Rash on your bump? You could have PUPPP

Itchy bumps on your tum during the third trimester are a sign of PUPPP. Here’s more on this irritating condition…

So, all is going great guns…you’re well past your first and second trimester and heading into the final stretch. Then, a few spots appear, followed by a rash. Before you know it, your entire belly is covered with angry red, itchy bumps, and sleepless nights ensue.

“Welcome to the world of Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy, or PUPPP for short,” says Dr Dharshini Gopalakrishnakone from The Obstetrics and Gynaecology Centre, a Singapore Medical Group Clinic.

Affecting one in 160 pregnancies, the condition is marked by an itchy, bumpy rash that starts in the abdomen’s stretch marks in the last three months of pregnancy, Dr Dharshini explains.

“The actual cause remains unclear, though there has been suggested a relationship between the skin stretching and distention, and the development of PUPPP,” she says.

“It was the most horrible thing I’ve ever experienced ― I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.”

Natalie Liow, mum to Jamie, 1, recalls her experience with PUPPP. The angry red marks first appeared on the sides of her belly after her babymoon in Japan. “We went when I was 28 weeks pregnant, and it was an amazing trip with nice, cold weather,” she says.

A day after she returned from her trip, the skin on her belly started feeling dry and itchy. “I thought maybe it was the cold and dry air, so I used lots of moisturiser,” she says.  “When that didn’t help, I thought maybe all the woollen sweaters I’d been wearing there may have caused the itch.”

After enduring the itch for another week, she visited her gynaecologist, who diagnosed her with PUPPP. “By that time, the marks and streaks on my tummy were quite horrible ― no thanks to my scratching as well,” Liow says. By then, the rash had spread to her bum as well as parts of her thighs.

Liow was given a cream to soothe the itch and some oral antihistamines. She says, “Thankfully, it all cleared up once Jamie was born. But it was the most horrible thing I’ve ever experienced ― I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.”

Click through to learn more about PUPPP and how to manage this pesky condition...