198: Dealing with Rashes During Pregnancy + Breastfeeding

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If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, are you able to take the “natural route” to address chronic skin rashes like eczema or psoriasis?

I actually get asked this A LOT.

Though I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to talk about this, I figured I’d share what the deal is for pregnancy, breastfeeding OR if you plan on getting pregnant at some point in the future!

This is crucial for you to know if you’re in this boat because pregnancy and breastfeeding significantly change the options available to you.

So let’s talk about this so that you can make an educated decision ahead of you on when is the best time to start digging into your case and working on your skin!

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In this episode:

  • One big reason rashes can disappear during pregnancy
  • Things to consider in taking the alternative/natural route for skin rashes during pregnancy and breastfeeding
  • Why supplement options are so limited
  • When is the best time to address chronic skin issues?


There is extremely limited safety data for many herbs used in pregnant women which really limits your options.

Some issues like H.pylori can be passed via breast milk and even bad fungal overgrowth in mom could also trigger the same issue in baby.


Pregnant woman thinking

Dealing with Rashes During Pregnancy + Breastfeeding (FULL TRANSCRIPT)

Welcome back to episode #198 of the Healthy Skin Show!

In today’s episode, I want to share more about dealing with skin rashes when you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. This is a very common question that I get and frankly, I’m surprised that I haven’t touched on this on the show before now.

AND the answers to these questions should inform your decisions about when to start dealing with rashes — no matter if we’re talking about eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, hives, dandruff, etc. — if you PLAN on getting pregnant!

Because pregnancy and breastfeeding are game changers in terms of what is possible to work on and for some, this reality is rather sobering.

So if you’re currently pregnant, breastfeeding or planning on getting pregnant in the next year, here’s what you need to know!


Pregnant woman with baby shoes

What Can I Do For My Skin Rashes When I’m Pregnant?

For some women living with chronic skin rashes, becoming pregnant can provide some respite for their skin. Rashes will lessen or even totally disappear which makes life through pregnancy much easier.

While other women during pregnancy may find that their rashes don’t get better OR they get even worse.

There’s no surefire way to know which side of this coin you’ll land on, but there is one potential reason that explains the disappearance of rashes when you become pregnant.

And it’s progesterone!

As explained by Dr. Heather Zwickey on a previous episode of the Healthy Skin Show, estrogen levels drop as progesterone increases during pregnancy. This helps to mute or decrease your immune system response so your body doesn’t reject the fetus and thus the pregnancy can be sustained.

{Check out this episode on hormones and rashes HERE}

If you happen to be one of those people where rashes do not improve (or they get worse) while pregnant, the options available to you are incredibly limited.

Certain medications may be off the table.

And most herbs are as well!

Unfortunately if you decide during pregnancy to start tackling your rashes, there’s not a whole lot you can do unless you work directly with someone who is trained as a clinical herbalist. But even then, botanicals/herbal supplements are extremely limited especially in the first trimester.(1)

The reason is that there is extremely limited safety data for many herbs used during pregnancy. Even “natural” supplements like melatonin can be problematic.

And with some herbs — damage to the fetus is a real concern.

When women who are pregnant schedule an initial Skin Repair call with me (or my associate), they’ve come to find that our advice is often not what they want to hear.

But the reason we do not advise doing anything more than merely supportive (that’s also approved by your medical team) is for the safety of your baby.

Certain nutrients and probiotics can be part of your plan, but depending on what’s actually driving the rashes, again much of what will really make a difference will need to wait until later.


Mother with baby

Can I Work On My Skin Rashes While Breastfeeding?

Once the baby comes and things settle down, the breastfeeding phase typically starts. Some choose to breastfeed for as long as they can while others might do so for a set period of time.

While I fully support breastfeeding due to the positive impacts for both mom and baby, options are still limited for addressing rashes from a more integrative or natural perspective.

Don’t get me wrong, there are herbs and botanicals that CAN be used now that baby is here, but not like when breastfeeding ends.

AND another factor here… what has been described by previous breastfeeding clients as “going at a snail’s pace” to ramp up to appropriate, safe dosages.

This is for the safety of your baby who will likely be exposed to the botanicals used.

For some women who are really struggling, this can feel like an extraordinarily slow process over the course of weeks and months. Patience is key here!

By no means should my statements be taken to mean that you don’t have ANY options… you certainly do!

But it might entail a lot of single ingredient supplements (that are okay to use while breastfeeding) over a lengthy period of time.

Medication might also be a better option in some instances as well.

I say this to help manage your expectations so that you can make a decision based on what the road ahead typically looks like.


Woman thinking about getting pregnant

What If I Plan On Getting Pregnant?

So if you plan on getting pregnant in the foreseeable future and are currently struggling with skin rashes now, now is the best time to start working on root cause rash triggers.

The reason is that these issues can impact your body’s ability to get and sustain a healthy pregnancy (ie. nutrient deficiencies).

You don’t just look at what’s going on at the level of the skin, but also what’s driving the inflammation and stress under the surface.

Plus, you avoid turning YOUR issues into problems for your baby.

Some issues like H.pylori (if present) can be passed via breast milk and I’ve also seen pretty bad fungal overgrowth in mom end up impacting the baby as well.(2)

Getting your system better balanced may translate to fewer issues that your baby would end up needing to address as well.

So if you know that you’ve got at least 4 to 6 months ahead of when you plan on getting pregnant, THis is the time to start digging and addressing root causes.

Otherwise, you could end up struggling without many options beyond medication (especially if you don’t want to go that route).

If you’ve got any questions or thoughts to share about this, leave a comment below so I can address them.

And then share this episode with people who are pregnant, breastfeeding OR even considering getting pregnant in the future dealing with rashes. This way they don’t end up like other women I’ve spoken with who wished they’d known all of this beforehand so they could have started working on things sooner.

Thank you so much for turning in and I look forward to seeing you in the next episode!


Woman in library with reference books


  1. https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/should-women-take-supplements-while-pregnant
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3446053

There is extremely limited safety data for many herbs used in pregnant women which really limits your options.