How often does one see skin changes during pregnancy?
This is fairly common. Practically every pregnant woman notices some skin changes, either localized or generalized. Most of these are minor and are immediately recognizable as pregnancy-associated changes and therefore cause no alarm. However, some women who have pre-existing chronic skin disorders may notice some changes in these. Others develop skin disorders for the first time in pregnancy. We shall expand on this further on.
Psoriasis in Pregnancy
What happens to psoriasis in pregnancy?
Psoriasis is characterized by thickened patches of inflamed red skin; the skin is often covered by silvery scales and the new skin cells are produced about ten times faster than normal. What happens in pregnancy varies. It may worsen, get better or remain unchanged.
Some forms of psoriasis may develop for the first time in pregnancy. It is therefore difficult to offer any specific advice to a person with pre-existing psoriasis.
The dermatologist (skin specialist) should be kept involved in the monitoring and treatment of the condition during the course of the pregnancy. This is mainly because when psoriasis worsens during pregnancy (which is uncommon), it requires prompt and intensive treatment, without which both the mother and baby's life may be imperilled.
SLE in Pregnancy
What happens in systemic lupus (SLE)?
In SLE there is inflammation of the connective tissues. This condition tends to remain the same in pregnancy. However, as any affected person will surely be aware, it affects other body organs and systems apart from the skin. Because of this, and the antibodies associated with this condition, there is a significantly increased risk of miscarriage, which may become a recurrent phenomenon. Moreover, the baby may have skin lesions when he or she is born or these may develop in the first few weeks of life.
SLE may be diagnosed for the first time in pregnancy.
The rare exacerbation will involve the skin and joints.
Herpes in Pregnancy
What happens to herpes?
We are discussing genital herpes here: a sexually transmitted disease that produces a painful rash on the genitals and is caused by the herpes simplex virus.
Once herpes infection is acquired, it is there for life. Some people will have frequent recurrence of the painful genital lesions while others have long quiescent periods. Pregnancy does not appear to influence this pattern one way or the other.
The standard advice for people with the primary disease is to avoid pregnancy at that time. For those with recurrent disease, this advice is pointless and symptoms are managed as they appear. Herpes is discussed in more detail in the section titled "Exposure to infection in pregnancy".