If you had told me that my psoriasis would actually get better while I was pregnant, I would have laughed in your face.
I heard all the stories. I read all the research. But I still didn’t believe it. Because psoriasis is such a complicated disease, you never know what to expect. Throw in pregnancy hormones and increased stress levels, and you can kiss any sort of flare-free, stress-free life goodbye.
Cue my first pregnancy. I not only had to deal with the common pregnancy stressors — hormones, eating right, daily aches and pains, sleepless nights, food aversions, vitamins, exercise, and, oh, the fact that I’m carrying another life inside me — I also had to deal with managing my psoriasis and common psoriasis irritants, which tend to be weather changes, diet, stress, etc.
But I did survive my first pregnancy while having psoriasis. So I’m here to tell you that it’s definitely doable and totally worth it. Just follow my easy tips and recommendations.
1. Every pregnancy is different. This is really important to understand and accept. Similar to how psoriasis is different for every person, pregnancy and psoriasis will be completely different for each person as well. So quit comparing yourself to the marathon momma who had the best pregnancy ever with no psoriasis flare-ups. You are your own beautiful person.
2. You can survive without your medicine. Because pregnant women have to stop almost all medications, this can sometimes cause a flare-up, not to mention stress. But you will survive the next nine months without it.
3. Lotion is your friend. Aveeno (aveeno.com) makes some really good all-natural, fragrance-free lotion that I used religiously throughout my pregnancy and continue to use. Apply directly after you shower or bathe. This locks in moisture for your dry skin. Another good alternative is Parry’s Botanical Line (parrybotanicals.com).
4. Sulfate-free shampoo is your next best friend. This has been a life-saver for me. I love the OGX line of sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners (ogxbeauty.com). Sulfates in regular shampoos are known to irritate psoriasis, so sulfate-free shampoos are a great option to minimize flakes and decrease itchiness.
5. Exercise. You’ve heard it before, and I’m going to say it again. Exercise does a body good, especially when you’re pregnant and have psoriasis. Go for a walk around the block. Do prenatal yoga. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Exercise doesn’t have to be a five-mile run or strength training.
6. Find support groups. Join Facebook groups that offer support for pregnant women. I love Mommywood and Overcoming Psoriasis. When you’re up at 2 a.m., these groups will keep you (relatively) sane.
7. Your psoriasis most likely will return. Some women report their pregnancy cleared their psoriasis. If you’re one of them, congratulations. But the majority continue to have psoriasis after pregnancy. Talk to your dermatologist about restarting your medications and/or next steps.
Now you have the tools to ensure you have a happy, healthy and stress-free pregnancy while managing psoriasis. There may be some setbacks or days you just feel like crying, and that’s OK. I had those days, too. Continuing to take care of yourself and your new bundle of joy is the best thing you can do for you and your psoriasis.
Photo by Lulu Lopez Photography
Driving Discovery, Creating Community
This year, we’re celebrating 50 years of driving efforts to cure psoriatic disease and improve the lives of those affected. See how far we’ve come with this timeline of NPF’s history. But there’s still plenty to do, and we can’t do it without you! Learn how you can help our advocacy team shape the laws and policies that affect people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis – in your state and across the country. Help us raise funding to promote research into better treatments and a cure by joining Team NPF, where you can walk, run, cycle, play bingo or even create your own DIY event. Contact our Patient Navigation Center for free, personalized support for living a healthier life with psoriatic disease. And keep the National Psoriasis Foundation going strong by making a donation today! Together, we will find a cure.