I am expecting my first baby in the next few months. For the past few weeks I have begun to experience a lot of itching on my legs. Sometimes it is so much that I end up scratching myself for two to three hours. Is this normal during pregnancy or should I be worrying about it? I am applying cocoa butter and baby oil. But these are not working. What else can I do to reduce the itching? Are there any medicines for this?



Some women have a smooth pregnancy, marked with glowing skin and smooth complexion. In the case of other women, pregnancy brings along some discomforts like nausea and itchiness. The latter is most noticeable around your stomach and breasts, where the skin is stretched to accommodate your growing baby and the changes your body is undergoing to postnatal nurturing.

This itchiness can be partially blamed on the increased production of the estrogen hormone during pregnancy. This hormone causes itchiness in the hands, palms, feet and even the legs. Once the production of estrogen normalises after the birth of your baby, this irritation will also go away.

You have not mentioned whether you have a dry skin condition or any other skin ailments, which could worsen in your present condition. If you suffer from dry skin throughout the year, then the itchiness might increase during pregnancy, though this is not the rule of thumb. I know of some women who had skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis, but they got relief from these conditions when they were expecting.

If you are experiencing itchiness exclusively during your pregnancy, then there are some simple steps you can take to get some relief. For instance, avoid taking hot baths, since these can dehydrate your skin. Opt for some mild, glycerine enhanced soap or body wash, which will not irritate the skin and use it in minimal quantities only. If you need to wash often, just use plain lukewarm water. After your bath, and before going to sleep, apply a mild moisturizer liberally.

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