Eczema can cause itching, dry skin and redness, which may normally be resolved using medications that are not permitted during pregnancy, conception or breastfeeding. So what to do?
Eczema can flare up during pregnancy, which happens in about half of cases, or even appear for the first time. In about a quarter of women, however, pregnancy may relieve them of eczema completely – at least during pregnancy, maybe rearing its head again after birth.
First, if you have severe eczema, we recommend talking to your dermatologist as you are making conception plans so they can explain your treatments during pregnancy and advise you of what is and isn’t ok to take while conceiving. If you are on strong eczema management drugs and discover you are pregnant, immediately speak to your dermatologist for advice, as some of these drugs are not safe during pregnancy.
Eczema itself is not dangerous to the baby, and is not contagious.
Safe eczema treatment options during pregnancy
- Mild to moderate topical steroids – to help stop itching and other symptoms, check with your dermatologist first
- UVB light
For severe eczema, when other treatments have failed
- Strong topical steroids
- Oral steroids
- Immunosuppressive drugs
Eczema treatments to avoid during pregnancy
- UVA (PUVA)
- Specific strong drugs – talk to your dermatologist
Safe home-based treatments for eczema during pregnancy
- Regular moisturising – apply straight after towel-drying post-bath or shower to trap moisture in
- Avoid hot showers, and opt for warmer showers – hot showers can be delightful, but the hot water strips your skin of oils, worsening eczema
- Wear loose clothes – tight clothes are more irritating by holding in heat
- Avoid stripping soaps – use pH balanced light soap or special eczema soap provided by your dermatologist
- Keep up your fluids – staying hydrated is important for skin moisture
- Utilise coconut oil – this oil is a natural moisturiser and reduces inflammation
- Check your diet – if you know of foods that trigger a flare-up, steer clear
- Probiotics may help some women – check with your dermatologis
If you aren’t sure, contact our Melbourne dermatologists for advice.