About 10 days after having Isla I developed a small red rash of little raised bumps and unbeknown to me this was the start of post pregnancy rash, also known as PUPPP (pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy).
This rash is not very common and is mainly suffered by a small percentage of pregnant women in their third trimester. Researchers are still looking into causes of this rash in postpartum women, however, it is thought that it is a result of an allergic reaction caused by fetal cells in the mothers blood. These cells continue to circulate the mothers body post delivery explaining why this sometimes happens after birth. For some reason it is thought that this rash always starts around a stretch mark and in my case it did.
I was covered from my neck downwards for about 2 weeks and it was absolutely unbearable. It was the most severe itching you can ever think of. If you have ever had prickly heat, times it by 10, and then imagine it all over your body and there you go! Below is a picture of my leg covered in the rash –
I am writing this post not to scare mums but to offer my advice should you unfortunately experience the same thing! As I became more acquainted with the rash I realised what irratated it and what made it feel better so here are my top tips for relief:
Ice cold showers – the cold water helped to reduce the inflammation all over my body and lessened the intensity of the itch
Keep cool – wear loose cotton clothing to allow your skin to breathe. As soon as I got hot the itch increased ten fold, try to stay as cool as possible!
E45 itch relief cream – this is amazing! I went through tubes and tubes of this stuff. It’s not the cheapest but well worth it for the immediate relief
Paracetamol – this helped to keep my temperate down and took the heat out of my skin which in turn reduced the itch
I visited the doctor 3 times in one week about this rash as it really was that severe and made breast feeding almost unbearable as I couldn’t suffer the skin to skin contact. It didn’t help that this conincided with James returning to work which meant I needed to care for Isla all on my own at a moment in time when I couldn’t even care for myself. I was in tears most days and just felt at my wits end.
Because of breast feeding, the doctor started me off on a prescription of antihistamines used in the treatment of hayfever. They didn’t work so I returned to the doctor and was given a stronger dose which also didn’t work. Finally I was given a 3 day course of steroids which absolutely kicked the butt of the itch. Within an hour or taking the first dose I felt better than ever. It really was an AMEN moment!
The rash remained on my skin for sometime but thankfully the itch disappeared. Now three and a half months on, I’m beyond estastic to say it has completely gone and I haven’t been left with any marks or scars.
If you think you have this rash I strongly advise visiting your doctor straight away and getting the medical intervention that you need before it peaks.
More than anything I hope you are reading this just because you enjoy my waffle and not because you have it!
Stay well everyone