Also known as PUPPP. This unholy, Old Testament plague of Egypt variety of skin disorder is a very common rash occurring late in human pregnancy. It usually takes the form of very red, itchy skin around the lower abdomen, particularly around the navel. Insidious in its onset, the mother-to-be thinks to herself, "Gee, these stretch marks really are red. And itchy." Before long, though, she is clawing at her belly and slathering on every sort of skin lubricant she can find. Daddies beware: if you make fun of her at this point, you will get kicked in the junk. After all, this is all your fault.

There is no known cause of or cure for this disorder. There seems to be some relationship between the skin distention and this disorder since pregnant women that gain more than an average amount weight tend to suffer from it more than others. There is also some reason to believe it is some sort of autoimmune problem, like an allergy. It does respond to hydrocortisone creams and antihistamines such as Benadryl, and this is the standard treatment.

The bad news is that this rash can spread to parts of the body beyond the abdomen, especially if untreated. The good news is that it normally goes away a week or so after delivery.

one very unhappy wife

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