Home » Mochi » Itchy, itchy, ITCHY!

Itchy, itchy, ITCHY!

Friends, I’ve been scratching like it’s going out of style. 

The itching started last week, and has been worse in the evening and night time, with no hives or rashes really. I’ve noticed tiny leeeeetle red bumps and scales more recently though. 

  Trying to figure out what this is has been difficult, as there are a few pregnancy conditions that are associated with itching. 

At first, my midwife thought it might be cholestasis of pregnancy, which is kind of a scary thing because it is quite harmful to babies and has been associated with and increased risk of stillbirth. [Goodness, I hate that word. Makes me shudder in fear.] In this condition, the itches are associated with the hands and feet,  is worse at night, and has no noticeable rash. My doctor tested my liver enzymes, which are elevated in 60% of cases, and mine were normal. She should’ve tested for fractionated bile acids too, but somehow didn’t put it on the requisition form. So, we can’t totally rule it out, but the rash starting to form between my fingers and toes is starting to rule it out (for me anyways). 

So now I’m thinking its Prurigo of Pregnancy, which is like an eczema flare up due to fluctuating hormones. I’ve never had eczema in my life, but both my mom and sister have it, so it’s possible that it’s that. When I Google “mild eczema”, I see pictures  that vaguely resemble the little red bumps in between my fingers and toes. Luckily, this condition is not harmful to the baby, but can put me at risk of skin infections if I scratch too much. It’s also making it hard to sleep, because I’m so itchy!

Another common skin issue in pregnancy is PUPPP, but I’m sure it’s not that because PUPPP usually starts on your belly, and the spots are more like hives. 

Anyways, I’m super itchy these days, but I’m overall doing better because I’m finally off work! Which means more sleep, more gas in my tank, and more of a chance to enjoy the remainder of what will likely be my only pregnancy. 

I’m sleeping in two-to-three hour chunks: from 10pm to 1am, from 5am to 7-8am, and then from 1pm to about 2pm. It seems that Dumplin’s getting me sleep-ready for nursing. My family doc was super understanding, and said that given my already difficult relationship with sleep, it would be better to give me a couple of weeks to acclimate to what will likely be my sleep schedule when Dumplin’s here. It also removes me from the mould-infested classroom, and gives my pelvis a rest from all of the standing and stair climbing. 

I’ve been slowly getting things checked off my “To Do” list:

– wash Dumplin’s linens and clothes ✅

– organize Dumplin’s stuff ✅

– buy the rest of his necessities ✅

– pack hospital bags for me/Dumplin’/DW- in progress

– have both vehicles serviced/tuned up/ oil changed – in progress

– make gluten-free lactation cookies

DW has been feeling even more exhausted and constipated lately. She has never been a night-time pee-er, and has been finding it difficult to fall back asleep after peeing. At 10 weeks, she’s still nauseous and has taste aversions, but her food preferences are starting to welcome fruit and salads, so perhaps things are turning a corner? She’s nervous because she hasn’t seen Mochi since her six week ultrasound, but we will see him/her in about a week and a half. I’m soooooooooooooooooo excited!!

This Thursday, Dumplin’ will be 36 weeks in the womb, and I’ll do another update then 🙂

72 thoughts on “Itchy, itchy, ITCHY!

  1. Please please please go get tested for bile acids (and liver enzymes again ideally) to check if you might have cholestasis. Please. Right now. It sounds exactly like my symptoms when I had it. You need the bike acid test to rule it out. And ideally you should fast for 8 hours before blood draw for bile acids though it can be done without if need be.

    • I asked the nurse to ask my family doc to requisition the bile acids test and to redo the liver function tests too. It seems like docs up here have no idea what cholestasis of pregnancy is…. She had to look it up in front of me (and she is an excellent GP). Did you get a rash like mine with your ICP?

      • My feet and hands are both itchy, but the rash seems worse on my feet, and only in the web between toes. Barely anything noticeable on my hands, though they itch just as much.

      • Interesting. It could be excema as one reader suggested but it sounds exactly like what I went through. Is your belly itchy too? By the end I was itchy all over and unable to sleep from the itching and scratching.

      • Ugh. That sounds unpleasant. My belly was the last one to get really bad but the only one to get a medical professional’s attention. So weird how things unfold. I hope it’s excema and clears up after delivery but I would be scared too and wanting a definitive answer on the risk of cholestasis. I hope you get some help soon.

      • Thanks. I have a midwife appt tomorrow, and I’ll be sure to bring it up again. My midwives treated this as a medical emergency when I first told them about it, and tried to get the OB on call at the hospital to see me and order the tests. The OB was dealing with a medical emergency though and told them to send me to my family doctor instead. Ugh. Passing the buck. I wish my midwives could order the bloodwork, but they can’t for some reason.

      • I expect that is a licensing issue between their college and the College of physicians and surgeons unfortunately. I still think it is foolish that Owhat would require a patient to pay for this test when it is used to diagnose an emergency situation that could threaten the life of an unborn child.

      • Interesting. I guess that’s why my family doc had never heard of it. It sucks because my midwife was totally on it, but can’t order the bloodwork, so I was sent to my family doc to get the blood req.

      • Oh good grief. Even after I had birthed the MT my family Dr was suggesting I never had cholestasis and it was likely just early stages of preeclampsia. After it had been diagnosed in hospital! Then when my liver enzymes went back to normal right after delivery she agreed it had been cholestasis after all. By the way she told me bile acid testing takes 2 weeks too!

  2. Sorry for sounding so panicky. My liver enzymes were normal first but bile acids crazy high then the next day the liver ones were really high too. So it can be missed if you just do liver enzymes. i hope it’s nothing and apologize for sounding alarmist if it came across that way.

      • I started itching at 33-34w but was dismissed as it just being pregnancy itching until 37w. Then the marks from where I’d been scratching myself at night were so obvious the locum OB asked about it and sent me for immediate blood work. It takes a day for results and she called me the next day at work telling me I had to be at L&D to be induced within one hour. My levels were ridiculous by then and got worse in that 24 hours. Nobody thought it would be cholestasis because it’s *rare*.

    • No- don’t worry. I’ve been kinda freaking out about it myself. I just wish my doc knew more because I know the bile acid test takes two weeks to come back. Did it take that long for you?

      • Yeah, my midwife tried to get me into the hospital for the rest but the OB on call didn’t want to deal with me, and told her to send me to my family doc instead. Ugh. I’m gonna follow up with my family doc again because her nurse never got back to me 😦

      • Yes you can imagine how I felt. I had access to all kinds of material because I was doing medical malpractice defense of the time. I had never even heard of cholestasis but immediately researched it and started bawling at my desk while I waited for a ride to the hospital.

      • Exactly. That’s where the system is failing you in not simply doing the damned test and letting you have some peace of mind. Honestly the more I think about it the more I would likely trot myself (okay, not much trotting at 35.5w I know) over to ER or L&D and ask for help saying I couldn’t sleep the itching was so bad and my midwife was very concerned about cholestasis but couldn’t requisition lab tests and now you can’t sleep because of the worry. If the family doctor won’t get her pooh together I would consider self help. Better safe than sorry when it comes to something like this.

      • Hey! I’m well, thanks. Got a requisition for liver enzymes and bile salts to be done on Friday! The midwife says even if done at the hospital, they send off the blood to be tested in Hamilton, which is why it takes over a week. She’s also sending me for an ultrasound next week to check on Dumplin’ to see how big he is and his biophysical profile. He’s measuring over 90th percentile based on fundal height right now. I’m a bit less itchy though, which is promising. My pelvis however, is feeling more and more like it’s being crushed by the day.

      • There is medication for cholestasis but most doctors get baby out at 37w (term technically) because it is believed that risk outweighs benefit at that point. It is still not understood why it can cause still birth just that risk of it is significantly elevated when one has cholestasis of pregnancy. I’d love for you to rule it out ideally but if not yes I get the feeling of urgency. Hell I felt like that my whole third trimester, my fear of A staying in and the risks to him of that over being out weighed heavily. If I had developed cholestasis my OB said there was no chance he would let baby stay in past 37+0. As life would have it we never made it that far for other reasons. If you aren’t getting anywhere I would take yourself to the hospital frankly. Were you planning a home birth otherwise?

      • Yes, I think I will be pressing my midwives for a referral to the OB to get this tested at the hospital. They wanted me to get a NST too at L&D before the OB on call kyboshed it.

        Yeah, I can imagine (and remember) the anxiety you felt towards the end with baby A. I haven’t felt that kind of anxiety since the good NIPT results, but I am starting to feel it now.

        My original plan was to labour at home as long as possible- if things progressed quickly, to stay at home to deliver (I live very close to two hospitals), but to transfer to the hospital if I can’t handle the pain or if things just don’t feel right. I’m already preregistered at the hospital, so I’m good to go in that way. With the possibility of cholestasis, I’m seriously considering doing a hospital birth from the get go now, in case Dumplin’ swallows meconium or has troubles breathing.

      • By the way, I got tested four times in this pregnancy too because there’s a high rate of recurrence (50-70%) and results *never* took 2 weeks. My OB thought the prednisone may have helped me avoid it reoccurring this time though he said there’s no research on that, just his intuitive sense and almost 3 decades of experience as high risk OB.

      • Yes. The last time I went the nurse said “why are you asking me why I’m not asking you how long you have been fasting?” because the instructions that pop up on the lab computers don’t even say it should be fasting. ?!?

      • My OB said the results are more reliable when the patient fasts but my first time I never fasted and it was reliable enough to get me admitted for emergency induction. He was away when that happened.

  3. Yay for being off work. With all of my pregnancies I totally lacked sleep at the middle to end. Your dr is right, it’s your body gearing up for all the sleep loss ahead of you 🙂 it’s looks like you have pregnancy eczema to me. I had it with my first. I know it sounds silly but if you have any coconut oil, oatmeal oats, and olive oil you can make a pretty awesome rub for your rash. You pretty much grind the oats down to nothing, heat up coconut oil in a pan, mix in oats & add a tiny bit of olive oil. Let it cool and it’s like a cream. It worked wonders for me, and it’s all natural. Can beat that. Hope it gets better friend:)

  4. Yikes, not fun! I have no first hand experience or advice (ha – you’ve now made it further than I did with DD!). My neighbour had some sort of strange itchy rash all over her body but I think hers started very early in her pregnancy. Good luck!

  5. Man oh man I hope you get the itchiness sorted ASAP. We knew a gal who had cholestasis this year and they induced her at 36 weeks and a few days. I an hoping it’s NOT that for you. I’m jealous of your sleep routine. I’m averaging 1-1.5 hours right now between pees/wake ups. 😦 Whohoo for being off work though. Did you get written off on disability or just go on mat leave early?

    • Thanks friend. I also hope it’s not cholestasis, but it seems kinda hard to rule out right now. I’ve been trying to get all of our baby prep done NOW just in case I have to be induced at 36/37 weeks (that’s next week!). I’m sorry you’re also not sleeping, but now that you’re off, you can nap too! I am currently using up my sick days until they run out, and then I dip into my short term disability until Dumplin’s here or his due date, whichever is earlier. Have you filled out your EI application yet? I’m kinda worried because while I’ve been off most of the past year, I’ve been paying into EI the whole time. So technically, I should qualify for EI, but I’m not sure if they will exclude me because I haven’t worked enough hours. It’s so dumb because while I’ve been off, I still managed to max out my EI contributions (they happen automatically off my sick leave pay) so I definitely should qualify. Argh.

      • Yes I’m just on mat leave. Applied for EI on Friday. Pending approval. I have two friends who work in disability claims and both said I should have gone off with a doctors note and done sick days til short term disability kicked in, then rolled into mat leave once baby arrives… But honestly, I didn’t want the extra paperwork hassle. I’m only off like 2.5 weeks before my due date. I hope you get your situation sorted. That’s one level of added stress you don’t need right now either.

      • Thanks! Yes, it seems simpler the way you’ve done it. Let me know how long it takes for EI to get back to you. My work won’t be sending an ROE until baby’s due date, so I think it’ll be a while before I’ll hear back.

  6. Ah that doesn’t look fun! Hopefully it’s just eczema, and nothing more serious. I haven’t had eczema since I was 8 but since being pregnant I’ve developed it on my finger, exactly where my wedding band usually is. I haven’t been able to wear it for two months. Anyways, hoping it’s nothing more than just that for you! xoxo

  7. Really hope all is well and it isn’t the scary option! I had some overall belly itching from the skin stretching and dryness, nothing compared to what PUPPP is supposed to be like. I hope you find something that brings relief and you get your bags packed!

  8. While I cannot help with the diagnosis, I thought you might want to look into getting one of these, it might help you know what the little ones are up too. A doppler , has helped several of my friends to keep an eye on their little one….most of them checked it twice a day ,and wrote down the heart rate, to make sure nothing had changed, that the heart rate had stayed basically within the same range…if you think you might like one…here is just one page about them there are lots, you might want to look around there seems to be some that are better than others..( scroll down the page to see them)…. http://monitorry.elektroshop91.com/discover-credit-monitoring/heartbeat-monitor-for-baby-37.html
    Hope you are feeling better soon, hugs.

  9. Okay, so just read all the comments about the possibilities and I really hope you can get the testing done asap! Obviously I’m hoping its nothing to e concerned about, but if modern medicine can help diagnose something I say get the testing!
    Also, congrats on being done work! I’m so excited that you are not going back into the black mold school. And I’m also really excited to read that DW and Mochi seem to be doing well – I am excited for her next scan, I’m sure she (and you) will feel so much better seeing Mochi again and getting out of the first trimester. 🙂

    • Thanks friend. Yes, I’m hoping to get that bile acid test done so that I can either put this to rest or take action (which means Dumplin’ will be here sooner than we think). It’s sooo much better being off work. I have a lot more energy because I can actually get sleep when I need it. But I really miss the routine and the kids and my colleagues. I didn’t realize how much I’ve missed social interactions! I can’t wait to see Mochi. Like the beginning with Dumplin’, DW has been holding her breath in the “in between” times… Confirmation that all is well would be great.

  10. I hope it doesn’t turn out to be cholestasis. A friend of mine had it in all her pregnancies and was induced early each time to lower risk to her and the baby (her and all three kids are fine). Your sleep schedule is crazy! But it will probably be just about perfect for a newborn, so it’s kind of cool that you can adjust to that pattern now. I know I’m gonna feel awful with the broken nights to come, lol! Glad to hear DW is doing well and hopefully easing toward the end of the first trimester sickness. The first few months are really hard going. Almost 36 weeks! Eee – there really isn’t long to go for you guys now. Watching this space for updates 🙂

    • Thank you! Yes, I agree that it’s really nice to get to take time to ease into Dumplin’s “nursing schedule”, rather than be thrown into it. It seems to be working for me. I sleep when I’m tired, and 2-3 hours at a time seems to rejuvenate me enough for the next stretch. Dumplin’ seems to be most active between 2-7 am though… Little bugger is gonna make it hard for DW to sleep.

      It’s really interesting going through different types of sleep deprivation with DW. Me being limited by my last trimester ails and her by her first trimester challenges has been very interesting. She is just so wiped by the time she gets home from work that she doesn’t have the energy to do anything, yet I’ve got some major nesting inclinations, so I whip up dinner, clean it up, and randomly do other chores as she stares at the clock waiting for 9pm. It seems to work!

      • That’s lovely. I remember DW looking after you when your nausea was awful in the beginning. You have a great relationship – lots of kindness and no crazy expectations. You’re going to be great mamas 🙂

  11. I have the EXACT same thing. I believe that it’s eczema. I have tried all sorts of things but find that the Aveeno baby eczema lotion works the best. I lather it all over my hands a few times per day and it usually clears up quickly.

    • Oh and I should mention that it is not unique to this pregnancy. I’ve had it off and on for a few years. It is significantly better since I started using that lotion.

      • I’ve never had eczema before, so this has come as a complete surprise to me! In a way it’s good you’ve had it before to be able to identify it. Mine is still itchier at night and in the early morning though… Sooo itchy!

    • I’m having my bile acids retested on Friday, but will hunt down some Aveeno baby eczema lotion in the mean time. I’ve been using Aveda foot and hand cream, which I thought would be rich enough, but no dice. Thanks for the tip.

  12. Awesome news – not the itchy red bumps – being able to focus on the last part of pregnancy. SOOO glad you were able to do that. And soooo glad you’re able to make it work for you re: sleep.

    I hope it’s an eczema flare up. Definitely not liking the sound of the other stuff. Does anything you put on it soothe it? I have psoriasis and it’s gone since about week 8. So maybe just as my psoriasis disappeared your added a new problem of eczema to the mix 🙂

  13. I went through the exact same thing with Moose – I was terrified of stillbirth, of course, and we did the runaround with all of the liver testing (which OHIP covered – maybe because I was high risk?). The itching on my hands drove me nuts. The thing that ended up working for me was the Weleda calendula body lotion. It was the only cream that helped, and I went through a ton of it. I also found that I had to be more careful about cross-contamination with gluten – I always get inflamed hands if I get glutened and I was much more sensitive to traces during pregnancy.

    • Oh maybe! Good point. I’m Celiac, and have been pretty good with my diet over the years, but I can see how a tiny bit of cross contamination (my wife eats and cooks gluten) might trigger this. I should try the Weleda calendula body lotion too.

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