Pregnancy and Skin

  • Sumit Kar
  • Ajay Krishnan
  • Poonam Varma Shivkumar



Skin changes occur in about 90 % pregnant women in one form or the other. The various skin changes maybe either physiological (hormonal), changes in pre-existing skin diseases or development of new pregnancy-specific dermatoses. All of these dermatoses can be attributed to the profound hormonal, vascular, metabolic, and immunological changes occurring during pregnancy.


Pregnancy-specific dermatoses have now been classified into dermatoses which are definitively associated and dermatoses with uncertain association with pregnancy. Though most of these skin dermatoses are benign and resolve in postpartum period, a few can risk fetal life and require antenatal surveillance. Most of the dermatoses of pregnancy can be treated conservatively but a few require intervention in the form of termination of pregnancy.


Careful history taking and examination will help us to identify each condition clinically and appropriate management can be instituted for the well-being of the mother and the fetus.


Dermatoses Pregnancy Skin 


  1. 1.
    Kumari R, Jaisankar TJ, Thappa DM. A clinical study of skin changes in pregnancy. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol. 2007;73(2):141.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Wilder RL. Hormones, pregnancy, and autoimmune disease. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1998;840:45–50.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Barankin B, Silver SG, Carruthers A. The skin in pregnancy. J Cutan Med Surg. 2002;6:236–40.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Chang AL, Agredano YZ, Kimball AB. Risk factors associated with striae gravidarum. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2004;51:881–5.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Gordon C. Pregnancy and autoimmune diseases. Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol. 2004;18:359–79.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Torgerson RR, Marnach ML, Bruce AJ. Oral and vulvar changes in pregnancy. Clin Dermatol. 2006;24:122–32.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Goldberg NS, DeFeo C, Kirshenbaum N. Pemphigus vulgaris and pregnancy: risk factors and recommendations. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1993;28:877–9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Holmes RC, Black MM. The specific dermatoses of pregnancy. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1983;8:405–12.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Shornick JK. Dermatoses of pregnancy. Semin Cutan Med Surg. 1998;17:172–81.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Ambros-Rudolph CM, Mullegger RR, Vaughan-Jones SA, et al. The specific dermatoses of pregnancy revisited and reclassified: Results of a retrospective two-center study on 505 pregnant patients. Am Acad Dermatol. 2006;54:395–404.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Sachdeva S. The dermatoses of pregnancy. Indian J Dermatol. 2008;53(3):103–5.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Shanmugam S, Thappa DM, Habeebullah S. Pruritus gravidarum: a clinical and laboratory study. J Dermatol. 1998;25(9):582–6.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Black MM, McKay M, Braude PR. Color atlas and text of obstetric and gynecologic dermatology. 2nd ed. London: Times Mirror International Publishers Limited; 2001.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Sherard GB 3rd, Atkinson SM Jr. Focus on primary care: pruritic dermatological conditions in pregnancy. Obstet Gynecol Surv. 2001;56:427–32.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Varadi DP. Pruritus induced by crude bile and purified bile acids. Experimental production of pruritus in human skin. Arch Dermatol. 1974;109:678–81.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Winton GB, Lewis CW. Dermatoses of pregnancy. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1982;6:977–98.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Fagan EA. Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy. BMJ. 1994;309:1243–4.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Hirvioja ML, Tuimala R, Vuori J. The treatment of intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy by dexamethasone. Br J Obstet Gynaecol. 1992;99:109–11.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Stephansson O, Granath F, Svensson T, et al. Drug use during pregnancy in Sweden—assessed by the Prescribed Drug Register and the Medical Birth Register. Clin Epidemiol. 2011;3:43–50.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Seto A, Einarson T, Koren G. Pregnancy outcome following first trimester exposure to antihistamines: meta-analysis. Am J Perinatol. 1997;14:119–24.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Weber-Schoendorfer C, Schaefer C. The safety of cetirizine during pregnancy. A prospective observational cohort study. Reprod Toxicol. 2008;26:19–23.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Gilboa SM, Strickland MJ, Olshan AF, et al. Use of antihistamine medications during early pregnancy and isolated major malformations. Birth Defects Res A. 2009;85:137–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Lis-Swiety AD, Brzezinska-Wcislo LA. The safety of the antihistamines in dermatoses of pregnancy. Wiad Lek. 2006;59:89–91.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Kroumpouzos G, Cohen LM. Dermatoses of pregnancy. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2001;45(1–19):19–22.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Shornick JK, Black MM. Secondary autoimmune diseases in herpes gestationis (pemphigoid gestationis). J Am Acad Dermatol. 1992;26:563–6.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Al-Fares SI, Jones SV, Black MM. The specific dermatoses of pregnancy: a re-appraisal. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2001;15:197–206.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Aronson IK, Bond S, Fiedler VC. Pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy: clinical and immunopathologic observations in 57 patients. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1998;39:933–9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Murray JC. Pregnancy and the skin. Dermatol Clin. 1990;8:327–34.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Roger D, Vaillant L, Fignon A. Specific pruritic diseases of pregnancy. A prospective study of 3192 pregnant women. Arch Dermatol. 1994;130:734–9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Black MM. Prurigo of pregnancy, papular dermatitis of pregnancy, and pruritic folliculitis of pregnancy. Semin Dermatol. 1989;8:23–5.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Dahdah MJ, Kibbi AG. Less well-defined dermatoses of pregnancy. Clin Dermatol. 2006;24:118–21.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Vaughan Jones SA, Hern S, Nelson-Piercy C. A prospective study of 200 women with dermatoses of pregnancy correlating clinical findings with hormonal and immunopathological profiles. Br J Dermatol. 1999;141:71–81.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Dacus JV. Pruritus in pregnancy. Clin Obstet Gynecol. 1990;33:738–45.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Bierman SM. Autoimmune progesterone dermatitis of pregnancy. Arch Dermatol. 1973;107:896–901.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Alcalay J, Ingber A, Hazaz B. Linear IgM dermatosis of pregnancy. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1988;18:412–5.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Federation of Obstetric & Gynecological Societies of India 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sumit Kar
    • 1
  • Ajay Krishnan
    • 1
  • Poonam Varma Shivkumar
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Dermatology, Venereology & LeprosyMahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (MGIMS)Sevagram, WardhaIndia
  2. 2.Department of Obstetrics and GynaecologyMahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (MGIMS)Sevagram, WardhaIndia

Personalised recommendations