After delivery, most mothers are busy taking care of their happy bundle and often forget or do not get the time to take care of their own health.
But with a baby who is completely dependent on you, it is even more important to take care of yourself. New mothers can suffer from many problems post-delivery.
One irritating problem is hives that cause red, itchy skin. Postpartum hives is very common. It occurs when the immune system reacts to allergens or hormonal changes and releases histamine, a protein, into the bloodstream.
The histamine affects the tiny blood capillaries and, when the plasma leaks into the skin, it causes an itchy, red rash. The rashes usually occur on the arms, the feet and the back. Along with rashes, you may also have raised welts, scaly skin and swelling that causes a burning sensation or pain.
While hormonal changes in the body and a high stress level are among the most common causes of postpartum hives, it can occur due to other reasons, too. For example, it can be caused by acute medical conditions, certain medications, skin exposure to the sun or extremely cold temperature, allergic reactions to certain foods and additives, insect stings or bites, and even environmental factors.
If hives are making you miserable when you should be enjoying every minute of every day as a new mom, the hives won’t last forever. Typically, the condition resolves on its own after about six to eight weeks. However, you can take certain steps to get relief from the symptoms of postpartum hives much faster.
Here are some ways to deal with postpartum hives.
1. Cold Compress
An easy way to get instant relief from itching and swelling due to postpartum hives is using cold compresses.
The cold temperature helps shrink the blood vessels and prevent further release of histamine. This in turn reduces swelling, inflammation and itching.
- Wrap some ice cubes in a cloth and place it over the affected skin for 10 minutes at a time. Use this simple remedy 3 or 4 times a day.
- You can also take a cool bath or shower.
Caution: Never put ice directly on yourskin, as it can damage the skin.
Oatmeal is another good remedy for postpartum hives. Its anti-irritating, anti-inflammatory and soothing properties provide quick relief from itching and swelling.
- Put 1 cup of oatmeal in a cloth and soak it in a bowl of hot water for 10 to 15 minutes. Add this water to your bathwater and soak your body in it for 15 minutes. Do this once daily.
- Alternatively, mix 2 cups of oatmeal, 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and enough water to make a paste. Apply the paste on the affected skin for 15 to 20 minutes. Wash it off with lukewarm water. Use this remedy once daily.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is another good remedy that you can try at home. It has antihistamine properties that provide relief from inflammation. It also regulates the body’s immune system response.
- Add 2 cups of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar to a bathtub filled with warm water. Soak your body in it for 15 to 20 minutes once daily.
- Alternatively, dilute raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar with an equal amount of cool water and use it to wash the affected skin a few times a day.
- Another option is make a paste using 2 tablespoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. Apply the paste on the affected areas and let it sit for 1 hour. Wash it off with cool water. Do it once or twice daily.
4. Aloe Vera
When it comes to skin problems, you can always rely on aloe vera. For dealing with postpartum hives, aloe vera is very effective due to its anti-inflammatory, soothing and moisturizing properties.
- Apply fresh aloe vera gel to the affected skin for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse it off with cool water. Use this simple remedy several times a day until the problem subsides.
- You can also freeze aloe vera gel, wrap it in a thin towel and use it as a cold compress for 10 minutes. Repeat a few times a day.
5. Turmeric Milk
The anti-inflammatory spice turmeric helps stimulate the body’s natural anti-inflammatory corticosteroids. Also, with natural antihistamine and antioxidant properties, it provides quick relief from symptoms of hives.
Plus, turmeric milk will help you, as a new mother, to deal with all kinds of pain.
- Mix 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder in a glass of hot milk.
- Add a pinch of black pepper powder.
- Sweeten it with a little honey.
- Drink turmeric milk twice daily.
Chamomile is another safe herb for both you and your baby. Being a natural antihistamine and having anti-inflammatory properties, it relieves swelling, inflammation and itching.
Chamomile tea will also help you get much-needed rest or sleep, and can even help calm a teething baby.
- Add 1 tablespoon of dried chamomile to a cup of hot water.
- Cover and let it steep for 5 minutes.
- Strain and add a little honey.
- Drink this tea 2 or 3 times a day until your condition improves.
7. Calamine Lotion
To treat skin rashes due to hives, calamine lotion is also very effective. It can provide quick relief from itching and speed up the healing process.
- Use a cold compress on the affected area.
- Pat dry thoroughly with a towel.
- Use a cotton ball to gently apply the calamine lotion.
- Repeat several times a day.
8. Avoid Stress
Stress can trigger hives and cause you more discomfort. Stress after delivery can be overwhelming and it can increase cortisol levels, which can have a negative impact on your body.
No matter what, you need to try to control your stress level.
Do your best to get enough rest and sleep to reduce stress and any form of anxiety that might have developed. It is recommended to adopt the sleeping pattern of your baby, so that you can get enough sleep, too.
Also, allow family members and friends to help you take care of your baby as well as your home.
Engage in relaxing activities like walking, reading books, listening to soft music and anything that makes you feel happy and relaxed.
- Certain antihistamine medications and anti-inflammatory drugs can help minimize the inflammation and itching resulting from hives. Always consult your doctor before taking these medications.
- As your baby is dependent on you for milk, do not take any kind of drugs without consulting your doctor first.
- Bathing with hot water can cause more discomfort, so avoid using hot water until your hives are gone.
- It’s best to wear loose-fitting clothes to reduce the itching.
- You can try lying down while breastfeeding to help you get the extra rest you need.
- Do not apply anti-itch cream on your nipples.
- You can pump and store breast milk, if needed.
- Increase the amount of vitamin C in your diet to help reduce your body’s production of histamine.
- Stay out of direct sunlight as much as possible.