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Postpartum Hives: What You Need to Know

by | Aug 14, 2023 | Blog, Rash

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The following article will explain what postpartum hives are, why stretch marks are rough when to seek medical help, and how to alleviate postpartum itching.

New moms are so preoccupied with caring for their infants that they neglect their own needs. Unfortunately, the hormonal changes that occur after giving birth make it much more difficult, and as a result, you are more susceptible to getting certain diseases. Postpartum hives, often known as postpartum acne, are one such issue.

Hives, or lumpy skin rashes, are typically the result of an allergic reaction to something or a psychological state, such as extreme stress. You can get postpartum hives or pregnancy rash even if you’ve never had them before and have no allergies. Hives, on the other hand normally disappear as rapidly as they appear.

Understanding How Postpartum Hives Develop

Postpartum hives, also known as urticaria, are skin rashes that cause itchy, red, or skin-colored rashes on the skin. They might acquire a rough texture akin to eczema (dermatitis) at times. When the body’s immune system comes into touch with allergens, histamine (from tiny capillaries) and other chemicals are released into the blood. Histamine, in turn, causes blood vessels to dilate, allowing plasma to enter the skin. This fluid accumulates in the skin, causing irritation and painful rashes on the surface.

PEP (Polymorphic Eruption of Pregnancy) is a common distinct clinical entity with an estimated incidence in a single pregnancy of one in 130–300 pregnancies in the USA according to a study conducted in 2019. (1)


What Causes Postpartum Hives

Here are some of the possible causes of hives:

  • Insect stings or bites
  • Hormonal changes following childbirth
  • Medical disorders caused by stress, such as acute thyroid issues
  • Exposure to direct sunshine, extreme heat, or extreme cold
  • Environmental factors both outside and within the house Certain drugs
    Certain foods or food additives.


Risk Factors

You may get postpartum hives because your body is more sensitive after pregnancy. If you are exposed to common allergens such as these might result in an allergic skin response.

  • Chemicals
  • Dyes Perfumes
  • Dust Pollen
  • Mildew and mold
  • Animal dander and fur
  • Latex
  • Bug stings or bites
  • Aspirin, ibuprofen, and antibiotics (such as amoxicillin and penicillin).


Symptoms of Postpartum Hives

Here are some signs of postpartum hives to look out for:

  • Scaly Skin
  • Itchy skin
  • Skin welts that are raised
  • Pink or red skin lumps on the body
  • Skin texture similar to eczema
  • One of the most common symptoms of postpartum hives is a pregnancy rash on the skin of body parts such as your face, arms, and legs.


Call a doctor immediately if you notice any of these signs too.

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Serious swelling in the body
  • Feeling faint
  • Feeling dizzy(2)

Differentiating Between Common Postpartum Skin Changes and Hives

Postpartum skin changes hives
Skin becomes loose, dry and acne may develop Skin is itchy, scaly, and full of bumps


Is it normal to get hives after giving birth?

Postpartum hives are reported to afflict at least 20% of women after giving birth. They normally emerge on your arms, back, and feet and appear at different intervals after giving birth, however, some women have reported them appearing on their legs as well.


Experiencing Itchy Skin after Pregnancy? It could be Postpartum Hives

Share your Symptoms & Images anonymously for a Private Evaluation. Consult with a specialist dermatologist and get the support you need for your post-pregnancy skin concerns.

Diagnostic Procedures

Your provider will do a physical exam to see if you have postpartum hives. If there’s a question about whether you have postpartum hives or a different skin condition, your provider may order tests to be sure. Your provider may order any of the following:

  • Complete blood count
  • Liver function test.
  • Metabolic panel.
  • Serum cortisol test.
  • Serum hCG test.

Treatment Options for Postpartum Hives

There is no specific treatment for postpartum hives, however, you can attempt the following steps:

  1. Consume Plenty of Fluids: Drink plenty of water and up your fluid intake.
  2. Topical applications: The burning and red spots might be relieved by using cream or lotion. Consult your doctor about the most effective creams and lotions to relieve your symptoms. Before taking medication for postpartum hives, you should seek advice from a doctor. This is particularly important if you are breastfeeding.You may be advised to use the following:
    • Topical creams, such as steroid creams
    • Antihistamines
    • Epi-pen(epinephrine)
    • Steroids
    • Ursodeoxycholic Acid
  3. Manage Stress: Because stress is a component that contributes to hives, you should aim to keep your stress levels as low as possible. Learn to meditate and rest as much as possible.
  4. Seek Assistance: If you can receive assistance, you will have more time to relax and, as a result, you will feel better.Home remedies for postpartum hives help to soothe your skin and control itching. Try these tips to help slow down the scratching:
    • Take a bath:Ensure that the bath water is not too hot. Soaking in hot water may cause the postpartum itching to get even worse, which is not what you want. Instead, it’s recommended that you bathe in lukewarm water for the best results.
    • Use fresh aloe vera gel on the affected area
    • Moisturise
    • Wear loose clothing
    • Use fragrance-free soaps, as these may be less irritating to the skin

Preventive Measures

  • Avoid using strong soaps, detergents, and perfumes. In general, whether pregnant or not, avoiding these chemicals is better for your skin, but it is especially important if you have a rash. Bathe with just water or mild cleansers, and wash items with dye-free, fragrance-free detergent. Pine-tar soap is popular among certain individuals. This is an old-fashioned rash treatment.
  • Sugar, wheat, dairy, and processed foods are all inflammatory. These foods might aggravate inflammation and irritation in the body(3).


Living with Postpartum Hives

To manage and reduce the itch and discomfort patient is prescribed topical creams and antihistamines.

How to manage anxiety and stress associated with hives?

To give immediate, calming comfort, use cool compresses to the affected region, such as a moist washcloth or an ice pack. Take an oatmeal bath to relieve itching. Avoid stimuli that may aggravate your rashes, such as heat or tight clothing(2).

Consult Your Healthcare Provider

You must immediately consult your doctor when you have otherwise it can become fatal.

It can lead to difficulty in breathing and can cause anaphylactic symptoms, dizziness or fainting, and angioedema.

If you have hives more than once, if they don’t go away after a few days, or if you have severe itching, see your doctor immediately once. 

Key Takeaway

Hives are a sign of something else problematic with your body, such as allergies. Postpartum hives can occur for a variety of reasons, even if you’ve never had allergies or other skin rashes. They are usually safe for you and your kid.

However, if you have severe postpartum hives or if the origin of the hives is a persistent disease, you may require treatment. Take or apply any hives medicine without first seeing your doctor. This is especially true if you are nursing your child.

Frequently Asked Questions on Postpartum Hives

Does breastfeeding cause hives?

There does not appear to be any link between breastfeeding and postpartum hives.

How do you treat hives while breastfeeding?

Topical systemic corticosteroids (such as hydrocortisone cream) or over-the-counter oral antihistamines such as loratadine and cetirizine may be prescribed. Prolonged usage of antihistamines has been associated with reduced milk production and increased sleepiness in some women.

How long do pregnancy hives last?

Hives may go away on their own after a few days or weeks. Chronic hives are those that continue for 6 weeks or more

What should I eat if I have hives?

You should eat oatmeal as it will soothe the skin. Apart from that you are asked to include turmeric, cumin, aloe vera gel, and apple cider vinegar in your diet. Low histamine foods to be eaten such as meat, bread pasta, rice, and vegetables.

What not to drink when you have hives?

Drinks to avoid are alcohol and citrus fruit juices.

Why are hives worse at night?

Some evidence suggests that mast cells, the cells responsible for releasing histamine, are sensitive to circadian rhythms, which may explain the statement.

Scratching can Hives spread?

Your hives may create itchy skin afterward, but keep in mind that any type of hive may and can worsen if scratched or itched. You should refrain from itching your hives.


The information contained in this article is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition. If you have any concerns or questions about your skin, you should always consult with a dermatologist or other qualified health care professional.


  1. Pritzier EC, Mikkelsen CS. Polymorphic eruption of pregnancy developing postpartum: 2 case reports. Vol. 4, Dermatology reports. Italy; 2012. p. e7.
  2. Kocatürk E, Podder I, Zenclussen AC, Kasperska Zajac A, Elieh-Ali-Komi D, Church MK, et al. Urticaria in Pregnancy and Lactation. Front allergy. 2022;3:892673.
  3. Dharia T, Fadugba O. A CASE OF RECURRENT HIVES WITH LACTATION. Ann Allergy, Asthma Immunol. 2022;129(5):S111.

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