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The changes your body goes through during a pregnancy can result in a flare up of atopic eczema. If you already have the condition, your symptoms may get worse, or they may improve - it varies from person to person.

If you don’t have the condition, it can develop for the first time, usually during the first two trimesters.

If you have noticed a change in your skin and think it could be atopic eczema, or if your existing symptoms are getting worse, it’s best to speak to a GP about it. Our online doctors are here to provide help and support if you need it.

Developing atopic eczema when pregnant does not usually indicate a major problem and should not affect your baby.

Atopic eczema symptoms in pregnancy

Symptoms of atopic eczema when pregnant are the same as if you were not pregnant and it most commonly affects fingers and hands, the inside of elbows and the backs of knees. Your skin may be:

  • Itchy - this can sometimes be unbearable, and can stop you sleeping at night
  • Dry
  • Sore
  • Irritated
  • Red
  • Inflamed
  • Cracked
  • Thickened
  • Abnormal in colour

Read more about the symptoms of atopic eczema.

How atopic eczema treatments differ during pregnancy

Getting a diagnosis when pregnant is usually straightforward - in most cases the doctor will need to examine the affected areas of skin, which they can do over a video consultation, and ask about your medical history. You should let them know about the changes you have noticed since you’ve become pregnant to help them rule out other conditions.

Many of the usual atopic eczema treatments available are safe to use when pregnant. The symptoms can usually be controlled with an emollient (moisturiser) or topical corticosteroid. A doctor will be able to advise you on the right kind of treatment to use for your atopic eczema - one that is safe for both you and your baby.

Will the atopic eczema go away after pregnancy?

If the atopic eczema develops during your pregnancy, and you’ve never had it before, it is likely that it will clear up after you have had your baby. However, sometimes this is not the case.

If you had the condition before pregnancy, your symptoms may ease after the birth of your baby - this varies from person to person. Speak to a GP for more advice if your atopic eczema is still affecting you after your child is born.