Itchy Feet During Pregnancy

Itchy Feet During Pregnancy

25 Apr 2022 | 4 min Read

Sayani Basu

Author | 625 Articles

We’ve all experienced that annoying itchy feeling sometime in our lives and am sure you will agree that there is nothing more annoying than itchy skin. During pregnancy especially, some women experience an extreme case of itchy skin. 

There is nothing to worry about if the itching is mild as it is common during pregnancy, since the blood supply to the skin increases and the levels of certain chemicals in the blood increase when you are pregnant.  However, if the itching becomes severe, it can be a sign of a serious liver condition known as cholestasis.

Some parts of your body like the breasts and tummy may itch more since the skin around these areas stretch as the pregnancy progresses. Sometimes the itching is more on the feet during pregnancy. 

Here’s why your feet may feel itchy during pregnancy:

What Causes Itchy Feet During Pregnancy?

Some of the causes of itchy feet during pregnancy are:

  1. Hormonal skin changes: One of the primary reasons for itchy feet is the hormonal changes from your endocrine system.

Moreover, the immune system works differently during pregnancy. It temporarily increases or suppresses certain functions so that the baby can develop in the best way possible.

This combination of hormones and immune system changes can lead to skin conditions that may cause itchy feet.

You may also notice:

  • Small, itchy bumps resembling bug bites
  • Rash-like, itchy hives
  • Red itchy patches
  1. Nerve sensitivity: Due to changes in hormones, some expecting mums find their nerves to be sensitive during pregnancy. Therefore, sweating, wearing the wrong shoes, or just lying in your bed can make your feet itchy.
  1. Stretching of skin: Your feet bear the extra weight during pregnancy. The ligaments undergo some stretching as your pregnancy progresses. These can lead to an itching sensation.
  1. Psoriasis: Psoriasis leads to painful plaques on the feet and itching on the feet. Expecting mums who have had psoriasis before their pregnancy might have a flare-up during their pregnancy.

Perhaps the good news is that these skin conditions do not harm your baby and go away after your delivery.

Itching can be uncomfortable, and perhaps the most annoying thing you need to feel during pregnancy.

However, the cause for itchy feet could be a more serious condition like cholestasis.

Loose-fitting socks that are crafted from cotton will keep your itchy feet in comfort. | Image Source: freepik

Cholestasis – What Is It?

Although rare, cholestasis is a liver condition that shows up during the third trimester (if it occurs).

The pregnancy hormones induce liver dysfunction and result in a build-up of bile in the bloodstream and liver. This build-up leads to itching in specific parts, such as the hands or feet.

If not treated medically, the condition may even affect the developing baby. It can also increase the risk of premature birth, foetal distress, and even stillbirth.

Symptoms of Itchy Feet

As the name suggests, the main symptom of itchy feet is to experience itching on the soles of the feet.

However, it is recommended to consult a doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Severe itching
  • Itching that gets worse at night
  • Yellowish tinge to your skin or eyes (jaundice)
  • Dark urine
  • Grey or pale bowel movements
  • Intense pain on the right side of the upper abdomen
  • Nausea or upset stomach
  • White spots
  • Cracked and open areas
  • Blisters

These symptoms might also indicate cholestasis.

Treatment for Itchy Feet

Here are some remedies for itchy feet during pregnancy:

  • Ice packs: You can wrap ice packs in towels and apply them on your feet to help soothe itchy skin.
  • Try loose-fitting socks. Loose-fitting socks that are tailored to sartorial perfection from cotton will keep your itchy feet in comfort.
A foot massage can help relieve itchy feet during pregnancy. | Image Source: freepik
  • Foot massage: A foot massage might help distract your nerves and decrease itchiness. Stroke gently and avoid acupressure points on your feet, around your ankles, as some spots may stimulate uterine contractions.

You can also try a foot cream that deeply nourishes and hydrates your feet. This would refresh your feet and provide a cooling sensation. This might help soothe your itchy feet.

The extra weight of carrying a baby results in various foot-related conditions amongst pregnant mums. Hence, it is advisable to take extra care of your feet during this crucial time.

Try to wear shoes that have a comfortable footbed. This offers good blood circulation to the feet. Orthotics can offer extra support for the feet, enabling the distribution of weight uniformly.

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