TIP: Dealing with Postpartum PUPPPs (Skin Rash)

Otherwise known as Pruritic Uticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy, this is a severely itchy and painful skin rash that typically affects pregnant women. Lucky for me, I experienced this AFTER I delivered Leah (not before) and boy, was it awful! I can’t even describe how terrible was and how frustrating it was to suffer from this at the same time I was trying to adjust to being a new mom. To give you an idea, it is often compared to chicken pox or poison ivy. I looked up and tried a lot of different remedies including Black Tar Soap, Seabuckthorn Ointment, 0.5% Hydrocortisone Ointment and ice packs. I had these itchy bumps on my stomach, up and down my legs and some even appeared on my upper arms. The rash appeared on my stretch marks and somehow, from all the scratching, even more stretch marks appeared where I had the rash. SIGH.

Of everything I tried, the most effective treatment I found was constant moisturizing of my skin and ice packs. Because I was breastfeeding I couldn’t take antihistamines. It was particularly bad at night so I was in agony during the night time feeds. During these times, I would cool down my burning rash with an ice pack in a pillowcase. It offered a bit of relief but I still scratched like mad. It was so bad that I had bloodstains on my sheets and clothes. I have a new appreciation for women who endured this during their pregnancy… it is really agonizing. It only started to die down 3 months after she was born. Crazy! I hope none of you have to deal with this!

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  1. tracy’s avatar

    I had PUPP’s a few years back after having a c-section and my doctor gave me hormone meds to balance my hormones after having my daughter and it cleared everything up in about a week. My specialist said that it was an em-balance of my hormones since I had my daughter. He fixed it from inside out. You should check with your doctor. A friend of mine just went back on the pill and it helped clear it up. I don’t wish this on anyone. It was a nightmare.

  2. Collett’s avatar

    I have a real bad rash under my arms, and the only thing that’s working for me is baby bum cream. A thick layer, every night and every morning. I hope this helps x

  3. pam’s avatar

    I got this hideous rash at 34 weeks pregnant with my son. It was horrible enough to keep me from ever having more children. LOL Well guess what? I have it again and my son is now 15 and I’m not pregnant!!!! I feel like bawling as I lay here covered in diaper rash creme at the ripe old age of 42 wondering how my perimenopause hormones could have screwed me over like this??? At least last time I had a baby at the end of it…now I’ll probably grow a beard by morning. It seems as though I need to accept that my eggs are shrieking even as we speak, but I had no idea I would ever get this again. ;( ;(

  4. Hilary’s avatar

    I had PUPPS almost 6 years ago while pregnant with my twin girls. I still get symptoms a few weeks before my period that last about 2 weeks. The only area it still affects is under my feet. But, it itches like crazy every month. I am still suffering from this thing with no end in sight. Hang in there!

  5. Elm’s avatar

    I have PUPPs and have a 7 wk old. It came on about two weeks ago, it is just as miserable as people say. Tried pine tar soap and it gave me minimal relief, using pure Shea butter….no relief. Domesboro soaks help a little but it is spreading like a fire. Craziness, any other suggestions? I’m about to peel my skin off.

  6. adonia’s avatar

    I had PUPPS 3 1/2 yrs ago it was terrible. Witch hazel helped sooth it. But I still have a patch on my leg that gets itchy every 2 to 3 weeks.

  7. julieann’s avatar

    I have a horrible rash after my c-section 1-1/2 weeks ago. My doctor said taking Benedryl or Clariton is ok despite what you read on the web. Items you can not take at all while nursing due to reduced milk production would be Sudafed. But, there is no proof antihistamines affect the baby or milk production.

    The Benedryl is working, i can tell when it wears off every 4 hours and I start to flare up. I am also using a topical anti-itch gel used for Poison Oak/Ivy. Everytime I want to scratch, I lather this on and it is working.

  8. Emily’s avatar

    Much like everyone else, I had the exact same symptoms: Horrible, burning rash that continues to spread and nothing really alleviates the pain or seems to help!

    Within 4 days of giving birth, a rash that had started on my right arm – over a course of 3 days had spread to my left arm, back, legs, and stomach. Absolutely miserable! I did some research on my symptoms and was relieved to hear other women had experienced the same thing. Being a first time Mom there is enough anxiety, healing and changes going on…and to deal with a rash, that seems to be uncommon, added an unappreciated and additional stress. After deciding it was PUPPP that I was experiencing, I called my OBGYN regarding my self-diagnosis and was told it (PUPPP) needed to run it’s course and that it would take about 2-3 weeks to clear up – but getting a steroid shot would help and really the only thing for it. In addition, I was given Clobetasol Propionate Cream to apply to the worse areas because Cortizone 10 wasn’t doing the trick. Although the steroid shot helped my right arm, the rash was still aggressively getting worse 72 hours after getting it. Per recommendation of my OBGYN, I went back to the walk-in clinic doctor after the 72 hour mark, she then prescribed me: Methylpresdnisolone (steroid pack to take over 5 days), Ranitidine (antihistamine), and Hydroxyzine (used to treat itching/hives). Within the same day I could already tell a difference after my second trip to the doctor. In addition, I have Grandpa’s Pine Tar Soap on the way that I found on Amazon and plan to use that as well.
    At the end of the day, I would much rather be the one to endure the pain than to see my newborn go through any type of difficulty — but oh my word it is miserable. I hope any of the above medications help you out, too!

  9. Diana’s avatar

    I just started having this.Someone said something about low platelets, i was induced because of this.I think ot has somehing to do with with immune system.I will
    Get myself on an alkaline diet..so sad if I have to stop breastfeeding but O feel like my milk is actually makong my baby feel bad..crying irritable all the time, spitting up and he actually has kind of this rash aswell..I think I will actually help us both by stopping to breastfeed:’( So sad as he is only just over a month old.His big sister grew well on formula, but I had hopes for better for him.So scared of this..pupps as my liver osn’t best either due to 2 times preeclampsia as well as low platelet count.pfff I specifically wasn’t the right person for pregnancy but sonthankful for my kiddies.Will try DIM mateix pills as these help balance out hormones and allready got the dandelion root pills.Good lick everyone!

  10. Diana’s avatar

    Sorry for typo’s fat thumbs and small phone:)

  11. MeeMee’s avatar

    Diana…i have the exact same situation with my 5half wk old daughter. She seems so grizzly, vomits and has the same rash as I have, hers is all over face, ears and neck and mine is just on legs…i too wonder about taking her off breast, successfully breast fed my other 3 but she seems worse off…what did you do?? I have a blood condition – high faulty platelets so their may be a link to that x

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