Firstly - congratulations! If you’re reading this post you’re likely either planning, or already in the throes of, one of the most exciting journeys of your life. However, pregnancy can be overwhelming at the best of times, and especially so if you also have to consider how to keep your psoriasis under control. In this post we’ll cover some of the things you need to know to set yourself up for a safe, stress-free pregnancy for you and your baby.
Things to consider if you have psoriasis and are planning a baby
Psoriasis won’t affect your chances of falling pregnant. However, if you are planning a baby and either you or your partner have ever lived with psoriasis, then it’s important to let your doctor know as soon as possible. Many of medically prescribed treatments for psoriasis require special precautions before and during pregnancy, so speak with your doctor as early as possible to create a therapy plan that is safe for both you and the baby.
If possible, try to optimise control of your psoriasis before conception to help minimise flare-ups during pregnancy. In many cases of mild to moderate psoriasis, regular use of emollients can help you to stay symptom free for longer, and can help to prevent unexpected changes to your condition during pregnancy.
Psoriasis: Will your baby have it too?
Though there is a genetic element to psoriasis, it doesn’t mean that your child will have psoriasis just because you do, so try not to worry. It's difficult to predict as psoriasis doesn't follow predictable hereditary patterns, but what we do know is that a child with one parent who has psoriasis has around a 10% risk of having psoriasis themselves. When both parents have psoriasis, that risk increases to roughly 50%.
Psoriasis during and after pregnancy: will your symptoms change?
It’s quite likely that your psoriasis will change during pregnancy, though it’s impossible to say whether that change will be for the better or worse. Happily, most women experience improvements to their condition during pregnancy (a little over 50%), however around the same amount report flare ups within six weeks of delivery.
If you experience a flare up either during or after the pregnancy then the good news is that around 6-12 weeks after you give birth your psoriasis will should go back to how it was before your baby was born.
One thing to be aware of is that if you have a C-section, you might get what doctors call the Koebner phenomenon - a flare up of psoriasis symptoms near an injury (in this case, the C-section). If this happens then apply an emollient to the plaques just as you would anywhere else on your body to manage the symptoms.
No-one knows better than you how unpredictable changes to your skin can be. The important thing is to prepare for any changes with a safe, effective routine to try and keep symptoms under control.
What’s Safe To Use During Pregnancy?
During pregnancy and whilst breastfeeding you are quite likely to have to change up your normal therapy plan if your psoriasis is mild to moderate. The good news is that it’s safe to use almost all emollients and over the counter topical creams during pregnancy.
Some safe options to use on your skin are:
- Eucerin Aquaphor: combines the restorative qualities of panthenol, bisabolol, and glycerine to moisturise, soothe, and repair damaged skin.
- Aveeno Daily Moisturiser: contains oatmeal as an active ingredient, which acts as a skin protectant helping to restore a normal pH balance and maintain the skin’s moisture barrier to prevent and improve dry, cracked and itchy skin.
- Cetaphil RestoraDerm Wash: clinically-proven to hydrate and soothe the skin, whilst holding nourishing oils in.
Try using mineral oil or liquid paraffin in your baths, too. This can be a great complement to topical treatment. Though be sure to limit bath times to around 10 minutes as prolonged exposure to mineral oils may dry out your skin, and be extra careful when getting in and out of the bath as these products can make the area very slippery.
What Should You Avoid?
Most therapies that enter your bloodstream (systemic therapies) should be stopped during pregnancy and whilst breastfeeding as they are known to affect the development a baby.
Whilst most emollient ingredients are safe to use, it’s important to be aware of the following:
- Salicylic acid - the risk with topical therapy is considered very small to harm the baby, however, don't apply it over large areas of the body for prolonged periods.
- Coal tar - coal tar products are considered safe to use for short periods or on localised areas such as the scalp, however coal tar contains potentially dangerous polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons which have unknown effects on developing babies.
Endocrine disrupters - we don’t sell any potential endocrine disruptors at HelloSkin so you don’t need to worry about this with our product range, however be aware when you buy elsewhere that certain parabens and phthalates may be absorbed through the skin, so avoid using large amounts.
It’s easy to get bogged down with all the information and advice surrounding psoriasis and pregnancy. But remember: don’t stress. This is one of the most special experiences of your life, and your skin condition shouldn’t stop you from enjoying every moment of it. Head to your doctor for advice if you’re unsure of anything, or contact us at HelloSkin for help choosing a safe emollient therapy routine during your pregnancy.