Surviving PUPPP During Pregnancy

Even as a nurse, I had never heard of PUPPP before. PUPPP stands for Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy. It is a rash or hives that spreads on your entire body while pregnant and becomes worse if touched. The hives are red, extremely itchy, and can be painful.

I’ve never had hives before, and so when I started breaking out with them all over my arms and abdomen, it took me by surprise. The first sign was itching soles and palms for me. I know that everyone’s experience is different with this, but mine became pretty severe over the next couple days. I took Benadryl during the course of those couple days, and it helped. But who wants to feel like they have narcolepsy with an 18-month-old toddler? Not me! So, once I tried to stop taking the Benadryl, it came back with a vengeance. Honestly, by the end of it I looked like I got punched in the face multiple times. I couldn’t eat, walk, and started feeling pain while inhaling. The swelling was going in my joints and was starting to affect me internally. But of course, I’m a nurse, so we have to withstand all rational thinking of, “Hey, I should probably go to the hospital, because I look like anaphylactic shock waiting to happen!” No, I’m way to stubborn for that, so we went to an urgent care. 

First sign of outbreak.

Long story short they put me on a tapering dose of steroids, Pepcid, and Benadryl. My swelling went down significantly, and I could function again. The only problem was the steroid regimen ended on Christmas Eve... Not the best day to see if you’re going to start resembling a balloon. Can you picture, everyone dressed up, excitedly awaiting the day, and you’re just trying to make sure your airway doesn’t close up? Hmm, doesn’t sound like fun to me. 

So, a couple days before Christmas, I went to see friends that are on the natural side of healing, because I didn’t want to be trapped on Pepcid, steroids, and Benadryl the rest of my pregnancy. And this was a great decision! 

They recommended a few key things, but again, everyone’s body is different. This list is also a combination of what they recommended, and things I still do to get through the day. I am just stating what helped me through this whole PUPPPS fiasco. 

1. Drinking tons of water. I almost drink a gallon a day now.

2. Drinking a cup of dandelion tea a day for three days. This helps detox your liver and kidneys.

3. Used turmeric in my coffee or there are turmeric capsules.

4. Ate cilantro once a day.

5. Tried to minimize the amounts of gluten and sugar in my diet.

6. Slept as much as I could.

7. Made sure my spiritual walk was nourished and asked the Holy Spirit for peace.  

8. Took it little by little and didn’t beat myself up if I had to take Benadryl.

9. Used Sarna lotion if it was getting too itchy to handle.

There are many other suggestions that they provided, but I don’t want to give away all their secrets in one post. Overall the PUPPP has been progressively getting better. It takes time though, and persistent lifestyle changes. I do admit I still have to take Benadryl once in a while but only at night. I am very blessed that the swelling did not come back heavily again, and the lifestyle changes have significantly decreased the outbreaks.

PUPPPs is no joke and can be very overwhelming. I feel your pain! If you have any suggestions or want to share your story, feel free to contact me or comment below.