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Atopic eruption of pregnancy
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Atopic eruption of pregnancy

Contributors: Vivian Wong MD, PhD, Susan Burgin MD
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed


Atopic eruption of pregnancy (AEP) refers to a spectrum of common benign cutaneous eruptions seen in pregnancy, including eczema in pregnancy, prurigo of pregnancy (prurigo gestationis), and pruritic folliculitis of pregnancy. There may be overlapping features among the conditions. It is considered to be one of the most common causes of pruritus in pregnancy. A personal or family history of atopy and/or elevated IgE levels is frequently reported, except in pruritic folliculitis of pregnancy. A pregnancy-associated switch to a T-helper 2-mediated immune response has been postulated.

Patients report an intensely pruritic diffuse eczematous or papular rash starting before the third trimester. Diagnosis is made clinically, and may require exclusion of other pregnancy-related dermatoses. The diagnosis is benign, and no long-term impact on maternal / fetal health has been reported. However, AEP could recur with future pregnancies.


O26.90 – Pregnancy related conditions, unspecified, unspecified trimester

239101008 – Pregnancy Eruption

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Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls

  • Cholestasis of pregnancy
  • Pemphigoid gestationis
  • Polymorphic eruption of pregnancy
  • Impetigo herpetiformis (pustular psoriasis of pregnancy)
  • Exanthematous drug eruption
  • Contact dermatitis (Allergic contact dermatitis, Irritant contact dermatitis)
  • Scabies
  • Arthropod bite or sting
  • Urticaria

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Last Reviewed:02/21/2017
Last Updated:02/21/2017
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Atopic eruption of pregnancy
A medical illustration showing key findings of Atopic eruption of pregnancy (Eczema in Pregnancy) : Flexural distribution, IgE elevated, Widespread distribution, Pruritus
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