Dermatoses of Pregnancy - Clues to Diagnosis, Fetal Risk and Therapy

Department of Dermatology, Medical University of Graz, Graz, Austria.
Annals of Dermatology (Impact Factor: 1.39). 08/2011; 23(3):265-75. DOI: 10.5021/ad.2011.23.3.265
Source: PubMed


The specific dermatoses of pregnancy represent a heterogeneous group of pruritic skin diseases that have been recently reclassified and include pemphigoid (herpes) gestationis, polymorphic eruption of pregnancy (syn. pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy), intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy, and atopic eruption of pregnancy. They are associated with severe pruritus that should never be neglected in pregnancy but always lead to an exact work-up of the patient. Clinical characteristics, in particular timing of onset, morphology and localization of skin lesions are crucial for diagnosis which, in case of pemphigoid gestationis and intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy, will be confirmed by specific immunofluorescence and laboratory findings. While polymorphic and atopic eruptions of pregnancy are distressing only to the mother because of pruritus, pemphigoid gestationis may be associated with prematurity and small-for-date babies and intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy poses an increased risk for fetal distress, prematurity, and stillbirth. Corticosteroids and antihistamines control pemphigoid gestationis, polymorphic and atopic eruptions of pregnancy; intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy, in contrast, should be treated with ursodeoxycholic acid. This review will focus on the new classification of pregnancy dermatoses, discuss them in detail, and present a practical algorithm to facilitate the management of the pregnant patient with skin lesions.

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    ABSTRACT: Pregnancy is frequently associated with major skin changes. Some of these changes are attributed to pregnancy-specific dermatoses, which often are overlooked and misdiagnosed by physicians. We discuss four major pregnancy-specific dermatoses: pemphigoid gestationis; pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy; prurigo of pregnancy; and pruritic folliculitis of pregnancy. Accurate diagnosis and management is crucial, not only to alleviate symptoms, but also to estimate correctly the risk for the fetus.
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    ABSTRACT: Family physicians usually follow up pregnancies in which no special incidences are expected to occur. Cutaneous pruritus is a common symptom in pregnant women, on most occasions without further consequences. However, noteworthy is a group of very rare pathologies known as pregnancy dermatoses, some of which may have potentially severe complications, mainly for the fetus and the pregnancy outcome, and also, to a lesser degree, for the mothers and other future pregnancies. It is essential to know how to manage the pruritus, and how to take an adequate clinical history in order to diagnose these severe conditions. The case of a pregnant woman who consulted for pruriginous dermatoses (pemphigoid gestationis) is presented to illustrate this topic. A description of the diagnostic process, differential diagnosis, treatment and outcome, is included.
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    ABSTRACT: Pemphigoid gestationis is a rare, autoimmune blistering dermatosis of pregnancy. No increase in fetal or maternal mortality has been demonstrated, but a greater prevalence of premature and small-for-gestationalage babies has been reported. Topical and systemic corticosteroids and antihistamines are the manstay of treatment. The authors report a case of a 27-year-old woman at 28-weeks gestation with sudden onset of pruriginous vesicles and blisters in the abdomen and limbs. Systemic corticosteroids were introduced and maintained throughout gestation to prevent flares and tapered after the birth of a healthy child.
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