Over the last week, I have been diagnosed with a condition called PUPPP - Pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy, which basically means a really, really, really itchy rash that you develop when you're pregnant. It usually starts late in the third trimester, and the cure is giving birth! It is harmless to the baby, but may drive mum insane from the itching. It could have been worse however ... the other main cause for itching during pregnancy is Obstetric Cholestasis, which is a nasty condition where your liver stops functioning correctly - it often means having to be induced early because of the risks to baby. So PUPPP is definitely the better option, and I was pleased that my blood tests/liver function tests came back normal.
For me, it started when my stretch marks started to become red, raised, and inflamed, and from there, I developed little, red, itchy lumps all over my hands, elbows, forearms, behind my knees, upper and outer thighs and the top of my feet. It has gotten worse every day over the last week. I can't even begin to describe how bad the itching is, only to say that it has had me screaming and distraught on a few occasions, although it does fluctuate in intensity (nights are worst). I honestly don't know how I am going to cope with this for another 3 weeks, possibly up to 5 if Bean decides to make a late arrival. It seems like a cruel joke that the day after I started maternity leave, PUPPP has come along and ruined any chance of me enjoying my last few weeks resting and getting things ready for Bean.
To help with the intense itching, Bob, my obstetrician, has prescribed me with Phenergen (an anti-histamine), aqueous cream with menthol (to soothe the skin), and Betnovate (a topical corticosteroid cream). I've also been bathing in pinetarsol, in freezing cold water, which seems to be the most effective thing. I just leave the bath full all day and night, and jump in whenever I can't cope with the itching any longer.
I saw Bob yesterday morning, and he said that it was my decision - that he could induce me next Friday (when I will be 38 wks pregnant), but that there were distinct disadvantages to that. He said that my body wasn't quite ready to go into labour yet, and inducing would probably lead to and epidural and/or forceps or vacuum extraction delivery. I have always wanted to have a natural birth, as far as possible, so I am going to see if I can tolerate the itching for as long as possible.
I see Bob again next Thurday, and then he is on holidays for 2 weeks, so I'll see how I'm travelling then.
Here are some pictures of my PUPPP: