- What Are Pregnancy Skin Tags?
- How Are Skin Tags Different from Warts?
- Skin Tags During Pregnancy
- What causes them
- What you can do about them
- What solutions are off-limits
- More About Your Skin During Pregnancy
- Skin Tags During Pregnancy
- Why You May Get Skin Tags During Pregnancy
- What You Should Know About Skin Tags
- Are Skin Tags a Red Flag for Other Health Problems?
- When to Talk With Your Doctor
- 6 skin problems that can develop during pregnancy
- ‘Mask of pregnancy’ and linea nigra
- Stretch marks
- Skin tags
- Cholestasis of pregnancy
- Melanoma during pregnancy: What it means for you and your baby
- Pregnancy can cause weird skin changes, so what’s normal and when should you worry?
- Just one of many odd pregnancy symptoms
- Common skin changes in pregnancy
- When to talk to a dermatologist
What Are Pregnancy Skin Tags?
Pregnancy changes your body in many ways besides producing your baby bump. Changes to your skin alone may be longer than your list of food cravings. While most women know to expect some skin conditions like stretch marks and spider veins, the development of pregnancy skin tags might be a surprise.
What Are Pregnancy Skin Tags?
A skin tag is a small growth of skin that appears on the skin surface or dangles from a thin stalk just off the body. They are tiny and usually measured in just a few millimeters — a fraction of an inch. A skin tag is usually skin-colored or somewhat darker and could be unsightly if it surfaces in an obvious place, like on your face or neck. Annoying as they might be, skin tags aren’t dangerous.
Likely places for pregnancy skin tags to develop are the face and neck, particularly on the sides; the upper chest, including beneath or between the breasts; the underarms; and around the groin.
Though exact numbers aren’t known, they seem to be prevalent in pregnant women who had and didn’t have skin tags before their pregnancy. In other words, pregnancy skin tags can appear on a woman simply because she is pregnant, but women who already have them may find that they multiply during pregnancy. They might also increase in size. Most of this activity takes place during the second half of pregnancy.
In the general population, skin tags develop in about a quarter of all people. They are more likely in those who are over 50, overweight, or have diabetes, and are often in places where skin rubs against skin, creating friction, like the underarms, and in natural folds of the body, such as the creases of the eyelids.
Possible Causes of Pregnancy Skin Tags
While skin tags in the general population may be explained due to some connection with diabetes or being overweight, their link to pregnancy is less clear. Popular theories about pregnancy skin tags center on the ramp-up of hormones as a possible cause. These hormones may, in some way, stimulate the hyperactive growth of certain cells in the top layer of skin.
Another idea suggests that pregnancy skin tags are due to a combination of hormonal activity and the excessive friction or rubbing of skin that the extra weight of pregnancy causes, especially since pregnancy skin tags appear in the later stages of pregnancy when women gain more of their baby weight.
Pregnancy Skin Tag Treatments
Unless the skin tags are dangling and getting irritated by clothing or more friction, you won’t experience any symptoms, and your doctor will probably suggest waiting until after baby is born to decide on how to deal with them. Some pregnancy skin tags will disappear on their own after you deliver.
If not, they can be removed easily by your dermatologist. Snipping the stalk of a dangling skin tag is so quick a procedure you might not need anesthesia. Freezing is another fast treatment option.
The glow of pregnancy may not be the only skin change you’ll notice when you’re expecting. But when it comes to the less desirable effects of pregnancy, the bright side of skin tags is that they can be quickly treated when you start to reclaim your pre-pregnancy body.
Some home remedies include dabbing them with apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil or vitamin E oil. Care must be taken when using any of these treatments without your doctor’s permission.
The final option is laser removal, where a high-intensity beam of light is used to burn the skin tags off your body.
Please note that unless the skin tag is causing you discomfort your doctor might refuse to treat you for them during the pregnancy.
Skin tags cannot be prevented. However, if their appearance is linked to obesity, losing some weight might provide some relief. Please be extra careful when attempting cardio during pregnancy, and never do it without the explicit permission from your doctor.
How Are Skin Tags Different from Warts?
Skin tags and warts are different in a few ways:
- Warts are coarser and less regular in shape, whereas skin tags are usually soft and smooth.
- Skin tags are not contagious, that is they remain localized to specific areas of skin. On the other hand, warts can easily spread to multiple areas on the skin.
- Skin tags are loose and hang from the skin, while warts are flattened and positioned close to the surface of the skin.
Skin tags can develop at any stage during your pregnancy, but they are completely natural and only cause cosmetic irritation. Attempting to remove them during pregnancy might be dangerous and is usually fruitless as they tend to come back anyway. The best course of action is to wait for your child to be born before trying to rectify them.
Also Read: Migraines During Pregnancy: How to Deal With it?
Skin Tags During Pregnancy
If you’ve noticed any small, soft, flesh-colored growths pop up since your belly popped out, they may be skin tags. These excess skin growths usually appear on skin surfaces that are hot, moist or frequently rubbed, including the folds of your neck, armpits, torso, beneath your breasts or in the genitals. The good news: They’re completely benign.
What causes them
Skin tags are caused by hyperactive growth of your outer layer of skin. They’re most prevalent in older people (especially women) and expectant mothers, probably spurred on by hormonal changes (and you’ve got plenty of those going on right now). They aren’t painful unless they become twisted, irritated or inflamed (for example, if clothing or jewelry rubs against them).
What you can do about them
Unfortunately there’s nothing you can do to prevent skin tags (just try to focus on the miracle that’s happening inside your body rather than the minor weirdness that’s happening outside!). Once you’ve given birth, your skin tags will probably disappear — though if not, they can easily be removed by a dermatologist after delivery. Methods include freezing them with liquid nitrogen, cauterizing them or cutting them off with scissors. (It takes only a second, really!) After you give birth, you can try using topical creams like wart removers, which disintegrate the stalks that keep the tags attached to your body.
Sensitive Skin During Pregnancy
What solutions are off-limits
Steer clear of plant- or chemical-based wart or skin tag removers (at the dermatologist or over-the-counter) during pregnancy. While some of these products may indeed be all-natural, there’s always a potential problem when foreign substances penetrate your skin.
More About Your Skin During Pregnancy
Your Health Skin Changes During Pregnancy Your Health Pregnancy Acne Your Health Melasma (Mask of Pregnancy) Your Health Skin Changes During Pregnancy Your Health Pregnancy Acne Your Health Melasma (Mask of Pregnancy)
Skin Tags During Pregnancy
Some pregnant women develop tiny polyps, called skin tags, in areas where skin rubs on clothing or skin rubs together. Commonly found under the arms, between neck folds, or under bra lines on the chest, skin tags are caused by hyperactive growth of a superficial layer of skin.
Skin tags which appear during pregnancy usually disappear a few months following delivery, but can be easily excised if they bother you.
Skin tags are one of the many skin changes that you may notice during pregnancy. They can appear at any point during pregnancy, but they are more common during the second and third trimesters. One thing to keep in mind is that skin tags are a natural part of pregnancy, and they are no cause for alarm.
Skin tags are soft, small polyps that protrude slightly from your skin. They generally have a rounded head and a thinner strip of skin connecting them to your body. They can either be flesh-colored or darker than the rest of your skin, depending on where they are located.
Skin tags are most frequently located in areas where your clothes rub against your skin or your skin rubs against itself.The most common places that skin tags appear include under your arms, between neck folds, under your bra straps and in the genitals.
During pregnancy, your increased hormone levels cause hyperactive growth of a superficial skin layer. This layer of skin is very easily irritated and pulled loose, which is what causes the skin tags.Most skin tags will disappear on their own either four months after pregnancy or four months after you cease breast-feeding. In rare cases, the skin tags will remain after that time period has passed. However, a visit to your dermatologist will take care of them quickly. Dermatologists have several ways of removing skin tags after your pregnancy, including freezing them with liquid nitrogen and cutting them off with scissors. Topical creams are also available by prescription, and can be used after your pregnancy.
Albina Glisic /
That beautiful baby may not be the only thing that came with your pregnancy—if you’re like many women, you’re experiencing a few unwanted skin tags. Here’s what you need to know about this harmless but less-than-aesthetic skin condition.
What Are Skin Tags?
Tiny pieces of hanging skin that develop in folds or in areas where skin rubs against skin or clothing. They typically appear along the eyelids, neck, underarms, under the breasts, and in the groin. Our health experts say skin tags are completely harmless, but they can become irritated by friction, which happens most often in the armpit or groin.
- RELATED: 5 Skin Problems During and After Pregnancy
What Causes Skin Tags?
Skin tags can appear at any time and are largely hereditary. Increased hormones during pregnancy, as well as hormonal fluctuations while nursing, also can cause them, says Diane Berson, M.D., a dermatologist in New York City. In some cases, women may develop skin tags in their groin or on their abdomen while pregnant but not notice them until after their baby is born.
How to Remove Skin Tags
Skin tags don’t disappear after your baby arrives, but they can be easily removed in a routine office visit to your physician or dermatologist. Depending on their size and number, they can either be snipped off with scissors, frozen with liquid nitrogen, or burned off with an electric needle. Just be aware that after skin tags are removed, new ones can appear. As Berson says: “If you’re prone to getting them, you have the potential to develop more.”
- By Kimberly Tchang
Why You May Get Skin Tags During Pregnancy
Although skin tags may disappear after you give birth, do not be alarmed if they decide to stick around. In this case, you may seek multiple treatment options to safely remove them.
The following treatments require a visit to the doctor’s or dermatologist’s office for removal. For larger skin tags and skin tags on your face or other sensitive skin, always see your doctor, and do not try to remove these at home.
- Excision. This procedure involves physically snipping or cutting the skin tag off with scissors or a scalpel. If the skin tag is particularly big, stitches may be required.
- Cauterization. With cauterization, the skin tag can be removed by burning the tag with high levels of heat or electrical energy.
- Cryosurgery. Similar to cauterization, cryosurgery allows for the freezing and removal of the skin tags using liquid nitrogen.
During pregnancy, it is important to avoid harsh treatments or chemicals that may be absorbed into the skin. The following treatments can be done safely at home to attempt to naturally dry out the skin tags.
- Apple cider vinegar. The drying properties of apple cider vinegar are due to its acidic nature. This may be beneficial in drying out skin tags, which will allow them to fall off. Using a soaked cotton swab to target only the skin tag can minimize the risk of burns.
- Tea tree oil. Another popular skin treatment is tea tree oil, which has antifungal and antibacterial properties. With the ability to help reduce inflammation, it may be a great spot treatment for a skin tag that has been snagged or irritated.
- Garlic. Garlic has anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties. While there is no scientific proof, people have reported success removing skin tags by placing a small amount of fresh garlic or fresh garlic juice on a skin tag and covering it with a clean bandage each day until the skin tag falls off.
As mentioned, skin tags are relatively painless, benign growths. However, if they become painful, infected, or if you are just concerned that your skin tags may be something else, be sure to visit your doctor. They can help to ensure a proper diagnosis and treatment.
You may also want to avoid using products that contain vitamin A during pregnancy. While very rare, vitamin A has been linked to problems with a developing fetus.
What You Should Know About Skin Tags
Are Skin Tags a Red Flag for Other Health Problems?
Some experts believe that skin tags could be a sign of another health condition that may need treatment, particularly if the skin tags appear relatively quickly and are numerous. See your doctor regularly to check for the following conditions that may occur with skin tags:
Metabolic syndrome. This condition is a combination of factors that increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other health problems. Someone with metabolic syndrome has at least three of these risk factors: high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high triglycerides, low HDL (“good” cholesterol), or obesity, especially extra fat in the belly area.
Obesity. People who are very overweight often have skin tags. That may be because their skin has extra folds where tags can grow. Skin tags are also common in people who have high levels of fats in their blood (hyperlipidemia).
Insulin resistance and diabetes. Skin tags occur much more often among those with insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance means that the body makes insulin but does not use it properly. Over time, insulin resistance can lead to high blood sugar levels (prediabetes) and type 2 diabetes.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). This condition causes women to have irregular menstrual periods and high levels of androgens (male hormones). PCOS also causes small cysts to form on the ovaries. Symptoms vary, but skin tags may be a warning sign in some women.
- Pregnancy. Skin tags are one of many skin changes that are common during pregnancy. These harmless growths may disappear after giving birth.
When to Talk With Your Doctor
Be sure to keep a close eye on any skin tags. Talk with your doctor about any skin tag or growth that:
- Appears to be spreading
- Feels rough
- Has an irregular shape
- Looks multicolored
- Seems to be getting bigger
Was this helpful? (654) Medical Reviewers: William C. Lloyd III Last Review Date: 2018 May 12
© 2019 Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. The content on Healthgrades does not provide medical advice. Always consult a medical provider for diagnosis and treatment. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the Healthgrades User Agreement.
6 skin problems that can develop during pregnancy
You’re well into pregnancy, so where’s that “pregnancy glow” you’ve heard about? Instead of bright, radiant-looking skin, you might look more like a pimple-faced teenager. Maybe dark splotches have popped up on your face. Or perhaps you’re itchy from a rash that has sprung up around the stretch marks on your belly.
Pregnancy can bring about many strange symptoms, and your skin is not immune to the hormone changes you’re experiencing. Fortunately, while annoying, most of these conditions are harmless and will subside after you give birth.
Let’s take a look as some of the most common skin problems that pop up during pregnancy and how to manage them. We’ll also discuss one serious condition of which to be aware.
‘Mask of pregnancy’ and linea nigra
Both of these benign conditions are the result of increased pigmentation caused by a surge of pregnancy hormones. Melasma, also known as the “mask of pregnancy,” causes dark splotches to appear on your face, often on the nose and cheeks. Linea nigra is a dark line that can form between your belly button and pubic area during pregnancy.
If you experience either of these, you’re not alone. Nearly 75 percent of pregnant women will have the mask of pregnancy, and 90 percent will notice linea nigra.
This increase in pigmentation can affect any area of your body that is more pigmented. Many women, for example, report much darker freckles or areolas than normal. And the darker your skin tone, the more you may notice these changes.
You can’t totally prevent these conditions, but using a good sunscreen, especially on your face, can help reduce the effects. Don’t worry – you won’t be stuck with these changes forever. Most should fade after you give birth. Melasma sometimes doesn’t go away, but a dermatologist can treat it with medication after pregnancy.
Almost every pregnant woman will get stretch marks, which are reddish streaks that run down your breasts or belly. They’re more likely to appear if you gain weight rapidly, so follow your doctor’s recommendation regarding weight gain. However, getting stretch marks sometimes just comes down to genetics.
After birth, your stretch marks should turn a less-obvious silver or white color. You can try to prevent stretch marks by keeping your skin moisturized with cocoa butter or lotion. If you’re tempted to try an herbal remedy, talk to your doctor first.
Many of my patients complain about this during pregnancy. All those hormones in your body can cause oil glands to secrete more oil, causing breakouts.
Try cleaning your face with an over-the-counter-face soap in the morning and evening. Most over-the-counter topical treatments are safe in pregnancy, but if you have any concerns about a certain product, you can ask your doctor. There are a few topical prescription medications we can try during pregnancy, but your acne should get better after your baby is born.
These small, loose, harmless growths of skin can appear anywhere on your body during pregnancy, but most commonly pop up under the arms and breasts. Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do to prevent them, but they can easily be removed after pregnancy if you want.
Itchy rashes are common during pregnancy. PUPPPs, pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy, is the most common pregnancy rash. These itchy, red patches spring up around stretch marks – usually toward the end of pregnancy when your belly is stretched the most – and can spread to the arms, legs, and buttocks.
This condition is harmless, but I know from experience it can be annoying. PUPPPs will go away after you give birth, but don’t feel like you need to suffer through it until then. We can give you a steroid cream that will relieve the itching and prevent it from spreading. This cream is safe for you and your baby.
Cholestasis of pregnancy
There are times you shouldn’t ignore itchy skin. Cholestasis of pregnancy is a liver disease that results from high amounts of pregnancy hormones affecting the normal flow of bile in the gallbladder.
This condition occurs in the third trimester and can cause severe itching over the whole body. It’s often worse on the palms and soles of the feet and causes patients to feel miserable and be unable to sleep. Cholestasis of pregnancy also may be accompanied by jaundice (a yellow discoloration of the skin and eyes).
A simple blood test can verify if you have cholestasis of pregnancy, and oral medication may treat it. Delivery also cures it, so we may recommend inducing labor when you are closer to your due date.
Your body goes through immense changes during pregnancy. Most skin conditions are more annoying than anything. But tell your doctor about your symptoms to rule out anything serious – and to find potential relief!
Melanoma during pregnancy: What it means for you and your baby
So many changes happen to your body during pregnancy that it can be easy to dismiss a growing mole. You shouldn’t. Melanoma, the deadliest skin cancer, can begin during pregnancy.
Being pregnant doesn’t seem to increase the risk. It’s just that this skin cancer develops during a woman’s child-bearing years. Today, more women between the ages of 20 and 40 are getting melanoma.
Pregnancy: No reason to delay melanoma testing
It’s safe to get tested for melanoma while you’re pregnant. Your dermatologist will perform a skin biopsy to test you.
During a skin biopsy, your dermatologist will give you a local anesthetic, which is safe to have during pregnancy. This numbs the area so that your dermatologist can remove the suspicious spot — or part of it.
While this test is safe during pregnancy, you should still tell your dermatologist that you’re pregnant. Knowing will allow your dermatologist to take necessary precautions if other tests or treatment is needed.
If the spot is melanoma, the earlier this cancer is found and treated, the better the prognosis for you and your baby. Melanoma can spread quickly.
See a dermatologist if you notice any changes
Does one mole look different from the rest? Is a spot on your skin growing, bleeding, or changing in any way? Even while pregnant, it’s essential to see a dermatologist if you notice any changes.
Melanoma can be treated safely during pregnancy
When the cancer is caught early, a pregnant woman typically receives the same treatment as anyone else. In the early stages, treatment involves getting a local anesthetic so that your dermatologist can remove any remaining melanoma along with a section of normal-looking skin. This is the same anesthetic used during the skin biopsy, so it’s safe to have while you’re pregnant.
If the melanoma has grown deep, the cancer may have spread. Testing to find out becomes more difficult when you’re pregnant. Your dermatologist will explain the risks and benefits of the recommended testing.
Treatment options for advanced melanoma will be more limited. One treatment that may be suggested is interferon. Treating pregnant women who have advanced melanoma with injections of interferon appears to be safe.
Radiation treatments may also be an option, but these are usually limited to the head and neck. Giving a pregnant woman radiation therapy in the pelvic area can cause birth defects.
If the cancer spreads to the mother’s brain, treatment is usually performed without delay.
Can a baby be born with melanoma?
This is rare. Even when the mother has stage IV melanoma, meaning the cancer has spread and is in the most-advanced stage, a baby is rarely born with melanoma.
While rare, a baby can be born with melanoma. This cancer is one of the few cancers that can cross the placenta. If the mother has advanced cancer, the placenta can be checked for melanoma when the baby is born.
When melanoma is found in the placenta, the child should be under the care of a dermatologist, who can watch for signs of cancer.
Can a mother breastfeed if she had melanoma while pregnant?
If you had melanoma while pregnant and it was successfully treated, breastfeeding is usually fine.
If you are treating the melanoma after the birth of your baby, you should definitely check with your dermatologist or obstetrician before breastfeeding. Medicines pass into a mother’s milk. Some, like those used in chemotherapy, can be very harmful to your child.
Follow-up essential after having melanoma
Melanoma can return after treatment. If it does, it’s most likely to return within 2 to 3 years of your first treatment. It can return later, though. You also have a higher lifetime risk of getting another melanoma.
Your dermatologist will tell you how often you should return for follow-up appointments. It’s very important to keep these follow-up appointments. The sooner you find a returning or new melanoma, the better your prognosis.
Related AAD resources
Detect skin cancer
Learn how to examine your skin for signs of skin cancer by watching this video.
Body mole map
Download this document so that you can keep track of the size, shape, and location of your moles.
Basta P, Bak A, et al., “Cancer treatment in pregnant women.” Contemp Oncol (Pozn). 2015; 19(5): 354–360.
Leachman SA, Jackson R, et al. “Management of melanoma during pregnancy.” Dermatol Nurs. 2007;19(2):145-152,161.
Tellez A, Rueda S, et al. “Risk factors and outcomes of cutaneous melanoma in women less than 50 years of age.” J Am Acad Dermatol. 2016 Apr;74(4):731-8.
Pregnancy can cause weird skin changes, so what’s normal and when should you worry?
If Sheridan Hawkins ever falls pregnant again, her family and friends will be able to tell within weeks.
But it’s not the kind of baby bump you’d expect that will give her away — it’s what she affectionately terms her “pregnancy mole”.
During her pregnancy with her eldest daughter, Sheridan noticed a red mole appear on her upper lip.
“It’s very Cindy Crawford-esque,” she said.
“But it is red in colour, it isn’t glamorous and dark.”
“And as the pregnancy went on, it got bigger and bigger and people starting asking about it.”
Sydney mother Sheridan Hawkins had a red mole that appeared and grew during pregnancy and all but disappeared afterwards. (Supplied: Sheridan Hawkins)
Sydney mother Sheridan Hawkins had a red mole that appeared and grew during pregnancy and all but disappeared afterwards.
Supplied: Sheridan Hawkins
Close Sheridan Hawkins’s “pregnancy mole” shrank down to a small dot by about six weeks after her second baby was born. (Supplied: Sheridan Hawkins)
Sheridan Hawkins’s “pregnancy mole” shrank down to a small dot by about six weeks after her second baby was born.
Supplied: Sheridan Hawkins
Sheridan had the growth checked by a doctor, who explained it was a side effect of the increased blood flow in her body due to the pregnancy.
Sure enough, within a few weeks after giving birth, the mole had shrunk down to a tiny, red dot.
“And then, what do you know, second pregnancy, it started to build — quicker this time. It was one of the first things I noticed,” Sheridan said.
“I thought oop, there you go, we’ve got the pregnancy hormones kicking through the body.”
Sheridan said if she ever went back for baby number three, she wouldn’t need to do a pregnancy test.
“I’ll absolutely know, it’ll come back. And that’s actually one of the reasons I don’t really want to get pregnant again,” she said jokingly.
“It’s pretty unsightly, right there on my lip.”
Just one of many odd pregnancy symptoms
Pregnancy hormones can cause all sorts of changes to your skin, but just because they seem strange doesn’t mean they’re uncommon, Benjamin Daniel, a dermatologist at St Vincent Hospital Melbourne, said.
The hormones’ effect on blood flow are behind most common skin changes, such as the “glow” pregnant women are often said to have, and the fact some expectant women grow thicker, more plentiful hair.
But they can also have less desirable effects.
“A lot of women also get varicose veins or they get haemorrhoids or bruising because of the increased pressure in their capillaries and veins,” Dr Daniel said.
“Some women also get spider nevi, which are these tiny little dilated blood vessels, which look like spiders because they have arms on them and they typically happen on the face, arms and chest.
“But most of those regress within three months of giving birth.”
Many women have pigmentation changes in pregnancy, including a dark line along the belly. (Unsplash: Chayene Rafaela)
Many women have pigmentation changes in pregnancy, including a dark line along the belly.
Unsplash: Chayene Rafaela
Oestrogen and progesterone increase during pregnancy and contribute to many of the symptoms women experience, but an increase in melanocyte-stimulating hormone is behind some of the pigmentation changes women notice.
Some women’s freckles and moles get darker, some see pigmentation change around the armpits, nipples and genitals, and some get a symmetrical pattern of darkening or lightening on their cheeks, forehead, upper lip and chin called melasma.
Common skin changes in pregnancy
- Melasma: symmetrical pigmentation changes on the face
- Linea nigra: a dark line on the belly
- Skin tags
- Burst capillaries and varicose veins
- Dilated blood vessels, sometimes called spider nevi
- Small, round, red skin growths called pygenic granulomas
- Infections such as thrush
- Itching, which can be caused by the skin stretching or eczema, or less commonly by liver or kidney problems
- Stretch marks
Then there’s the dark line, or linea nigra, many women develop on their bellies. Again, most of these changes fade back to normal, or close to it, within a few months of giving birth.
Another factor at play is a pregnant woman’s immune system, which changes to stop her body rejecting the foetus. But how this plays out varies from person to person.
“We see some diseases actually flare up during pregnancy, like lupus or eczema. But then there’s other conditions that improve,” Dr Daniel said.
For example, more than half of women with psoriasis find the condition eases during pregnancy, he said.
Cell-mediated immunity, which helps the body defend itself against infections, decreases in pregnancy, increasing a woman’s risk of infections like thrush, cold sores and shingles.
Very rarely, women can develop an auto-immune condition called pemphigoid gestationis, which causes itching, hives and blisters on the belly and elsewhere around the body.
“The immune system attacks the glue that holds the skin together,” Dr Daniel said.
“The issue with this disease is that it’s really important to see a dermatologist early, because it may require biopsies and blood tests, and there’s an increased risk to the child as well as the mother.”
When to talk to a dermatologist
Not all strange skin changes in pregnancy are harmless.
“We know that melanomas can occur in pregnancy,” Dr Daniel said.
Look out for moles that become asymmetrical, develop an irregular border, change colour or change diameter, he said.
For women who are being treated for conditions that affect the skin, like psoriasis, acne or lupus, Dr Daniel recommended talking to a dermatologist before trying to conceive, because some medications used to treat skin diseases aren’t safe during pregnancy.
And for those who are already pregnant, keep an eye on your skin and don’t be shy about getting medical advice if there’s something you’re not sure about.
“If you do get a rash or blisters then you should definitely see your dermatologist so that you can get treated early and get to the right diagnosis,” Dr Daniel said.