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  • Niamh

Pregnancy Side Effects From Hell - Meet The PUPPP Rash

Give me a P – P

Give me a U – U

Give me a P – P

Give me a P – P

Give me a P - P

What have you got? One too many P's and a complete and utter nightmare that makes you want to rip your own skin off while heavily pregnant! Yay!

Er… well no. It does in fact spell PUPPP, as in PUPPP rash, but I’m not wrong on the description.

I was going through the bathroom cabinet the other day, looking for some bath bubbles and what did I find right at the back? But a bottle of crusty calamine lotion. I suddenly remembered how in desperation, I had doused myself in the creamy elixir when eight months pregnant and suffering with the aforementioned rash of doom.

There's a lot of things I miss about being pregnant (and yes those are pictures of whale me before I was about to drop!), but the PUPPP rash was not one of them!

For anyone who’s ever suffered with it, you’ll understand how downright shitty it is. For anyone who hasn’t, you’re about to get a crash course in why it has got to be up there with one of the most unpleasant side effects of pregnancy. And yes I know that’s a bold claim given the comprehensive list of crap pregnant women have to put up with, but by Jesus, this is not something you want to have.

First up can we address the name of the condition - PUPPP rash? Before you go thinking some happy boffin decided to name it after his new dog, hold the phone, because it actually stands for –

Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy… you’ve got to admit, it’s got a ring to it right?

Has it fuck! It’s a hideous moniker, with way to many P’s in it, clearly made up by some git of a man who doesn’t have a womb and will never know the hell this rash can bring!!

I can remember my belly resembling Freddy Kruger’s face as I got toward the end of my pregnancy. The stretch marks were immense, red and awful looking. I started out using all the oils and creams I could to try and keep them at bay and one day while I was slapping them on and looking in the mirror, I said to myself;

Wow these stretch mark creams are doing an a amazing job, no stretch marks.

It was only then that I actually looked at the underside of my belly that hadn’t seen the light of day in months and said -

Oh shit.

They were angry looking and not where I expected them to be. Fast forward a few months and on top of the stretch marks arrived the PUPPP rash. Yes that's right, this charming skin condition emerges first on the abdomen and stretch marks.

Fun times.

I ended up scratching the living shit out of my tummy. My stretch marks were raised and raw. It was horrible. I was already the size of a blue whale and couldn’t even get off the couch without someone to pull me up. I was swollen, massive and already uncomfortable, chugging gallons of Gaviscon a day, unable to sleep at night and then this itchier than a dose of chickenpox with some fleas thrown in for good measure, decides to turn up uninvited.

And while it can develop on the abdomen, it can also spread to the thighs, arms and arse. Yup I was literally itching from morning to night.

The best past though, is that they don’t know why it happens; it’s more common in first time mums and mums with multiples, but the bottom line is that there is very little you can do for it. Creams like calamine or Aveeno Dermexa are about the best you can hope for. If it gets really bad, they’ll even consider delivering you early.

The good news is, it is supposed to clear up after you deliver the baby. I say ‘suppose’ here because while that might be the case for most women, for me it decided to stay around for a few weeks after labour even after two different levels of steroid cream and antihistamines.

For any mamas going through PUPPP rash, stay strong, learn the art of distraction as it does help and know you're on the home stretch and you will stop itching soon!

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