Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Report an itch when you're pregnant

I disappeared from Topaz Mommy for a while back there! I've been busy going to and from St. Luke's Global for lab tests and consultations because I suddenly developed a strange itch all over my body in late March. At first, everyone assured me that itchy skin is what happens to pregnant women. Many people dismissed my concerns, especially since it's summer, and the heat and sweat can really aggravate any pregnant woman's discomfort.

But I've been pregnant twice before and while I have experienced itchiness as my skin stretched, my skin has never itched this much and this extensively. I was itchy from scalp to ankles. The itch was not on my skin actually but just underneath it, like a scratchy throat. It drove me crazy. I would lie awake at night, scratching away like mad, even crying. I thought I was going to go insane.

I changed soaps, shampoo, lotions. I went naked as much as possible since anything that touched my skin triggered the itch. The A/C units are on 24/7 so I'm scared to get the electric bill. I cut my nails super short. I dusted myself with cooling powder. I took cold showers twice a day sometimes. I scratched so much, I'm bleeding all over.

These are my legs. My poor, poor legs! I can't show you my tummy, my back and my breasts, but the scabs there are worse. I told a friend that my tummy and boobs look like the map of the London Underground. My husband is so alarmed. My sons Vito and Iñigo are alarmed. Vito applies boo-boo balm on my scabs while Iñigo kisses them.

Dr. Rebecca Singson, my OBG, thankfully, didn't dismiss my concerns. She said that there is a condition that affects pregnant women called intrahepatic obstetric cholestasis. Sometimes the liver becomes impaired by the pregnancy and instead of bile salts going from liver to the gut, it flows throughout the body instead. The bile salts build up and causes the severe itching. While this condition doesn't really affect the mother, other than driving her crazy from the itchiness, the condition affects the heart of the unborn baby. This can mean either a premature birth or, worst, a stillbirth.

Vince and I were terrified. Dr. Singson immediately ordered a battery of liver tests. Well, the tests came back normal. I'm fine. My liver is fine. But the itch remained. Clearly, something is not normal. Dr. Singson is still ruling out other possible causes (click here for a list of what can cause severely itchy pregnant skin) with more lab tests but so far, so good. We seem to be fine. So she told me to go on an all-natural diet—lots of fruit and veggies and homecooked meats, water only, no refined anything, no processed anything—since this is kindest on the liver. Vince told me to sleep, sleep, sleep since sleeping is when the body repairs itself. He insists, "Donya mode ka na! No more events unless advertiser. No more late nights working. Just rest!"

I've been praying so much because of this recent strange development. I don't know what to pray about since the lab tests say I'm fine! Finally, I just prayed that God heal my body from whatever it's suffering from that the lab tests can't find. I prayed especially for my little boy, whose heart beats so strongly inside me, that he be healthy and safe and to hang in there till he's good and ready to come out into the world. After a couple of weeks of praying and crying out to God, the itchiness has now dissipated. Thank You, God!

My liver tests say I'm A-okay.

We still don't know what happened there. Dr. Singson was never alarmed. She said I shouldn't worry because the lab tests say I'm fine, and even if the lab tests do say something is wrong, then there are ways to help me and the baby. Worrying will just add to my stress and stress is never good for me or the baby. So I pray a lot. I find that after I pray, my heart is assured and rested. Vince is still very worried, though. My heart is breaking for him. He says that until he holds his third son alive and well in his arms, he won't be released from the terror.

Please pray for me and Baby Chicken, dear mommies. I would really appreciate it if you cover us in prayer. I'll be 30 weeks pregnant this week. Just a little more waiting and then we'll finally hold my new baby in our arms and see him and hear him and cuddle him. I want nothing more than a healthy baby at the end of all this waiting! Thank you for your prayers!


P.S. If you're pregnant and have an unbearable itch, bring it up with your medical practitioner. Insist on lab tests if your concerns are dismissed. Better to be safe than sorry. Read about this mom's sad story: "When an itch during pregnancy is a sign your baby is at risk."

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19 comments:

  1. I experienced the same thing, but I wasn't pregnant when I had it. The itchiness was just underneath the skin, no rashes at all. There were times it was so horrible, I just cried in utter frustration. Oddly though, only my arms and legs were itchy. My derma told me to stop using my soap and prescribed me medicine and lotions for it.

    I hope you and your baby will be fine, Frances. I will keep you both in my prayers.

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  2. Oh my! I feel you! I had perioral dermatitis when I was pregnant with my third son. He's a healthy 1yo now, so don't worry! Juicing helped (the green apple + cucumber + lemon + ginger + spinach combination worked best) and yes Vince is right, sleep a lot! Take care, Frances! Praying for you and baby chicken! Donya mode ka muna. All the best!

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  3. Aww! I hope everything will be ok, Mommy Frances. I hope baby chicken will be fine too. Prayers for both of you.

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  4. This happened to me during my second pregnancy. I was itchy from head to toe. I've spent so many nights lying awake just scratching my whole body. I know I consulted my OB about it and she gave me something for it (I just cannot recall what but an oral medicine). It went away on its own after a couple of weeks. Praying for you and your baby!

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    1. My OBG said steroids yan. But she didn't want to give me kasi tataba raw ako or yung baby. So I didn't take steroids, so sugat-sugat my whole body! =(

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  5. I'll be praying for you and your new baby, Frances! Don't worry and continue resting as much as you can. :)

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  6. The hardest part of being pregnant is not kwnowing what's happening inside your tummy. I feel for you, Frances! Praying for you and Baby Chicken, including Vince and the two boys, too!

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  7. Huhu, kawawang legs, Frances.

    Just like the commenter above (Aileen), I experienced this too but I wasn't pregnant. I'd wake up crying because it was driving me crazy.

    I can only imagine what it's like for you, being pregnant and all. Praying for you and your family!

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  8. Praying for you and your baby Frances. Take care and God bless you!

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  9. Thank you everyone so much! =D

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  10. Be healed in Jesus name,AMEN!

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  11. Maybe that is PUPPP? This would normally occur when you're carrying a baby boy! I had PUPPP with my 2nd daughter and the itch was just so crazy and the OBG was confused coz I was having a girl!!! I was also naked when I slept and I was so particular with fabrics. The silk and the bamboo cotton were my friends then. I was so crazy with the itch that I ended up taking oral steroids and the itch temporarily minimized but when I had to stopped the medication, the itch worsens!!! My tummy was horrible AS IN! I had a trouble sleeping because of the itch and the sweat and the heat would make it more more itchy! I feel for you! I tried Aveeno, Sebamed, Cethaphil, Johnsons lotions but they did not help. I googled what to do with the itch and I read that grandpa's soap was a miracle to other moms and so I started using that soap and the itch finally subsides and the scabs and the lesions minimized! AND this truly helps by avoiding fish, seafood, eggs, monggos, mangoes.

    I hope you will feel better soon.

    God bless,
    Macmac

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    1. That's what my OBG says, too, but I looked it up and my skin doesn't look anything like that naman! There's no rash, no bumps, no anything. Nagsusugat lang kasi kamot ako nang kamot. Plus, hindi na siya makati now. It was just crazy itchy for a month! Ngayon, wala na! Feeling ko talaga the prayers healed me! =)

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  12. And by the way, this happened to me as early as 20 weeks pregnant! So just imagine I had to suffer from those annoying itch for how many weeks as I only discovered the soap during my 35 weeks.. I can't imagine my tummy at that time! I had to switch from side to side when I sleep because I realized it would create a friction if I stay longer on that side coz of my greater weight. The itch started on my tummy down to my legs.

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  13. Sending love and prayers for you, baby chicken and the whole family, Frances! May God bless you all with good health always...

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  14. Hi Frances!

    You may want to meditate on Isaiah 53:5 over and over again. Declare victory over sickness.

    God bless

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  15. I had that too during my first pregnancy. I was maybe 30 weeks pregnant then. My OB said that it was caused by hormones, aggravated by heat. I put ice packs on itchy areas, tried not to scratch so much. I was asked to give up sweets also. I only used Mustela lotion and baby wash. It goes immediately away after giving birth. Hope this helps.

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  16. Thanks everyone =) I feel so much better na. Like I said in the post, after praying for two weeks, nawala na yung itch. Konti na lang =) But thanks so much pa rin for all the prayers!!!

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  17. It never hurts to be cautious.

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This is all pretty new to me so please feel free to share your mommy wisdom!