The Pregnancy Diaries: PUPPP

PUPPP.  Ever heard of it?  I'll tell you all about it.

It all started yesterday.  My abdomen was feeling itchy.  By nighttime I was miserably itchy.  My skin started to become red from all the scratching.  I tried everything to get some relief: hydrocortisone cream, benadryl cream, vitamin e oil, lotion, gold bond powder.  Nothing seemed to be working.  Finally I got a little bit of relief by laying in bed with the fan blowing directly onto my itchy abdomen.  By a little bit, I really do mean a little bit.  I pretty much didn't sleep last night because I was so miserably itchy.  Every time I woke up to go to the bathroom I couldn't fall back asleep because I just couldn't help but scratch to soothe the itch.

I was absolutely no better this morning.  Worse, actually.  I had developed a rash overnight.  It was red and bumpy and all over my abdomen except for a 1-inch circumference around my belly button that was totally unaffected.  Weird.  At work I was such a whiner.  Seriously.  But I was honestly just so completely and utterly miserable.  Toward the middle of the day I started to feel sick just because I was so itchy.  I scratched all day long and felt like I was becoming certifiably NUTS.  Extreme itchiness gets to your head!  I left work early (thanks to Chelsy and Jessica for covering for me and to Chelsy for convincing me!) and headed to Wal-Mart to buy oatmeal bath soak (I read online it helps for itchy skin).  I splurged at Wal-Mart and bought the Aveeno oatmeal bath soak, Aveeno anti-itch soothing lotion with colloidal oatmeal and the Aveeno anti-itch body wash also with colloidal oatmeal.  I was seriously determined to try everything and it was totally worth the mulah.

Well.  I was talking to my older sister, Laurin, on the way home and mentioned how completely miserable I was.  I told her I had the worst itchiness ever and that I had never been so miserable in my pregnancy.  She asked me "Have you ever heard of PUPPP?"  No.  Well, I kind of thought it sounded familiar but I had no idea what it was.  She didn't know much about it except that it was a rash some pregnant women developed.  She had read about it while she was pregnant with her first baby (about 4.5 years ago) but didn't remember much since she never had it.  She told me to look it up and see what it said about it.  So I did...and VOILA!...she diagnosed me!  I was seriously so happy to have a reason to be so ridiculously itchy and so whiny.

Facts about PUPPP:

  • Occurring in one of every 150 pregnancies, PUPPP stands for "pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy."
  • In plain English, PUPPP is an itchy, bumpy rash that usually develops on the abdomen near the umbilical area. Check.
  • Can spread to the thighs and extremities. Boo.  I hope I'm spared :[
  • It’s most common in first-time mothers... Check.
  • ...and those carrying multiples. No check.  I better not be carrying multiples.
  • Sometimes itching can become very severe Check.
  • The good news: PUPPP poses no risk for your baby. 
  • PUPPP usually appears in the third trimester Check.
  • Disappears after childbirth.
  • It is the most common rash in pregnant women.
  • PUPPP does not usually affect subsequent pregnancies. Thank GOODNESS!!
  • The rash of PUPPP almost always begins in the stretch marks (striae) of the abdomen. Check.
  • It does not involve the belly button distinguishing it from other common rashes of pregnancy. Check.
  • The rash itself consists of small, red wheals in the stretch marks that grow together to form larger wheals on the abdomen. Check...I currently have the small, red wheals.  Not looking forward to larger wheals :[
  • The rash is very itchy, or pruritic, hence the name. CHECK. CHECK. CHECK!!!
  • It lasts an average of 6 weeks and resolves spontaneously 1 to 2 weeks after delivery. 
  • The most severe itching normally lasts for no more than 1 week.
  • The cause of PUPPP is unknown. 
  • 70% of women with PUPPP give birth to boys. Check.
Yep, I'm pretty sure it's PUPPP.  And it totally sucks.

All the online articles suggest home remedies for PUPPP.  Oatmeal bath.  Check.  Anti-itch lotions.  Check.  I took the oatmeal bath as soon as I got home from Wal-Mart and then applied the Aveeno lotion.  I had complete, heavenly relief...for about 10 minutes.  I'm back to being a little squirmy with the itchies but it's not nearly as bad as it was before my bath.

I have the day off tomorrow for our 4 year anniversary (yay!) and I'll be calling the doctor first thing in the morning if I'm still miserable.  Delivery is the only real cure to PUPPP and I read that many doctors will induce you if you are close to your delivery date and the PUPPP is severe so that you can start oral steroids.  I'm still not into the idea of elective induction but I don't think I can handle a repeat of today.

Here's to hoping the lotion and bath help and to not having the rash spread to my legs, breasts, and extremities!!!!

I hope you have enjoyed learning all about PUPPP. :]

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