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How Do I Treat Itchy Feet in Pregnancy?

By Madeleine A.
Updated May 17, 2024
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Itchy feet in pregnancy can be treated by putting moisturizer on the feet, taking oatmeal baths, and avoiding baths or showers that are too hot. In addition, sprinkling baby powder or cornstarch on the feet can be soothing and relieve itching. Itchy feet typically occur as a result of rising estrogen levels; however, the itching sometimes afflicts the whole body.

When a pregnant woman gets dry and itchy feet, medications should be used sparingly. Although topical anti-itch medications such as hydrocortisone and Benadryl are very effective in soothing itchy soles and itchy feet, they can be absorbed into the bloodstream and affect the baby. This is especially important during the first three months of pregnancy. If topical medications are used only when symptoms are severe, and large parts of the body are not covered by the medication, chances of complications are slim.

In addition to having itchy feet in pregnancy, women often have other foot complaints during pregnancy. These include swollen feet and ankles, and sore feet. Swelling of the feet is common during pregnancy and is typically related to fluid retention and increased sodium intake. Swollen feet and ankles can also cause itchiness, but is typically not a serious problem. When the feet swell, elevating them and limiting intake of high-sodium foods and beverages typically relieves symptoms.

It is important to check with a medical professional when itchy feet becomes more than just a nuisance for a pregnant woman. This is especially true when the itching not only affects the feet, but the abdomen, arms, and legs. When a pregnant woman notices generalized itching, it can signal a liver abnormality, such as a blocked bile duct, and her healthcare provider should be notified.

Itchy feet in pregnancy can become so intense that the individual can break the skin on her feet from scratching so much. This can be dangerous because the skin is a person's first line of defense against bacterial invasion. If bacteria gets into the bloodstream via broken skin on the feet, the patient can get an infection and pass it along to her unborn baby.

If itchy feet complaints persist, the medical professional might recommend an oral antihistamine. Most over-the-counter anti-itch medication can be give to pregnant women without risk to the baby, if taken in recommended dosages. In addition, a pregnant woman should never take any medication unless recommended by a medical professional.

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Discussion Comments
By ZipLine — On Aug 17, 2014

A little bit of itching during pregnancy can be a sign of changing hormones. But excessive, chronic itching is a sign of something more serious like obstetric cholestasis (OC) which is a problem with the liver. This needs immediately medical attention because it puts both the mother and the child at risk. So ladies, if any of you are itching so much that you are tearing your skin, please see your doctor and have some blood tests done.

A friend of mine had this and had to have an immediate C-section. She had a constant terrible itch. Thankfully, she took it seriously and saw the doctor in time.

By donasmrs — On Aug 17, 2014

@serenesurface-- Yea, you're not the only one. I have itchy feet too and I hate it.

The only things that seem to help me is sticking my feet out of the covers and when the itching gets very bad, applying a wet towel on my feet. Heat seems to make itching worse, so I avoid getting my feet hot.

Something else that works great for the itching is pure aloe vera gel. Make sure that it's pure and without any medications. Aloe vera is very soothing and relieves the itching quickly. Avoid medications, including topical ones. My mother said that she experienced the same thing when she was pregnant but it went away quickly. So I hope my itching will be gone soon too.

By serenesurface — On Aug 16, 2014

I'm in my second trimester and suddenly developed very itchy feet. It's not very bad during the day. It seems to act up at night and I'm losing out on sleep at night because I'm constantly itching my feet.

I'm happy to know that I'm not the only one experiencing this but I also want the itching gone soon. Applying moisturizer doesn't seem to help. What else can I do to relieve the itching?

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