect The Baby?

AEP does not cause any harm to the unborn baby. Likewise, it will not hinder the chances of normal delivery. Nevertheless, because of genetic factor, the child might be prone to develop atopic disease like eczema, asthma, or hay fever.

Does Atopic Eruption Of Pregnancy Runs In A Family?

Yes. As we already mentioned, the atopic eruption of pregnancy can happen due to hereditary reasons. Therefore, it runs in the family. If either one parent or both mother and father experience the ill effects of skin inflammation or asthma, most probably, their kids will inherit it as well. Similarly, because of the genetic factors, you are more prone to AEP, if your close relations have experienced it. There is higher chance of repeating the AEP in succeeding pregnancies.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Atopic Eruption During Pregnancy?

Atopic eruption of pregnancy usually appears in the early phases of pregnancy. The main characteristic of AEP is itching, which can be terrible enough to meddle with the good night sleep. If you are experiencing AEP the first time , the rashes will be milder. However, the severity of the rash depends on the kind of AEP.
It shows up mainly in two forms:

  1. Eczematous type or E-Type AEP: Red scaly patches mostly on the neck, breasts, and areas where the skin is wrinkled (like elbow, knee and wrist). 2/ 3rd of the patients belong to this group
  2. Purigo type or P-type AEP: Appears like reddish raised spots, sometimes with excoriations (wounds that happens while you scratch the itchy area). Generally appears on back, limbs, and abdomen. Remaining 1/3rd of the patients comes under this group

Other than these, water blisters may appear on the hands and feet and the skin may turn out to be wet and teary.

How Is Atopic Eruption Of Pregnancy Diagnosed?

Aggravation of eczema, which is present prior to the pregnancy, is usually easy to diagnose by merely examining the skin. However, the first indication of AEP can be harder to diagnose, as it is usually mistook as other skin issues. If you have a family history, the doctor will perform a skin biopsy. Some blood tests might also be conducted. If the result shows an elevation of IgE (immunoglobulin E), an immunoglobulin that is associated with atopy, the doctor will confirm the AEP.
Atopic eruption in pregnancy

Is It Possible To Cure Atopic Eruption Of Pregnancy?

Not really. Because of its hereditary context, total cure is impossible. However, there are numerous methods for controlling it. Particularly one who develops AEP for the first time usually react well to the treatment and hence, it is easy to manage.

What Are The Treatment Options For Atopic Eruption Of Pregnancy?

The primary objective of the treatment is to soothe the itching and to bring down the soreness of the skin. The treatment options involve:

  • Moisturizer: Creams that soften and soothe the skin should be applied frequently during the day
  • Never wet the skin more often: Avoid taking shower and bath too frequently. If the interaction with the water increases, so will be the dryness
  • Steroid creams: Steroid creams or steroid ointments (which are greasier) will help to relieve the bothering symptoms of AEP. Mostly little amount of mild steroid ointments is applied to the affected area. However, for severe AEP, more amount of strong cream is applied
  • Soap substitutes: Rich, creamy soap substitutes will help to deal with the dryness of the skin
  • Steroid tablets: Steroid tablets are considered as the last option to control AEP. Only low dosages for a short time are administrated
  • Ultraviolet light treatment: UVB is found very effective in some patients. It is also very safe during the pregnancy
  • Antibiotics: Antibiotics, usually in the cream form are prescribed to apply if the skin becomes watery and teary due to scratching. This will help to prevent bacterial infection
Does The Treatment Pose Any Danger To The Mother And Child?
  • Steroid creams or ointments, which are mild to moderately strong, appear to be safe during pregnancy. Yet, stronger steroid creams and ointments may cause issues with the growth of the unborn baby
  • Short courses of mild to a moderate dosage of steroid tablet do not as a rule influence the unborn baby. However, high doses of steroid tablets administered for longer periods (over 2 weeks) during the initial 12 weeks of pregnancy can affect the growth rate of the baby and increase the risk for the development of oral/palate clefts
  • When consuming the steroid tablets, the mother’s risk of developing diabetes and hypertension increases

Therefore, never go for over the counter medication, and if, for some reasons, the doctor prescribes these medicines your blood pressure and sugar levels will be closely monitored.

Is It Safe To Breastfeed The Child If The Mother Has Atopic Eruption?

Yes. Indeed, even while consuming oral steroid tablets, mothers ought to be urged to breastfeed, as, just insignificant measures of steroids get into breast milk. Nonetheless, these mothers carry an increased risk of developing nipple eczema due to their sensitive skin.

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