Week 20: Itchy Rash

The bun in my oven is halfway baked!


As spring heads toward summer, my baby boy is growing and developing right on schedule. He’s approximately the length of a carrot now (about 10 inches long), weighs ¾ of a pound and for the next several weeks, I’ll be gaining around a pound a week. Not to sound like a broken record, but yep, I still feel great! I am amazed at how easily I’ve had it so far.

Not that I haven’t had some pregnancy-induced symptoms; I have. Most notably, starting at about 18 weeks, I developed a very itchy rash. First on my right hip, then a few days later, also on my left hip. The small bumps have been itching like crazy for three weeks now and from what I’ve read, it will probably last until I give birth. I did what any good pregnant woman does and I Googled it, and talked to my midwife about it at today’s visit.

From what I’ve read (and the terrifying Google images that popped up), I have a very mild case of the itchies compared to what some pregnant women go through. And the bumps have disappeared this last week, although the itch remains. My midwife assured me that it is not PUPPPs (Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy); its just a basic rash most likely caused by hormones and increased blood volume.

Since it’s a fairly mild rash, instead of going for an OTC cortisone cream (safe, I’m told), I’ve opted so far to simply rub on my new favorite belly balm: Medicine Mama’s Apothecary Sweet Bee Magic All-in-One Skin Healing Cream. It not only keeps my belly super moisturized, but it’s also helping alleviate the non-stop itching. I also like it because it’s an organic mixture of honey, olive oil, beeswax, propolis (suppresses histamines—aha!) and not much else. And so far, it is truly the most moisturizing product I have found. I slather it on every morning and by evening, my skin still feels soft and soothed.

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The other pregnancy-induced symptom I’m experiencing also started around 18 weeks is slight numbness on top of my left thigh. I thought for sure it couldn’t possibly be pregnancy-related, but my midwife set me straight. She said most likely, the baby is compressing a nerve, which is cutting off some of the sensation. And, it’s completely normal. The best analogy I can give is this: When you go to the dentist and get novocaine, and a few hours later, the sensation in your lip has recovered about 90% of the way, but there’s still that 10% not-quite-normal feeling. I was relieved to find out it is, indeed, pregnancy-related and not some strange new ailment, and that it’s not at all out of the ordinary.

On a more fun topic, I’ve chosen a birthing class. Actually, I chose it years ago, when I first heard about it as an editor on staff at Fit Pregnancy. I want to do HypnoBirthing, which educates moms-to-be on self-hypnosis relaxation techniques for a relaxed natural childbirth. Relaxed? Natural? Yes, please! I signed up with a local educator and will begin the weekly sessions for five weeks starting next week. I already picked up the book and CD, and have been listening to the birthing affirmations and rainbow relaxation every night when I go to bed.

I hope that practicing the HypnoBirthing techniques, paired with a planned water birth will result in the calm labor and delivery I’d like. Of course, I know things beyond my control can and may happen, and I’m open to that as well. If it does, I’ll roll with it. For example, if I end up with gestational diabetes, I will be able to labor in the water, but not give birth in it. If that is the case, so be it. Whatever happens, I think being prepared with some deep breathing techniques, positive birthing affirmations and the rainbow relaxation will help me feel better than I would without them.

I’m so looking forward to the birth day, welcoming my son into the world and getting that first look at him. James and I have chosen a name: Finn William McDonough. Finn because it’s Irish, and we both have quite a bit of Irish in us, and it’s one of the few names we both agreed on. William, after my grandpa. I am not a traditionalist in the sense of feeling like we have to include a family name, but I think Finn William has a nice ring to it, and is a sweet sentiment to a man who has helped me throughout my lifetime. He’s 91 now and still going strong, so I hope Finn follows in his footsteps.

Read more: Here's what's happening during Week 20 of your pregnancy >>