Dear mama with PUPPP rash,
Firstly, I want to tell you that I am so sorry this is happening to you. There is really nothing I can say to make the itching stop but trust me when I say I know how you feel right now. There is nothing worse than being awake half of the night because you cannot stop scratching! No matter how tired you are and you lay there awake thinking.. will I ever sleep through the night again?
Which brings me to the second thing I want to tell you.. You are NOT alone! Before my rash started, I had never heard of Pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy (PUPPP), let alone ever met anyone who had it. It was only once I started looking it up online in my desperation that I came across any kind of information, help or support.
My PUPPP rash started when I was about 32 weeks pregnant with our third baby, our first boy. It started across my chest and I thought perhaps it was just a heat rash. This went on and on and suddenly it started to spread. It covered my chest, my arms, my legs, my back, my bum..actually it covered literally my whole body except my belly surprisingly!! I was in agony. There were days I couldn’t even leave the house because honestly? I couldn’t bear to wear clothes. When the fabric touched my skin it was like being lit on fire or being covered in ants. I cannot tell you how many creams, oils, ointments, soaps I tried to no avail. I was desperate and I was exhausted. I cried everyday for weeks on end praying for some sort of miracle to intervene. I prayed for early labor. Nothing. I would go to bed at 9pm and scratch myself raw or until I would bleed and when I couldn’t take it anymore I would get out of bed…at 11pm, 1am. 3,4,5am you name it. I prayed day would come so I could just get on with things and pretend like nights didn’t exist. Those days were really hard. I would get into the tub or shower and look at my body and all I could see was rash. Bright red, raw, angry skin all over me and I felt ugly. I didn’t feel like myself when I looked in the mirror and it was such a cross. All I wanted was to feel beautiful and glowing with my growing belly but I just felt exhausted and shitty to tell the truth. I prayed day and night for our baby to come early, to come on time and then just ..now! anytime now! But our little guy just wasn’t ready and he went nearly a full two weeks past his due date.
I’m not trying to sell you anything. I don’t have a solution because there really isn’t one. Each woman’s body is different. I tried so.many.things. to make the rash go away or at least give me some relief if only for an hour. Here is what worked for me..usually I would have a hot shower or bath once or twice a day and slather myself up with one of the many creams I tried..PUPPP rash prescription cream seemed to help but I found it a little greasy on my skin. The other thing I discovered online and tried because I was desperate was dandelion root capsules. I bought them at a health food store and I took 2 capsules 3 times a day. This wasn’t until nearly the very end of my pregnancy but I will say that within four days of taking them my skin started to heal..it scabbed up which was also itchy but more of a dry itch and withing a week it was started to clear up a little.
There is hope! There is a beautiful baby waiting for you on the other side of this nightmare, I promise. Be encouraged! You are not alone. You are not crazy. You are not being punished. God did not give you this rash..but he is allowing it for whatever reason. Although a real cross to me, I can say that I have never grown in patience or empathy quite so much as when I had PUPPP. God has a plan in all of this and thankfully, that sweet baby is going to be so perfectly beautiful that it will wash away the disappointment and hurt you feel now. Our sweet Oliver is such a joy. He is nearly four months old and has blessed our home in so many ways.
…now here is the part I don’t want to add. My rash came back. I know you want to click away now but please don’t. My rash did clear up after Oliver was born but it recently has come back. I have one decent sized patch across my chest and under my breasts again but it’s not all over my body and it isn’t nearly as painful, raw or angry as it was last time. The marks on my legs are starting to fade and I might even wear shorts this summer! haha!
In the end, I just had to take it one day at a time. One hour at a time sometimes. Surround yourself with people who love you, will listen to you and just take care of yourself. Keeping busy helped me a lot..I found the itching was much worse at night and I think it was because I was so tired by the end of the day and I would put my guard down and scratch way more making it then harder to stop. Just know that you really are not alone and that I pray for you all the time, mama. Keep focusing on that sweet baby coming..and don’t feel you have to keep up appearances for anyone. Sometimes pregnancy just sucks and it’s hard, even if the growing baby is loved and wanted and an answer to prayers. What you feel right now matters and I hear you.
The only other thing that truly helped me during that time was truth. Having my husband pray with me and reading scripture. Here are some that helped me..I pray you are able to find some comfort in them, too.
Isaiah 41:10 fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.
1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.