Postpartum hives: What are the causes and treatment?
After giving birth, you’ll definitely have your hands full with your little one. This can make it tricky to continue taking care of yourself and notice if things aren’t quite right. Something you may experience is postpartum hives. In this article, we’re telling you all about it.
This article includes:
- What are postpartum hives?
- What causes postpartum hives?
- When to seek medical advice & postpartum hives treatment
- How long do postpartum hives last?
- What medical treatment could be used for postpartum hives?
- Postpartum hives home remedies
- Postpartum hives breastfeeding
What are postpartum hives?
It’s quite common to experience postpartum hives after labour. It presents itself postpartum as an itchy skin rash. This can be red and bumpy too. Hives can actually occur at any time in life but are more common when the immune system has been compromised.
Signs of postpartum hives:
- Bumpy skin rashes (can be red, pink or skin coloured)
- Itchy rashes on the skin
- Raised bumps in clusters that go white with pressure
- Raised welts
- Flat bumps on the skin
If you notice these signs or other symptoms, you’ve likely got postpartum hives. You may be wondering, are postpartum hives contagious? The answer is no, the bumpy skin rash cannot be caught between people.
Speak to your doctor if you suspect you have hives. They may want to test to see if there is an underlying cause.
What causes postpartum hives?
There are many causes of postpartum hives. If you think it could be an allergic reaction, it’s important to try and identify what is causing the irritation. Once you know, you should try to avoid it if possible.
Stress can cause many changes in the body. For example, increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol can trigger physical changes in the body, such as knee pain postpartum. When you’re a new parent, it’s normal to feel more stressed. After all, you’ve got a new baby to care for, as well as yourself.
Additionally, a lack of sleep can cause you to feel more stressed and therefore trigger hives. To reduce stress, you can try to take some time for yourself and accept help from family and friends. Even if someone comes to watch the baby while you have a nice bath, even the smallest things may help. Some women experience hormone imbalances after pregnancy.
You may also find it useful to do some light exercise. Please take the advice of your doctor about exercising after birth. If you’ve had a c-section, you may be advised to wait a while to recover. You could also consider using postpartum essential oils.
Allergies are one of the common causes of postpartum hives. You may find that after pregnancy, you show signs of allergic reactions to things that you didn’t previously. This occurs due to hormonal fluctuations that continue after giving birth.
During pregnancy, your body’s immune system has to work harder. This is because your body is trying harder to maintain itself. This can lead to your body emitting signs of an allergic reaction, which can continue into the postpartum period.
There are many allergens that are more common than others. These common allergens can include dust, bugs, pollen, medication, chemicals, mould and more.
While it may be likely that you’re allergic to one of these, it could be something totally different. A doctor may wish to conduct some testing to identify the allergen causing your hives after pregnancy.
With a weaker immune system generally comes more illness. These illnesses can include the common cold or flu. In some cases, you may experience infections as a result of labour, such as urinary tract infections.
Infections such as these will likely require medical attention. You may be asked to complete a urine sample so the doctor can give you the most suitable antibiotics for bacterial infections.
If you do become ill after having a baby, you’ll need to try and rest as much as possible. Eating a balanced diet and having plenty of fluids will also help you to recover. Seek medical advice immediately if you become worried or cannot fight off an infection.
When to seek medical advice & postpartum hives treatment
Hives after pregnancy may actually go away on their own. However, you should inform your doctor if you do experience them. For some women, the hives may return, cause discomfort and then go again. You may need some medical treatments to fight them off.
Call a doctor immediately if you notice any of these signs too.
- Difficulty breathing
- Serious swelling in the body
- Feeling faint
- Feeling dizzy
How long do postpartum hives last?
The length of time that your postpartum hives may last depends on the cause. For example, if your hives are caused by an allergy, they may continue returning for a while.
Some new mums experience a postpartum rash for up to six weeks. You should inform your doctor in case there’s any treatment they can offer you.
What medical treatment could be used for postpartum hives?
Before taking medication for postpartum hives, you should seek advice from a doctor. This is particularly important if you are breastfeeding. You may be advised to use the following:
- Topical creams, such as steroid creams
Your doctor will decide on the most appropriate medication for your circumstances. Ensure you provide them with all the relevant information, including symptoms and whether you are breastfeeding.
Postpartum hives home remedies
Always seek advice from a healthcare professional before taking any medication for post-pregnancy hives. If you want to try and ease your symptoms at home, you could try these postpartum hives home remedies.
Take a bath
Ensure that the bath water is not too hot. Soaking in hot water may cause the postpartum itching to get even worse, which is not what you want. Instead, it’s recommended that you bathe in lukewarm water for the best results. Maybe you could grab a book to really help you relax.
Use fresh aloe vera gel on the affected area
Aloe vera is known for its soothing properties. Applying the gel to the skin’s surface may help relieve some itchiness. Aloe gel has a cooling effect.
Keeping the skin moisturised may help you to stop scratching. You must ensure that the cream is suitable for your skin type. A pharmacist can assist you with this.
Wear loose clothing
Most postpartum women will choose to wear loose clothing, especially after a c-section delivery. They can provide comfort, but they can also help to reduce the symptoms associated with postpartum hives.
You may also choose to try wearing wet wraps or a cold compress to control itching. Avoid harsh soaps when trying to treat hives postpartum. Before using any creams on the skin, check the list of ingredients for allergens.
Finding time to relax after giving birth can be tricky, but reducing stress may help ease your symptoms. If you’ve got family and friends offering to help, it’s a good idea to take them up on it.
Postpartum hives breastfeeding
Some women experience hive symptoms on their breasts, which could be due to breastfeeding. Hives typically affect the body in multiple places rather than just one. So, if you have itchiness and redness on the breasts, it may not be hives.
Symptoms of postpartum hives while breastfeeding can be caused by an allergic skin reaction, but it could also be something else.
Some women experience rashes simply due to breastfeeding. These skin rashes could be caused by sensitive skin or moisture being trapped between the baby and you. If you do notice a rash on your breast, seek medical advice. A trained professional can rule out any conditions and suggest the most appropriate treatment for you. Some women also experience postpartum carpal tunnel associated with breastfeeding.
We hope this article has been helpful regarding postpartum hives. There are many post-pregnancy changes that the body has to deal with. If you notice any kind of rash on the skin, you should seek medical advice from a doctor. They can offer you the most accurate information and provide treatment if necessary.
Hey there, I’m Abigail!
I recently graduated with a degree in Marketing. I’m currently a freelance blogger and Marketing Assistant. I love learning new things and hope that you find my blogs useful and informative.
See you in the next article!