Pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy presenting in the postpartum period: a case report

J Reprod Med. 2005 Jan;50(1):61-3.


Background: Pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy (PUPPP), also known as polymorphic eruption of pregnancy, is the most common dermatosis of pregnancy. It usually evolves in the third trimester and resolves rapidly postpartum.

Case: A 25-year-old woman complained of an intensely pruritic rash for 2 days. The rash began 10 days postpartum. It began on her abdomen and spread to her buttocks, legs and upper arms. On examination, erythematous papules and urticarial plaques were present in the striae of the abdomen and buttocks and involved the legs, arms and back. No excoriations, vesicles or pustules were present, and there was sparing of the face, palms and soles. The patient was treated with fexofenadine, hydroxyzine, oatmeal baths and cool compresses. Follow-up 2 days later revealed a worsening rash and persistence of severe pruritus. At that time the patient was placed on prednisone, which led to relief of her symptoms and clearing of the rash.

Discussion: PUPPP is reported to develop in 0.5% of pregnancies. MEDLINE searches of the literature from 1966 to 2003 using the keywords pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy or polymorphic eruption of pregnancy and postpartum revealed only 2 other cases of PUPPP developing in the postpartum period. Although the clinical presentation of this patient was typical of that of PUPPP, it demonstrates an unusual time course with its postpartum presentation.

Conclusion: Dermatoses of pregnancy should remain in the differential diagnosis of rash even weeks after a woman delivers.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Postpartum Period*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / diagnosis*
  • Pregnancy Complications / pathology
  • Pregnancy Complications / therapy
  • Pregnancy Trimester, Third
  • Pruritus / diagnosis*
  • Pruritus / pathology
  • Pruritus / therapy
  • Urticaria / diagnosis*
  • Urticaria / pathology
  • Urticaria / therapy