One of the issues that arise among new moms is postpartum hives. That is because new moms tend to take care of their babies more than they care about themselves. The hormonal changes after giving birth make it harder for the mothers to focus on themselves.
Now, what are hives? These are the bumpy rashes that develop on the skin as a result of an allergic reaction or extreme stress. There is a possibility that the condition can occur even if you don’t have any allergies, but these do not last very long and disappear quickly. New moms may not be familiar with the condition, but second-time moms would have some idea.
But that’s okay. We’ll explain it to you so you have a knowledge of what you’re going through and how you should cope with it.
What are Postpartum Hives?
The hives appear red or skin-colored, rash-like, and itchy and are seen on the back, arms, and feet. Due to hormonal changes, they appear commonly in women after delivery. However, they are also seen due to non-pregnancy-related reasons. When the body’s immune system and allergens (histamine) come into contact, an allergic reaction initiates in which the blood vessels dilate and causes an accumulation of fluid on the skin’s surface. These cause the formation of itchy rashes and inflammation.
Hives can appear in various shapes and sizes. They could be small as the appearance of dots or big as dinner plates. The hives can be seen in a variety of shapes. They can be irregular, oval, or worm-like.
We’ve discussed the basic appearance of hives, but they can vary in appearance. Postpartum hives can have the following appearance:
- Rashes can appear anywhere but mainly on legs, arms, back, neck, face, and chest.
- Big flat bumps, skin welts or skin patches
- Rashes can exhibit red, light pink, or skin color.
- The rashes or patches can turn white upon pressure
- The eczema-like appearance which is rough in texture.
- Itchy skin
Causes of the Postpartum Hives:
If you don’t usually get any hives and also don’t have any skin allergies, you’re more likely to recover quickly post-delivery. Some causes of the appearance of hives on your body are as follows:
As discussed before, hives occur due to allergic reactions caused by hormonal change or hormonal imbalance. It is not that you’re allergic to your child. It’s the possibility that pregnancy can worsen your pre-existing mild allergies. In fact, about 1/3rd of women suffer from worsened conditions, allergies, and asthma during pregnancy.
During pregnancy, your body goes through many changes, from physical to hormonal, and these changes can be the reason for your immune system acting up. During pregnancy, you also have cravings for various kinds of foods, which can bring about changes in your gut health and ultimately trigger allergic reactions. Your bodily changes can cause it to become sensitive to allergens like:
- Animal hair
- Bug bites
- Exposure to sun
- Certain foods or the consisting additives
As mentioned before, the body becomes more sensitive during and post-pregnancy. This can cause the body to immediately but temporarily react to infectious agents such as bacteria or viruses, resulting in postpartum hives. Any disease or condition you would have had during pregnancy, such as flu or cold, can leave behind the infectious agents or germs that act up after your baby’s birth when your immune system is relaxed.
There is also room for the possibility of developing infections in your private area which can be different types with the possibility of triggering postpartum hives. These can be as follows:
- UTI (urinary tract infection)
- Common cold
- Bacterial infections
- Viral infections
Slow Liver Functioning:
The liver has an extra burden during your pregnancy to filter out the waste and toxins, so once the baby is out, your liver functioning slows down. This can ultimately result in an imbalance of the liver enzymatic activity and cause the waste to remain in the blood.
This can lead to the appearance of hives or skin rashes. Other symptoms that can indicate the slow functioning of the liver may be as follows:
Although possible postpartum hives due to slow liver functioning are not common, on average, the condition occurs in about 1 in 200 women who are usually first-time moms.
Other reasons that we can link postpartum hives to are:
- Blood transfusions
- Lack of sleep
- Panic attacks
- Diet changes
- Exposure to sun
- Tight clothing
- Physical activities (exercising)
What are the Treatment Methods:
You must be thinking that since you’re suffering from postpartum hives, how should you cope with it or how should you treat it. We will let you know of the coping methods and home remedies for such conditions.
- Keep yourself hydrated and consume lots of water or fluids.
- Use topical application medications for the itching, but you should consult your doctor if they’re safe to use since you’re a breastfeeding mom.
- Use anti-allergic medicines such as steroid medicines, but again, consult your doctor for the precautions
Natural remedies that you can try at home to soothe the itchiness can be:
- A lukewarm or cool bath
- Relax yourself by taking a nap
- Use of aloe vera gel
- Use of natural lotions like shea butter
- Use a damp cloth to wrap the itchy area of the skin
- Opt for loose clothing which is breathable instead of tight ones which can worsen the itchiness
- If you’re allergic to anything like pollen or dust, it would be best to just avoid them as it could worsen your current condition.
- You can use apple cider vinegar and apply it on the skin to relieve inflammation due to its anti-inflammatory properties to soothe the infected area.
- You can soak some oatmeal in a bath of lukewarm water as it also has anti-inflammatory properties.
When Should you Consult the Doctor?
Generally, you should consult your doctor the moment you feel the symptoms showing up. Still, in case the symptoms are serious or if you think it’s more than just the post-partum hives, you should seek medical attention immediately. Some serious symptoms can be as follows;
- Breathing difficulty
- Facial swelling like lips or throat
If the hives don’t disappear within a few days, you should see your doctor and inform him about yourself. There is room for the possibility of the hives occurring due to underlying reasons that need medical attention. You should consult the doctor even if they appear just once because it may not be just postpartum hives, and the reaction may be due to something else.
Postpartum hives can appear after your baby’s birth due to hormonal imbalance, which can be itchy and uncomfortable. You should tell your doctor about their appearance and visit for a proper check-up to confirm that they’re temporary hives. Although they’re harmless to you and your baby since they’re non-contagious, they could still be uncomfortable and irritating for you due to the itchiness of the skin.
Make sure you’re hydrated to reduce the chances and take care of yourself and not just your baby. If you’re healthy, both mentally and physically, you will be able to take better care of your little bundle of joy!