“I would spend a lot of time crying and screaming and my husband would hold my hands so I couldn’t scratch myself and make it bleed. Sleep was limited, I’d wake up in the middle of the night wanting to scratch myself.”
Summer was given a steroid cream and took baths with oatmeal to help ease the itching. However, for Summer, it seemed nothing was working.
“One night, when I was 37 weeks pregnant, I was in so much pain I was in the bath trying to calm it down,” she says. “I ended up screaming to my husband because I needed a bucket to be sick, it was so severe.”
That’s when Summer and her husband decided they needed to go to the hospital. Summer was monitored by doctors, but in the end, they decided her rash was so severe, they had to induce her.
“As soon as my son was delivered via c-section after being induced, the rash faded immediately,” says Summer. “It did take a couple of days for the rash to go down completely, but it was such a massive relief straight away as soon as it went down.”
Since then, Summer has had two more sons but did not suffer from PUPPPs again.
Summer now. Source: Supplied
“My tummy no longer looks like it did when I had PUPPPs,” says Summer. “I still have stripes but they are my reminder of giving birth to three amazing little men.”
What Is PUPPPS?
Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy (PUPPP) is a skin condition that affects around one in 150 women during pregnancy, says Health Line.
While the exact cause of PUPPPs is unknown, the stretching of the skin may be what triggers the rash. They can also occur during a first pregnancy or while carrying multiples.
PUPPPs usually begins on the stomach and can spreads to other areas. The rash appears as small pink pimple-like spots. Blisters can sometimes form around the rash.
“PUPPPS (Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy) is a very common skin condition in pregnancy. It often happens in first pregnancies. The good news with PUPPPS is that although the rash is extremely itchy and can become frustrating it has no long term effects to mother or baby,” midwife Zoe Ryan tells The Healthy Mummy.
“In regards to treatment we recommend cold compresses, cool showers, calamine lotion, moisturising creams and oils (as dry skin can make the itch even worse). The woman could also be offered steroid creams and oral antihistamine tablets.
“There is another pregnancy condition called ‘cholestasis’ which also presents itself with a rash and itch that can have serious effects on the baby. It is important that you are seen by your midwife or doctor to determine what condition you have, which is often determined via a blood test and where your itch/rash has presented itself on your body.
“If the mother is in extreme discomfort and she is over 37 weeks it would be reasonable to offer an induction of labour for the mother’s comfort.”
Usual areas affected by PUPPPs:
Topical steroid creams
Cool, wet compression
Delivering the baby
If you think you are suffering from PUPPPS – don’t hesitate to speak with your health care practitioner.