Belly itch, bump itch, tummy itch, abdominal itching (that’s the doctors’ term): whatever you call it, it’s super-irritating. But it’s not usually serious – and there are things you can do to minimise that urge to scraaaaaatch!
Why does my baby bump itch?
As soon as your body starts to change shape, your skin begins to stretch, especially over your tummy. For some of us, the stretching can mean your skin gets drier than usual in those areas, and increasingly moisture-deprived skin can feel itchy and uncomfortable.
Hormonal changes can also dry your skin out, and you may find your skin feel itchy in other body areas, such as your hands or feet.
Is the itching anything to worry about?
Almost certainly not. Abdominal itchiness is a common, and annoying, pregnancy symptom but is generally nothing to worry about.
If, however, your itching is constant and/or spreads all over your body, or you get a serious-looking rash, it is important to mention it to your midwife or GP. There are a number of more serious pregnancy conditions that start with intense itching, including PUPP (pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy), prurigo, impetigo herpetiformis and obstetric cholestasis.
What can I do to soothe the itch?
Well, the number-1 tip is: don’t scratch. Easier said than done, we know, but the more you scratch, the more irritated your skin’s likely to get.
You could try using an anti-itch cream that’s safe to use in pregnancy, like calamine lotion (that pink stuff your mum put on your chicken pox spots) and you can also put oatmeal in your (warm) bathwater, to soothe your skin.
It’s also very soothing to spend a few minutes each day gently rubbing a moisturiser into your tummy (and other dry patches of skin). It is also a lovely way to get in touch with your bump, and can help ward off pregnancy stretch marks: check out how to do it here.
It’s fine to use your favourite lotions, creams and oil, as long as you check they’re safe for pregnancy use (avoid avoid brands containing urea, essential oils, salicylic acid or retinoids). Most high-street chemists, such as Boots, sell pregnancy-friendly body creams: ones containing vitamin E may be particularly good for itchy skin.