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

Say What!? 55

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

complications, motherhood, pain management, pregnancy health, pregnancy symptoms


To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

nonmember avatar Ashley

I didn't know this was possible, but I wonder of this is what I'm experiencing myself.. I itch so bad and constantly that I am literally scratching my own skin off. Nothing helps, not creams or lotions or even benadryl... I'm miserable and I feel like I look gross since I have cuts and scrapes from itching so intensely all over my body... I'm actually going to bring this up to my Dr... Thank you for posting this.

jhslove jhslove time I got a little queasy, but then I ate a couple of Wheat Thins and lay down and I felt better. Seriously, I was blessed with a very easy pregnancy.

Oh wait, I also had migraines. Not necessarily a pregnancy symptom, since I get them even when I'm not pregnant, but the difference was that during pregnancy I couldn't take my prescription migraine medication. So one of the migraines lasted for six days. Okay, THAT was my worst pregnancy symptom.

Reepi... Reepicheep.CSL

One of my friends suffered from this when pregnant with her son. I felt so badly for her.

Weezy... WeezySueWong

I somewhat know her pain.  During my first pregnancy I suffered from PUPPP in my third trimester, it was horrible and there was no relief, my belly was so tight that it was difficult to scratch, so I would scratch myself with anything "sharp-like" I could find, whether it be a hard bristle hair brush or a small paring knife.  It was only on my belly, but with her having the rashes all over her body, I can only imagine her suffering.

I was scared when I got pregnant with my second child that I was going to have the same problem again, but fortunately I did not. 

nonmember avatar Mal

I had PUPPP during my pregnancy and slept with a fork because the itching was so bad. I'm still scarred and my daughter is three. If anyone has this issue, there is a cheap soap out there that I SWEAR worked. Many women who have had PUPPP recommended it to me. It's called grandpas brand pine tar soap. After using it daily it made the itching go away a lot!!! Here is the link below. It's only 4 bucks on gnc. It is amazing. Google about it and try it. It's 4 bucks. It smells bad lol. But it works wonders and I did not mind the smell or a few minutes in the shower because it seriously made the itching go away.

wamom223 wamom223

Throwing up and dry heaving.  After doing it in front of a customer I took the leave of absence offered to me.

nonmember avatar Tawnya

I had this. It is called PUPPPS. It is terrible. I had then everywhere. They are similar to small chicken pox.

amyse... amysezsmile

I suffered from this. When I had it, it had a really really long name and was shortened to PUPPS. My son is now 6.5 and I still have scars. Despite the absolute agony I was in, I still think he was worth every moment and went on to have two more children. I did not have a re-occurence; thank goodness!

amyse... amysezsmile

Ashley, try a burasol wash and hydrocortisone cream as well as a half of a anti histamine. It won't completely stop the agony, but it will soothe the rash somewhat. Also, cool baths help as well. DO NOT do the anti itch bath solution of the past, you know the oatmeal in a nylon, it makes it worse cause it is super dry and itchier when you get out of the tub. Good luck, I know your pain!

nonmember avatar NavyWife

PUPPPS. I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy. Constant, neverending itching? Ugh. I'm pregnant now and if I get it again, I'm just going to skin myself.

1-10 of 55 comments 12345 Last