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P.U.P.P.S...A Pregnancy Rash

Updated on March 30, 2013

Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy

"Oh honey, that looks awful! I have been a nurse for 10 years and you are only the second pregnancy rash I have ever seen."

That is what I heard as I was being wheeled into the operating room to have an emergency cesarean. It's not bad enough that I was only 18, having my first child, and the father was hundreds of miles away. With the agony I had to endure for the past month coupled with the fact that I now had to have surgery; let's just say that I wasn't having a very good day.

Let's go back to the beginning.

This is me right before my rash developed.
This is me right before my rash developed. | Source

Just put some Aveeno on it - The beginning of PUPPS

I was a teenager when I got pregnant with my first child. I was with the father but he was at boot camp trying to become a United States Marine during the last few months of my pregnancy. I knew he would be gone so I was prepared for it. I was living with my parents. As much as I hate to admit it, living with my mom was the only thing that helped me stay sane.

When I was about 34 weeks along, I started to develop an itchy rash on my belly. It started in my stretchmarks (gross, right?) and started to spread. I didn't know what to do. I called my doctor and was told by a nurse to "put some Aveeno on it". That didn't work. It only got worse.

By 36 weeks along, it had spread to my legs and arms. It itched terribly and looked awful. Keep in mind that I was very young and very vain. I cared about my looks and was extremely self-conscious. It was August and the heat was unbearable so I couldn't really cover up. I had a check-up that week so I held out till the appointment.

Aveeno Oatmeal Bath Treatment

Aveeno Soothing Bath Treatment For Itchy, Irritated Skin, 8 Count
Aveeno Soothing Bath Treatment For Itchy, Irritated Skin, 8 Count

It didn't get rid of the rash, but it did help the itch.

PUPPS Stomach Rash
PUPPS Stomach Rash

Just great! The Diagnosis

I made it to my appointment and was eager to get in. The wait was long and I tried to ignore the stares of disgust from the other moms-to-be in the waiting room. Little did I know, someone must have thought I was contagious and asked a nurse to come check on me. She comes out, asks my name, and takes a gander at my arms and legs. Almost immediately I am taken to an exam room, scratching the whole way.

I was put on a fetal monitor and then some nurse who must have just received some sort of online, idiot degree asked me if I was experiencing any symptoms. I wanted to kick her.

Finally, the doctor came in.

"What is that?", she says. Not exactly what I wanted to hear.

She asked me why I hadn't come in earlier. I argued that I had called and what I was told to do by the phone nurse. She knew I was suffering. She said she had to go look it up in her PDR (Physician's Desk Reference) to be sure what she thought I had. Just great! Even the doctor was confused. All I could do was wait some more.

PUPPS Leg Rash
PUPPS Leg Rash

And the diagnosis is...

"You have PUPPS", she says. Huh?

Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy

It's a pregnancy rash that occurs in about 1 of every 200 first pregnancies. It usually doesn't occur in subsequent pregnancies. It's ugly and itchy and there is only one way to get it to go away...have the baby. That's a couple of weeks away at this point so I am not very happy. I was prescribed a cream and told to bathe in Aveeno oatmeal powder. Then I am sent home to suffer.

Thankfully, my doctor determined at 39 weeks, I was able to deliver so I was induced on Monday, September 25 at 7:00am. By 4pm or so, I had only dilated to 2cm and the baby was getting stuck in my very small pelvis. That is when the cesarean came into play, which sparked the comment from the nurse, who got me to the OR, which lead me to deliver a beautiful 7lb. 9oz. little girl named Kaitlyn.

About 2 weeks after the delivery, the rash was completely gone.

Questions? Comments? Grossed out?

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