Life

My Battle with PUPPP Rash

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My Battle with PUPPPs (Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy) ||

Yeah, I can’t pronounce it either so I just call it PUPPPs (and not the soft and cuddly kind either).  First off I just want to say if you are dealing with this BLESS YOUR HEART! I really completely sympathize with you and just know that you are not alone! Feel free to reach out to me in any way you would like if you need to talk or have any questions about PUPPP rash. I am not a doctor but I can at least offer some support.

This crazy, rarely heard of rash during my pregnancy rocked my world so much that I have 3 different drafts of this post! One from a very emotional side, another from the technical side of finding relief and this one where I try to combine a happy medium of the two. As I sit and tweak the 3rd draft I am a little overcome with emotion that 4 months have already flown by since River was born.”Don’t blink!”

It’s said by mothers everywhere, “don’t worry you will forget all about the uncomfortable side effects of pregnancy and the pain of child birth after you hold your sweet baby.” Well, I don’t think I will ever “forget” what I went through with PUPPP rash but it makes it easier when you realize you somehow survived, it made you stronger and you now have this amazing little human!

Most of my pregnancy was a breeze. I did suffer from exhaustion, some nausea and swelling but I really couldn’t say that it wasn’t a pretty pleasant and rewarding experience up until about 32 weeks…then all hell broke loose! I had no idea what was about to take over my body and cause me to have a nervous fucking breakdown just about every day for over a month. It started simple enough. I thought I had a little heat rash below my belly button that caused me a little uncomfortable itching. Then a week later the dreaded stretch marks that I thought I had gotten through my pregnancy without suffering from started popping up right where the “heat rash” was.

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Beginning stages of my PUPPP

 

Another week goes by and the itching started to intensify so I followed the rules of trying not to scratch and to keep it lubed up with lotion. I was starting the rotation of meeting the other doctors in the practice and I expressed my concerns to the attending doctor I saw that week and she just said, without even looking at the site of irritation, “oh, don’t worry it’s just your stretch marks. They can become itchy.”…well ok…

Fast-forward another week and damn if my entire torso and boobs hadn’t started to itch all over. I mean ITCH! Everywhere I scratched a rash would start to spread. I couldn’t think about anything but controlling the itching and scratching.

It wasIMG_6085 roughly 35 weeks and I almost had to cancel one of my baby showers because I was so miserable and not to mention terrified to be seen in public because I looked like I was addicted to crack and couldn’t stop scratching the “crack bugs.” But it was a family shower so I figured who loves ya better than family, right?! Plus, after I went back to get the photos from this shower I realized you couldn’t tell! I honestly had barely looked at these because I was so disconnected from what was happening.

 

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My adorable hosts: Great Aunt Virginia (left), Grandma (middle)
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My cousin Brittany was way off on how big I really was!

As another next week rolled around I was no longer able to sleep for more than 2 hours at a time, spent all day in moo moos, sitting on ice packs and taking cold showers/baths 6-8 times a day just to get about 30 minutes of some sort of relief.

I spent all night from 3 a.m. until my husband would wake up for work soaking in an Aveeno oatmeal bath reading articles of people who had suffered from this debilitating rash and that’s when I started to self-diagnose that I had PUPPP rash. As I shared this with a different doctor at my next visit she almost became frantic and would not discuss the issue with me. She just kept saying, “I am so sorry. Have you tried (insert every itch relief cream known to man).”

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Not the greatest photos but the red rash was all over my body.

– and yes i had tried them all.

It’s such a horrible thing but so little is known about PUPPP and aside from just making you miserable as a mother-fucker it really isn’t “harmful” to you or the baby. From what I could conclude through my own research and no with no help from my doctors is that I was basically allergic to my baby. That’s the only answer I have to help me overcome the PTSD I have suffered from this nasty PUPPP (learn a little more about PUPPP here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pruritic_urticarial_papules_and_plaques_of_pregnancy)

Remedies for PUPPP Rash Relief

So if you have this HORRIBLE PUPPP rash and need a little support here are the little things I did to find a slight bit of relief.

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My nightstand at some point during the throes of PUPPP Rash
  1. DO NOT SCRATCH! If you think you have the beginning stages of PUPPP Rash do not start scratching! If I would have known that it was more than “just my stretch marks” I would have never continued to scratch! I think the scratching made it spread.  I swore I could never go through pregnancy again if there was even a chance this could come back (and there is) but it does go away (at some point after birth) and I think the second time around I will know what is happening and I will do what I can to prevent it from spreading from the very beginning!
  2. Grandpa’s Pine Tar Soap Start showering/bathing with Grandpa’s Pinpine tar soape Tar Soap. Something about this soap does aid in some relief and helps to start to dry it out. It did take a few days to really start to kick in so do not get discouraged if it doesn’t immediately start working. I would use this in a cool shower (heat just upsets the rash more) about 4-6 times a day. Just a warning the soap does have a very “Earthy” sent. It reminded me of a log cabin/campfire smell but I noticed it doesn’t stay on your skin. I did use the loofah to scratch the shit outta myself which I am sure made it worse in the long run but boy did it feel good! I found the soap at our local Sprouts Market and I have linked it above through Amazon but you can find it at just about any pharmacy or grocer.
  3. Aveeno Oatmeal Bath: Everyone has probably heard of this. I would soak in a lukewarm bath a couple of times a day as well as stated before every night from about 3 am- 6 am. I pretty much would just read and nap as much as I could in that time. Then my day would start all over with a shower about 2 hours later, lay on ice packs, moisturize, shower, moisturize, ice packs, shower…and on it went!
  4. Coconut Oil: I am now a true believer in using coconut oil as a moisturizer. I actually haven’t bought any other type of lotion since I started using coconut oil while having the rash. What it has done for my skin even after the rash is amazing. I believe the best type for using as a moisturizer is the unrefined kind, any brand will work I am sure. I had my mom and husband rubbing me down all day and night the last few weeks!
  5. Ice Packs (and lots of them): Keeping ice packs on your body really helped relieve the itching a lot. I think at any given time I would have one behind my back, under my ass, and on my legs and arms. In fact, any sleep I got at the beginning of the night would be while my ice packs were still frozen then as soon as they thawed around 2-3am I would start to itch uncontrollably again (itching became worse at night. Something to do with your hormones) and would retire to the bathtub.
  6. Claritin D: I did try Benadryl orally but it didn’t really do anything for me. I typically do not take Claritin because it makes me feel a little loopy but my mom had some when she came to help me after my rash got so bad I could barely make it through the day. I gave it a try and it did help relieve some of the itching and relax me a little to get some rest.

You are probably surprised that I did not list any anti-itch creams. You are more than welcome to give any of them a shot but they just DID NOT work for me. I mean at all! They were just a waste of money and left weird residue on your body. There are SO many other things to try this was just my personal experience. I pray that you have more support from your healthcare professionals. When I finally made it back to my primary doctor she saw the pain in my eyes by the tears that were streaming down my face at my 36 week appointment. I was begging for her to help me because I felt like the stress from the rash would be putting stress on River. She wound up having me do a urine analysis for protein which was positive so at 37 1/2 weeks we induced labor for preeclampsia.

Trying out my pump hoping it would induce labor! This was the first time I had tried it and I couldn't believe how crazy weird it felt! Now I am 4 whole months as a breastfeeding Mom and I don't even bat an eye anymore!
Trying out my pump hoping it would induce labor! This was the first time I had tried it and I couldn’t believe how crazy weird it felt! Now I am 4 whole months as a breastfeeding Mom and I don’t even bat an eye anymore!

I didn’t get the experience of “going in to labor” like I was hoping for but as I am sure you have heard most births do not go as planned! The news I was being induced was SO welcomed. I finally fixed my hair a little and put something on besides a moo moo. Given it was only sweats but I did get a few little pictures the day before we went in to the hospital. I didn’t realize I had my camera on a weird setting but to be honest the color kind of reflects how I was feeling.

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So in conclusion PUPPP Rash SUCKS A BIG ASS! I was so miserable I became very disconnected from my pregnancy. I didn’t even want to nest. River’s room just sat there with everything from the baby showers still in boxes. My amazing Mom came to my rescue though! She and my husband were my angels through this process. After River was born I still itched for about 2-3 weeks but it was no where near as bad as it was. I hope this helps at least one person find a little relief or feel supported. If you have also suffered from PUPPP Rash please feel free to leave any of your personal remedies in the comments!

Good luck, Mama! It will all be worth it once you are holding your little squishy!

baby

 

23 Comments

  • Maria, I am so sorry I didn’t know you were going through this. I would have been praying for you and trying to encourage you. You are so brave to share this experience so that anyone else who experiences this can find support. Next time you are in Claxton please let me know. I want to meet that sweet little fella!!

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    • Will do Mrs. Sonya! Love you!

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  • Hi!, first time reader here. I really enjoyed your article. I found it to be really helpful. Keep up the great work! I’ll be sure to tell my friends

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    • Thank you, Emilee!!

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  • It’s almost 1am and here I am trying to find something on the internet that can help me to relieve the symptoms of this horrible condition. I’ve been suffering from pupp for a week now, I’m 40 weeks pregnant and getting crazy, the itch is insane. I was very happy waiting for my little boy but now everything I do is cry. The only thing that helps are the ice packs, but they don’t last for a long time. I’m happy to have found your text, made me think that it will be over soon. Thanks for sharing your journey through this. Sorry for my broken English. God bless you.

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    • Jessica darling I am so sorry to hear you are going through this. It truly is the worst and night time seems to be something of the devil. I hope your little angel decides to come very soon to hopefully provide you with some relief. Please keep me posted on how you are doing dear!

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  • This is an example of a certainly well-researched article. Thank you consequently much.

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  • This is my life right now.yes, don’t scratch it makes it worse and spread like wild fire on my body. I’m very disconnected and baby’s room is no where near being done. So far the only thing that’s starting to help is Grandpas Pine Tar Soap. I’m 35 weeks and counting down till I deliver. i wouldn’t wish PUPPPs on my worst enemy.

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    • Hi Jennifer, glad you know you’re not alone! I still have PTSD 7 months after when my body itches a little…Please reach out to me anytime!

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  • I’m so glad I’ve come across your blog! I’ve self diagnosed myself with Puppp.. My midwife just keeps telling me it’s a heat rash when I know it isn’t. I barely sleep at night and like you did, I am constantly having to get in and out the bath for some relief otherwise I’m sure I’d scratch my skin off! Grandpas tine par soap is helping a bit but it’s driving me insane !

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  • Wow! Thank you! I constantly wanted to write on my site something like that. Can I include a part of your post to my website?

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  • I started getting PUPPS at about 31 weeks and I am now 36 weeks. You nailed it on the head IT SUCKS ASS!! I’ve used the soap and also creams, maybe a little relief but not really. I also started using lavender oils and put that on while I shower, again a little bit of relief but not much. I do have a question and maybe a little TMI, did your whoha itch also? My doctor prescribed me a hydrocortisone cream for that reason and it doesn’t help much. She’s not even sure it’s from the PUPPS but I think it is. So just wondering if you had that issue also. So ready for this part to be over, it truly is miserable!!!

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  • I am 36 weeks and suffering from this rash. It is very miserable and I feel like nobody really understands just how miserable it is. I have tried all the creams.. cortisone 10 helps for a little while and coconut oil.. also, aveeno eczema therapy seems to help a bit. I finally broke down to my OB after nights of barley getting any sleep and he prescribed methyprednisolone. It seems to help a bit.. but, at night it’s worse and nothing helps. I am really ready to have my baby… not just because I’m ready to hold her.. but, this rash is debilitating. So glad I found this post. I plan on trying grandpas pine tar soap. 4 ish more weeks or so to deal with this…

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  • I am reading this after just having gotten two cold showers. It’s 3am. I’m tired, I’m itchy, and I’m totally bummed out. Thank you for writing this. I am glad to see that there is a light at the end of the itchy rash tunnel when it seems never ending.

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  • So comforting knowing other people have dealt with this I am only 29 weeks and cannot imagine how I will deal with this for 11 more weeks. Did the rash start as almost clear bumps under the skin. That’s what mine are they are super itchy and sore then I scratch and then bust and give small relief but startitching again right away. I have tried all of these remedies and so far polysporin anti itch has helped but it’s like a layer of skin once it dries and then after awhile it starts to peel leaving a huge mess on everything. Thanks ladies for the inspiration to keep going and not give up. Strep throat puppp rash yeast infection and hemroids all at once if more then I was ready to deal with but if it doesn’t kill me it’ll make me.stronger I hope

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  • As I’m sitting here scratching the living shit out of myself and of course can’t sleep because of the itch! Mine started around week 36 anddddd I’m 2 weeks out from having little man on the 8th and it got worse AFTER I had him!!! During the pregnancy it was just the stretch marks and I mean come on-WORST ITCH EVER even on “just the stretch marks.” After I had him I got it on my arms back butt thighs chest; you know the drill. Tried aveno baths, grandpa soap, Benadryl, Sarna lotion, steroid shot&spill and of course no relief. At this point luckily it’s only terrible at night but still. Who wants this crap?! It’s awful. Babies asleep and I should be too! But instead I’m sitting here like a drug addict scratching away

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  • Has anyone experienced PUPPS early on? I have had a rash since about 5 weeks… and I am currently 21 weeks. I was diagnosed today with PUPPS, and really haven’t found any relief (other than ice packs, briefly). It is so bad at night. It makes me pretty anxious thinking that I will have this for the remainder of my pregnancy… has anyone else had this experience? The itching is driving me crazy.

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    • Yes since 6 weeks. It’s terribly uncomfortable, rattles any sanity you have left in the middle of the night. I can’t imagine it throughout pregnancy but not hopeful it will go away. It’s s very lonely experience to go through as it’s hardly dangerous to mom or baby, making it less socially empathic in a way. It sucks. Trying acupuncture as well as the tar soap and other topical remedies for any longer term relief. It’s awful.

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  • I have an 18 month old son, and I had PUPPPs while pregnant with him. I got it around 37-38 weeks of pregnancy and ended up being induced because of the PUPPPs at 39 weeks and 5 days. I just couldn’t take it anymore. Literally could not function. My ankles were so swollen with a huge, poison-ivy-like rash that I couldn’t wear most of my pants, and barely fit into slippers (forget shoes, not even close). In all my pictures of me holding my newborn son, you can see my hands and arms puffy and covered in the rash. The last two weeks of my pregnancy were pure hell, but it was only two weeks. Now, I’m almost 34 weeks pregnant with my second son, and I am getting PUPPPs again. I am so upset! I could seriously cry and probably will very soon. It’s not that terrible yet but I know where this is heading. Everything I had read online was that “PUPPPs does not tend to reoccur in subsequent pregnancies”. But I started to feel itchy last week and at my appointment, my doctor said there is no medical reason it can’t happen again. I am already now taking an extra shower per day, using the pine tar soap, but nothing else I have tried (and I tried it all last time) to moisturize it helps at all. In fact, I feel the moisturizers only suffocate it and make it more itchy. My favorite thing to use so far is aloe. It’s not a miracle drug or anything but it does soothe it a bit. I was using calamine lotion, which felt good, but my skin was starting to crack under it, so I stopped. I probably applied it too often. I have read some recommendations for gold bond medicated powder and gold bond medicated lotion. I haven’t tried these yet, but they will be next on my list. I’ll let everyone know if they help. Because I have no idea how I will survive this for over 6 more weeks.

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  • Thanks so much for posting this. I am in a same boat, I started having PUPPS around 35 weeks and now I am 38 weeks 4 days, they dont induced until i am 39 weeks and I have no sign of labor at all. I am having a boy as well, I have been through a lot for this entire pregnancy but pupps is the worst part.I hope no one ever have to suffer from it. Just counting my days and hoping that It wil go away once i deliver him

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  • Just out of curiosity, because I’ve been diagnosed with the pupps all 6 of my pregnancies…and I am A- blood type so I’ve had to have rogham every time, and coincidently the rash never starts until right after my shot. So my question is if anyone else has had a rogham around the time their rash started, maybe their is some connection?!?

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  • Hello, thanks for sharing. I am at 9th month of pregnancy, starting of 8th month was worst as I started itching my whole body & got to know I had pupp rash.

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  • I got relief by applying fresh aloe vera juice. Waiting for delivery now..

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