New mum allergic to own baby

Pregnancy triggered rare condition in West Midlands mum


After giving birth, Joanne Mackie developed blisters and a rash so painful she couldn’t hold her newborn, and was told she was allergic to her new son.


Joanne, 28, had welts over her back, legs, arms and chest. A skin biopsy revealed she was suffering from Pemphigoid Gestationis, a rare skin disease that is thought to affect one in 50,000 pregnancy.

Pemphigoid Gestationis occurs when antibodies that work against normal body proteins develop during pregnancy.

“At first, when I was told I was allergic to my own baby I thought it was some sort of joke. But when it sank in I was totally devastated. It felt like my world had caved in,” said Joanne.

Joanne noticed the condition the morning after she gave birth, when she first breastfeed baby James. Her palms tingled and a red blotchy rash spread over her body the following day.

New mum Joanne had to be treated with strong steroids, and she was unable to hold her first baby for a month, leaving dad Robert, 37, to care for their son.

“It was such a heartbreaking time. I had to watch while my husband gave our son his first bath, and in those first few weeks when James cried I had to watch as my husband picked him up to comfort him instead of me,” Joanne said.

Now, 11 months on, Joanne’s skin is scarred from the blisters but the rash has disappeared.

It’s likely that Joanne and Robert won’t try for another baby in case the Pemphigoid Gestationis returns. “I have been told there is a 95% chance I will get this in my next pregnancy and this time the doctors say it could affect the baby. I am not sure I could put myself through it all again,” Joanne commented.


“But I have learned that a cuddle from your own child is the most precious thing in the world,” said Joanne. Yep, we agree with that, Joanne!

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