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HealthInfo Canterbury

Itching in pregnancy

Mild itching is common during pregnancy. But if you have more severe itching, with or without a rash, talk to your midwife or LMC about it. This is especially important if the palms of your hands or the soles of your feet are itchy.

Most itching during pregnancy is harmless but it can be caused by a rare liver condition called cholestasis of pregnancy (or obstetric cholestasis). A blood test can look for this. The itching usually happens when you're at least 28 weeks pregnant.

If you have cholestasis of pregnancy, you'll be referred to an obstetrician. The obstetrician will most likely recommend that you have regular blood tests. They may prescribe medication to help manage the condition, and they'll discuss the timing of the birth with you.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by midwife liaison, Canterbury DHB. Last reviewed June 2018.

Page reference: 134203

Review key: HIIIP-134203