Specific Pregnancy Dermatoses

Maria-Magdalena Roth, MD, PhD


Dermatology Nursing. 2009;21(2):70-74, 81. 

In This Article

Atopic Eruption of Pregnancy

Atopic eruption of pregnancy (AEP) is a benign, self-limited pruritic disorder of pregnancy, seen in patients with a personal and/or family history of atopy, and clinically presents as eczematous lesions (also called E-type, in two-thirds of cases) or prurigo lesions (also called P-type in one-third of cases) (Ambros-Rudolph et al., 2006) (see Figure 1).

Figure 1.

Atopic eruption of pregnancy (generalized maculopapular rash and pustules) in a 26-year-old woman presenting at 30 weeks gestation of her first pregnancy.

The pathogenesis of AEP is not fully known. In AEP there is always a personal and/or family history of atopy. This atopic background shows the impact of a possible genetic predisposition in the pathogenesis of the disease (Ambros-Rudolph et al., 2006). The key features of AEP are presented in Table 4 .

Patient education. The patient should be informed that the disease is related to pregnancy and is a benign, self-limited disorder. Also patients should be informed about the possible risk of recurrence in subsequent pregnancies, due to the atopic background. Atopic eruption of pregnancy manifests throughout pregnancy, affecting all three trimesters (Ambros-Rudolph et al., 2006).

Prognosis is good even in severe cases. Pruritus is the most distressing symptom, generally more severe at night, causing a considerable discomfort for the pregnant woman. Marked improvement occurs due to prompt treatment or the natural course of the disorder. Fetal prognosis is good, but there is a risk of developing atopic skin changes (such as atopic dermatitis) later in infancy (Ambros-Rudolph et al., 2006).

Monitoring the pregnancy by obstetricians and dermatologists is necessary. A regular check-up is recommended in prenatal clinics. Breast-feeding is not contraindicated (Ambros-Rudolph et al., 2006).


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