Dermatoses of Pregnancy: Nomenclature, Misnomers, and Myths

Clin Dermatol. May-Jun 2016;34(3):314-9. doi: 10.1016/j.clindermatol.2016.02.002. Epub 2016 Feb 9.


The most recent reclassification of dermatoses of pregnancy includes polymorphic eruption of pregnancy, atopic eruption of pregnancy, and pemphigoid gestationis; intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy, strictly not a dermatosis, was included in specific dermatoses of pregnancy for working purposes. Another dermatosis, pustular psoriasis of pregnancy, could be included for similar reasons. The nomenclature of these pregnancy-specific eruptions has been revised several times, generating potential confusion among practitioners. Clouding the picture further are misnomers that have been used to describe dermatoses of pregnancy. In addition, several cutaneous conditions that are associated with, but not specific to, pregnancy, have been misunderstood, which has resulted in certain myths among patients and physicians. In this contribution, we describe how the nomenclature of each dermatosis of pregnancy has evolved to fit the current classification scheme. We then identify several misnomers that have generated confusion within the scheme. Finally, we debunk several myths that have developed around cutaneous conditions outside of this scheme, in both mother and newborn.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Feeding*
  • Cholestasis, Intrahepatic / classification
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / prevention & control
  • Diet
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Pemphigoid Gestationis / classification
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / classification*
  • Prurigo / classification
  • Psoriasis / classification
  • Skin Diseases / classification*
  • Striae Distensae / prevention & control
  • Terminology as Topic
  • Urticaria / classification

Supplementary concepts

  • Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy