The specific dermatoses of pregnancy represent a heterogeneous group of pruritic skin diseases that have been recently reclassified and include pemphigoid (herpes) gestationis, polymorphic eruption of pregnancy (syn. pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy), intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy, and atopic eruption of pregnancy. They are associated with severe pruritus that should never be neglected in pregnancy but always lead to an exact work-up of the patient. Clinical characteristics, in particular timing of onset, morphology and localization of skin lesions are crucial for diagnosis which, in case of pemphigoid gestationis and intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy, will be confirmed by specific immunofluorescence and laboratory findings. While polymorphic and atopic eruptions of pregnancy are distressing only to the mother because of pruritus, pemphigoid gestationis may be associated with prematurity and small-for-date babies and intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy poses an increased risk for fetal distress, prematurity, and stillbirth. Corticosteroids and antihistamines control pemphigoid gestationis, polymorphic and atopic eruptions of pregnancy; intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy, in contrast, should be treated with ursodeoxycholic acid. This review will focus on the new classification of pregnancy dermatoses, discuss them in detail, and present a practical algorithm to facilitate the management of the pregnant patient with skin lesions.
Keywords: Atopic eruption of pregnancy; Dermatoses of pregnancy; Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy; Pemphigoid gestationis; Polymorphic eruption of pregnancy; Pruritus.