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Not every part of pregnancy is glamorous, especially for the women suffering from PUPPs during pregnancy.

What is PUPPS?

Pupps, PUPPP (pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy) also known as PEP (polymorphic eruption of pregnancy) is an itchy rash that develops on your belly, normally during the third trimester. It generally starts inside of stretch marks and spreads from there. For the most part, it feels a little like poison ivy on your pregnant belly. PUPPS affect around 1 out of every 150 women according to What to Expect. It sucks.

How did I previously manage PUPPS?

I had PUPPs during both of my pregnancies. During my first pregnancy, it got so bad that I had itched until I bled a few times. I learned a few tips during that pregnancy that helped manage the need to scratch, but the rash didn’t go away until after my baby was born. This included loose fitting, lightweight cotton shirts, staying away from chemicals that were irritating (especially in laundry detergents and lotions), and a lot of oil. At the worst of times I learned to rub, not itch.

How did I get the PUPPS rash to disappear?

I had hoped to escape the itchy PUPPS rash this pregnancy, but when I entered my third trimester, it came back with a vengeance. I tried all my old ways of management, but the itching was keeping me awake at night. Everywhere I looked online only told me remedies I had already tried. On top of that, many advised steroid creams and medicines, which this natural momma did not want to try. So, I continued searching and came across two items that worked perfectly in conjunction with each other – pine tar soap and sesame oil.

Yes. That’s all it took to get my rash to go away – within a week or so! 

Pine tar soap has a long history and smells a bit like a campfire. It has been used to treat other skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis, and to relieve itching caused by bug bites or dandruff. It has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties and is anti-inflammatory. As I researched more and more about this old school remedy for other skin conditions, I decided to find some and test it out for myself. It worked very well to relieve the itching and inflammation on my belly. I also noticed the little rash bumps were drying up and not forming little blisters like before.

Here is where you can get pine tar soap – Get it here:  Pine Tar Soap Bath Size, 4.25 oz, Grandpa’s Brands or on Amazon

Sesame oil helped to soothe and moisturize my belly to keep it from stretching more. Before trying sesame oil, I had used coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, argan oil, jojoba oil, almond oil and straight up vitamin E oil with no success. I felt like an oily mess that still itched. Sesame oil has antibacterial and anti-inflamatory properties as well as being rich in copper, manganese, calcium and magnesium. It is also rich in antioxidants which absorb into the skin to make it soft and nourished. The effects were almost instant after I used it on my belly. The moment I put it on my belly, the itching stopped and I could sleep at night. I began using it immediately after I showered using the pine tar soap, and within a week my rash was pretty much gone. After about a week and a half, you couldn’t even tell I had ever had a rash. PRAISE GOD!

Here is where you can get the sesame oil I use – Organic Skin Care Oil Sesame Oil 4 fl oz from Aura Cacia or on Amazon

What to avoid with PUPPS

There are some things to avoid with PUPPS that I have found to irritate the rash further. These include:

  • tight or hot clothing around your belly
  • chemicals and fragrances from lotions, laundry detergents, soaps, etc.
    • as a side note, those chemicals and fragrances can also be hormone disruptors that are not healthy during pregnancy (or even when you aren’t pregnant)
  • certain materials like spandex or rough clothing like wool
  • itching or even thinking about itching. The itching can also cause more inflammation, blisters, and scabs, which will then itch more as they heal or if they get infected.


If you are suffering from PUPPS, there is hope! This solution worked wonders for me, so if you have tried everything else, I would highly recommend the combo of pine tar soap and sesame oil. As always, though, consult your midwife or doctor, and do a skin test in case of sensitivity. By no means am I saying this will cure you, but it did take away my rash.

Other mommas and/or midwives, what remedies have you found to work during pregnancy?

How I got rid of itchy belly rash PUPPS naturally during pregnancy

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About the Author

Melissa Steindl

Melissa is a work-from-home mom of two boys. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Graphic Design from Ouachita Baptist University. Her love for Christ influences her lifestyle and work. She loves family life, cooking, art & design, gardening, DIY projects, and natural living.