Pregnant Woman's Horrific Rash Caused by Rare Allergy -- to Her Fetus!

pregnant bellyThere are some women that love being pregnant. I have one friend with five kids that even loves the whole labor process. Other women (like me) might like the idea of growing a human in theory, but don’t care for the whole process of it. Seriously -- I missed my ankles too much to thoroughly enjoy pregnancy. Then there are the women that are allergic to it.

Yes! Allergic to pregnancy. Zuleika Closs, 26, developed a burning, itchy rash all over her body while she was pregnant with her now four-month-old son Emmanuel. They came on when she was about 20 weeks pregnant, and while they are still fading, she will likely have scars for the rest of her life.


Doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong with her, and one ex-nurse even suggested she bathe in diluted bleach. Somehow, the idea of soaking my fetus-loaded body in bleach doesn't seem like the best idea, but I can imagine that any effort to stop the painful itching Zuleika experienced would be met with consideration.

It was so bad that she was scratching her skin off!

“At first, it felt like something was crawling on my skin but then it became unbearable," said Closs, from Falmouth, Cornwall. “My feet were the worst. I scratched so hard that large chunks of skin kept falling off. It was peeling off like orange peel.”

The condition affected her and her partner Nathan Darbyshire, 23, financially as well, because he’s a care worker and was afraid of passing the “scabies” to colleagues and patients. Even after Emmanuel was born, this poor mama was scared to hold him for fear of infecting him.

She finally saw a doctor who was able to diagnose her with an autoimmune pregnancy disorder called Pemphigoid gestationis. It happens when placenta tissue enters the mother’s bloodstream and reacts with her immune system, and it’s believed to only affect one in two million pregnancies worldwide.

Zuleika says she sometimes has flashbacks to her pregnancy and she fears having more children someday, but she only has to glance at her son to feel that it was “worth it.”

What was your worst pregnancy symptom?


Image via Contra Costa Times/Flickr

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