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Reasons For Itchy Feet During Pregnancy

Mild itching during pregnancy is a common complaint. A study conducted on the prevalence of pruritus in pregnant females showed that more than 20 percent of pregnant females have itchy skin. (1) Mostly the skin around the belly and the breast itches as the skin stretches to accommodate the increased size. Some feel the itching all over the body while others on specific parts of the body such as hands and feet. Dry skin and hormonal changes are the other reasons. Severe itching can lead to loss of sleep or can also be a sign of a serious medical illness.

Reasons for Itchy Feet During Pregnancy?

Reasons for Itchy Feet During Pregnancy?

The various causes of itchy feet during pregnancy are as follows:

  1. Hormonal Changes

    During pregnancy, there are major changes in the hormones and extra action from the endocrine system which can cause the skin to get irritated. Also, the immune system starts working different during pregnancy and suppresses or increases certain functions to allow the baby to grow properly. Both of these conditions can lead to certain specific skin conditions. The symptoms presented by the female due to it are:

    • Small itchy bumps resembling bug bites
    • Rash, itchy hives
    • Scaly and itchy patches

    These skin conditions do not harm the baby and go away after the delivery as the hormone and the immune system come back to their normal working state.

  2. Stretching

    During pregnancy, the body undergoes enormous changes due to the rapidly growing baby. There is stretching of the skin of the abdomen, thighs, buttock, and breast. There might also be an appearance of stretch marks depending on the genes, hormones, and weight gain. Stretch marks can also cause itching. Though there are no stretch marks on the feet, but due to extra weight and stretching of the ligaments there can be an itching sensation.

  3. Nerve Sensitivity

    In some females, the nerves become sensitive during pregnancy due to the hormonal changes. This leads to itchy feet while sweating, wearing the wrong shoe, being warm or wearing tight clothing.

  4. Cholestasis

    Cholestasis is one of the serious reasons for itchy feet during pregnancy. It is a liver condition which arises during the third trimester of pregnancy. Due to the hormonal changes, the liver does not work normally as it should. This leads to bile build up in the body. This can cause intense itching, especially on the hands and feet. This condition can be dangerous for the baby and can increase the risk of premature delivery, stillbirth or fetal distress.

  5. Psoriasis

    Often those suffering from psoriasis before pregnancy get a break from the symptoms when pregnant. But some continue experiencing dry, painful, and itchy plaques, which can occur on the feet.

How To Treat Itchy Feet During Pregnancy?

There are several remedies which can be used to subside the itching on feet during pregnancy:

  1. Cold footbath, cold wash clothes or even ice packs if applied to the feet can help soothe the itching.
  2. Loose-fitting socks made with breathable fabric can help feet from becoming sweaty and itchy.
  3. Unscented moisturizers such as cocoa butter, shea butter, or colloidal oatmeal can help soothe itchy feet. Always keep the doctor informed about the product you want to use for topical application.
  4. Massages help in relieving the nerve sensitivity and soothing itchy feet.

In case the itchy feet are caused due to eczema or psoriasis, consult the doctor before taking any medication. If the medications are not safe, the doctor might give a safer alternative.

If the symptoms are because of cholestasis, the doctor might advise a liver function test and ultrasonography to check baby’s functions such as movement, heartbeat, blood flow, and fluid levels. If in case the risk of cholestasis is high, it is safer to deliver the baby if the pregnancy is 37 weeks.

If itchy feet are due to hormonal or immunological changes, it is very normal. The symptoms can very well be relieved with cold packs, massages, and moisturizers.

Itching during pregnancy is a complex symptom and the doctor taking care of the pregnant female with itching should undertake proper clinical management as it is essential not only for the mother but also for the fetus.

Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:May 24, 2022

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