Psoriasis can affect each pregnancy differently. Some have said their psoriasis gets better, some say it worsens and some say it stays the same. No matter what category you fit into, just know that you are not alone. There are numerous other women going through the same the thing.
Here I speak to two other women and we share how psoriasis affected us during different stages of our pregnancies. We share some of our favorite skin care products, and offer advice on how to handle your psoriasis during one of the most exhilarating (and hormone-filled) times of your life.
Summer Scirocco, a psoriasis blogger at Fight the Flare, developed psoriasis after her pregnancy.
Joni Ruth, a psoriasis blogger at Just a Girl With Spots, had psoriasis before, during, and after her pregnancy.
I have had psoriasis since I was 15. So, like Ruth, I’ve had it, pre-, during, and post-pregnancy.
To see your derm, or not to see your derm
Ruth didn’t see her dermatologist throughout her pregnancy.
“Mostly because I didn’t really like the doctor I had been seeing in the city. He was quick to get me in and out, never wanted to discuss alternative treatments, and just wanted to send me on my way with a prescription,” Ruth says. “With my second pregnancy, I still never found a new doctor because I wasn’t satisfied from my last experience. But I shouldn’t have let that stop me.”
Ruth says she wishes she would’ve developed an open relationship with her doctor, so she would feel comfortable seeing him or her throughout her pregnancy.
Though Summer didn’t have psoriasis during her pregnancy, she says she would continue seeing her doctor should she get pregnant again.
“I went misdiagnosed for a very long time. I didn’t have access to good health care in my small town and getting in to see the dermatologist is a year-long wait,” Summer recounts. “I decided to see a dermatologist in Baton Rouge. But when I finally received the diagnosis of psoriasis, I was so covered that I could not walk. It was too late.”
She wishes she would have looked into her symptoms sooner.
“This was my first child, and because so many doctors just assume new moms are depressed or tired, my psoriatic symptoms were overlooked. Just a little more digging into my symptoms would’ve shown my psoriatic arthritis. Then we could’ve had an early start on treatment when the psoriasis did present itself.”
I also wish I had continued seeing my dermatologist during my first pregnancy. I was naive and thought I didn’t need to because I stopped medication. But continuing to have an open and honest conversation with your doctor from the beginning is vital to your treatment plan. You will have a benchmark on what your psoriasis is during all stages of pregnancy.
I continue to see my dermatologist throughout my current pregnancy. I was previousl undergoing light therapy for my scalp psoriasis and was even told that I could continue that during my pregnancy. I would have never known that had I not continued seeing my dermatologist.
The best advice we could give
There are a lot of dermatologists out there, so seeing a dermatologist who specializes in psoriasis will be one of the best things you can do. And continuing to see them throughout your pregnancy should be the next step in your treatment plan.
“Don’t disregard your feelings,” Summer says. “I had so much fatigue, joint pain, and swelling. But I just pushed it aside because I thought those were just symptoms that happen after having a baby.”
“Because I went misdiagnosed for a long time,” she says. “My psoriasis symptoms weren’t under control the right way. I couldn’t do the things a parent should be able to do for their child. I couldn’t hold [my daughter] for very long, or carry her or even bend over to take a bath. The fatigue and pain drained everything out of me. I had to quit a job I loved and every medication that I tried didn’t work.”
Summer says seeing a dermatologist and talking through her symptoms would have helped her get treatment sooner.
Ruth says she wishes she would have talked about a post-partum treatment plan.
“The baby lost a lot of weight after she was born, so they had me pumping before we even left the hospital. As most new moms know, pumping isn’t always easy if you’ve never done it before. I left the hospital recovering from a C-section and already stressed out about making sure [my daughter] was eating enough.”
Ruth says putting together a treatment plan post pregnancy would have helped even out her stress levels, which is a big trigger for her.
How is your psoriasis now?
Six months post-partum, Ruth’s flares have finally started to diminish a little. “It’s on the more mild/moderate side, so I am just treating with coconut oil and shea butter lotion,” she says.
I am currently in my third trimester and my flare ups have worsened on my elbows and scalp. I am using Aveeno lotion enriched with shea butter for my elbows. I also found a clay shampoo that seems to be helping with my scalp psoriasis. I’m just taking it one day at a time.
Summer says her psoriasis is currently under control with medication.
Skincare products that worked for us
When I was pregnant with my first son, I splurged on my favorite skin care line. It’s more than I typically spend on a skin care product, but since I stopped most medication, I wanted to do this nice thing for myself. It is the Shisieido Ibuki line from Sephora. From Japanese, the word Ibuki translates to ‘breath,’ however the combination of Japanese symbols used to form ibuki mean inner strength. I love that Ibuki helps “strengthen skin’s resistance for clean and stable skin every day.” I’m also an Aveeno fanatic.
Ruth says: “I stick to coconut oil on my skin and a tea tree shampoo. I was really anxious about putting anything else on or into my body (during pregnancy). But these products are all natural and perfect for my skin!”
“Coconut oil and shea butter are my best friends!” Summer says. “I also moisturize as soon as I step out of the shower. That way my body locks in the moisture and keeps my skin hydrated.”
During your pregnancy, try not to stress out about your psoriasis. I promise, it’s possible! Instead, concentrate on the truly amazing feat your body is going through — you’re growing a human life. That’s an incredible thing to relish in! So go ahead and splurge on your favorite skin care products, and continue seeing your dermatologist. Your body — and psoriasis — will thank you in the future.
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Sabrina Skiles is a fashion, lifestyle, and psoriasis blogger. She started her blog, Homegrown Houston, as a platform for her love of fashion, offering a style resource for those living with psoriasis. She also shares her adventures (and mishaps!) in motherhood and marriage. In managing psoriasis for the last 15 years, Sabrina has had experience with a wide range of treatments and environments – so she understands and reflects many of the day-to-day challenges psoriasis patients face. Sabrina is also a volunteer mentor and coach for the National Psoriasis Foundation, providing guidance for those newly diagnosed.