This Woman’s Pregnancy Rash Is Nothing Short Of Terrifying

Women's Health |

By Nina Bahadur, Photography by Unsplash

Summer Stockton is sharing pictures of what happened the first time she got pregnant.

A mom from Australia experienced a pretty uncomfortable complication when she was expecting her first child—and she’s now sharing her experience along with some gnarly pictures.

Summer Bostock, a 29-year-old from Queensland, Australia, experienced pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy (PUPPP), also known as polymorphic eruption of pregnancy, or PEP, when she was pregnant with her first son Izaiah in 2011. PUPPP is a chronic, hives-like rash that the American Family Physician journal estimates one in 160 pregnant women will get. It’s incredibly itchy, but poses no long-term risk to mom or baby.

READ MORE: This Common Fear During Pregnancy Might Harm Your Child’s Health

Summer’s symptoms started when she was 30 weeks pregnant. She woke up to find her abdomen covered in what looked like stretch marks, then developed red, itchy rashes all over her body. Her doctor prescribed a soothing cream and a mild steroid, but the rash got worse.

“It was so, so itchy. I was in agony,” Summer told MailOnline. “I couldn’t even have showers, because the touch of the water against my skin was too much. I would vomit, the itching was so intense, and at night I couldn’t sleep, I’d just cling to [my husband’s] hands.”

Summer was admitted to the hospital when she was 37 weeks pregnant, and labour was induced a few days later. Her son was delivered by a Caesarean section after his heart rate dropped (a complication unrelated to PUPPP) and Summer’s rashes subsided just hours after Izaiah was born. Summer and her husband have since had two more children, but she hasn’t experienced PUPPP again.

READ MORE: This Pregnant Woman’s Facebook Post May Have Saved Her Baby’s Life

Doctors aren’t exactly sure what causes the condition, according to research from Stavanger University Hospital in Norway, but it usually happens during the third trimester of a woman’s first pregnancy or with twins, says Dr Mary Jane Minkin, who works at Yale-New Haven Hospital.

“It drives women nuts but it’s very benign,” she says. “We sometimes end up inducing labour because the mom is so uncomfortable.”

Another major issue with PUPPP is that it can be hard to diagnose, Minkin says, as sometimes docs are not positive exactly what type of rash the mother has. If you’re concerned you have PUPPP or that you might develop it, talk to your doc about working with a dermatologist throughout your pregnancy.

Looking for more pregnancy info? Did you know pregnancy can cause you to do this in your sleep? Plus, here’s the #1 risk of taking paracetamol during pregnancy.

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