Hives, or hives, are uncomfortable skin symptoms that can occur during pregnancy. The condition can arise for reasons such as an allergic reaction to a food or medication, or as a phenomenon of the immune system. Hives appear more frequently when a substance called histamine is released as mast cells, or the related basophils, a type of white blood cell, become more active in the bloodstream. When the hives are not the result of an allergy during pregnancy, the hormones of the pregnant mother may be responsible for the outbreak. Urticaria is not dangerous for the mother or the baby, but it can be very debilitating due to the constant itching.
Urticaria causes red or pale-colored patches on the skin. They cause intense itching and can migrate from one area to another over time. They may even be accompanied by a localized swelling, called angioedema. A doctor should always evaluate the occurrence of hives to distinguish them from other rashes associated with pregnancy, such as progesterone autoimmune dermatitis of pregnancy and pruritic papules and hives of pregnancy urticaria. An allergist or immunologist can perform allergy tests, if necessary, to help determine the cause.
Urticarias associated with pregnancy are usually easily controlled with over-the-counter antihistamines. Your doctor may suggest diphenhydramine, sold as Benadryl, loratadine, known as Claritin, or cetirizine, sold as Zyrtec. Occasionally, it may be necessary to control and eliminate symptoms with more aggressive treatment. It is always best to make sure that your gynecologist is aware of your hives and any medication you are taking for treatment.