Pruritus in Pregnancy

Am J Clin Dermatol. 2022 Mar;23(2):231-246. doi: 10.1007/s40257-021-00668-7. Epub 2022 Feb 21.


Pruritus in pregnancy is a common and burdensome symptom that may be a first sign of a pregnancy-specific pruritic disease (atopic eruption of pregnancy, polymorphic eruption of pregnancy, pemphigoid gestationis, and intrahepatic cholestasis in pregnancy) or a dermatosis coinciding with pregnancy by chance. Despite its high prevalence, pruritus is often underrated by physicians, and data regarding the safety profiles of drugs for pruritus are very limited. In this review, we illustrate the epidemiology, possible pathophysiology, clinical characteristics, and diagnostic workup of various pregnancy-related diseases and discuss antipruritic treatments. The prevalence of pruritus in pregnancy demonstrates the importance of symptom recognition and the need for an holistic approach, taking into account both the potential benefits for the patient and the potential risks to the fetus.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cholestasis, Intrahepatic* / complications
  • Cholestasis, Intrahepatic* / diagnosis
  • Cholestasis, Intrahepatic* / epidemiology
  • Exanthema*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pemphigoid Gestationis* / diagnosis
  • Pemphigoid Gestationis* / drug therapy
  • Pemphigoid Gestationis* / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications* / diagnosis
  • Pregnancy Complications* / drug therapy
  • Pregnancy Complications* / epidemiology
  • Pruritus / diagnosis
  • Pruritus / epidemiology
  • Pruritus / etiology