If you are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant, you may wonder how pregnancy or breastfeeding might affect your psoriasis and what treatments are safe. Fortunately, a dermatologist can be a great resource. A dermatologist or your health care provider will make sure that you are on a treatment that is safe before conception, during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
Psoriasis Changes During and After Pregnancy
Psoriasis may change during times of significant hormonal shifts like pregnancy, birth and menopause. About half of women with psoriasis experience an improvement in their symptoms during pregnancy. Some women notice no change at all, while about 10 to 20 percent of women experience a worsening of symptoms. Many women report a flare in their psoriasis shortly after delivery. It can help to discuss treatment options with your obstetrician and dermatologist in case you do experience a postpartum flare.
Psoriasis and Delivery
Let your obstetrician know that you have psoriasis and tell her about any treatments you are using. It's also important to let your provider know if you have genital psoriasis (learn more about genital psoriasis by requesting our free guide) so she can be mindful of the sensitivity of your skin. With both vaginal and C-section births, it is possible to experience the Koebner [KEB-ner] phenomenon. This is a flare in psoriasis symptoms in areas where the skin has been injured.
Treating Psoriasis While Pregnant or Breastfeeding
Many health care providers recommend women avoid psoriasis treatments altogether or use only the safest forms during conception, pregnancy and breastfeeding. Each psoriasis treatment has a different set of precautions, so it is important to work with your health care provider to decide which treatment is safest for you and your baby.
Topicals are often recommended to treat psoriasis in women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Over-the-counter products, such as moisturizers, can also help manage symptoms.
If you are breastfeeding, it is advised to use caution when applying topical treatments to the breasts to avoid passing the medication to the baby.
Treatment with UVB phototherapy is generally safe during pregnancy and is a commonly prescribed treatment for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Wearing a covering or sunscreen on the face is recommended to prevent melasma (a condition common in pregnant women that causes the appearance of brown spots).
Biologics or Oral Treatments
Some biologic or oral treatments may be appropriate for pregnant or breastfeeding women. Talk with your health care provider to determine the safety of specific biologics or oral treatments.
Treatments to Avoid
There are certain treatments that are not safe for men and women who are planning to conceive and for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Speak with your health care provider to make sure your treatment is safe for you and your growing family.