Hidradenitis Suppurativa and Pregnancy
Last updated: January 2023
When you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, there is a lot to think about. You are probably wondering about the health of your baby and what kind of parent you will be. If you have hidradenitis suppurativa (HS), you might also be worried about how your pregnancy will affect your HS.
For those who have HS, pregnancy can be a time of great fear and uncertainty. They might wonder, Will the symptoms get worse during pregnancy? Can I manage my symptoms during and after pregnancy? There are many unknowns when it comes to HS and pregnancy. But there are ways to address the condition and keep both you and your child healthy.1
With the right treatment plan, those with HS can have healthy pregnancies and give birth to healthy babies.1
Will my HS get better or worse while I am pregnant?
HS symptoms often change during pregnancy. Many studies have looked at how pregnancy affects HS. In them, about the same number of women say their HS symptoms got better as those who say their symptoms got worse. About 6 in 10 women with HS say they had a flare-up in the 6 months after having their baby.2
This is tough because you do not know if your HS symptoms will get better, get worse, or stay the same during and after pregnancy. Planning for the unknown is hard, but knowing the possible outcomes helps you prepare.2
What drug options are safe?
While there is no cure for HS, some drug options can help manage your symptoms. Topical antibiotics are typically considered the safest option for pregnant people with HS. These drugs can help reduce inflammation and pain, and they are not absorbed into your bloodstream in significant amounts.1
If topical antibiotics are not working, oral antibiotics may also be used. Make sure to speak with your doctor and make a treatment plan. Other drug options might also be available. Do not start or stop any treatments without discussing them with your doctor.1
Can I give my baby HS?
Though there seems to be a genetic aspect to HS, the condition is not contagious. You cannot give HS to your baby through breastfeeding or physical contact. But if you have severe genital HS lesions, you may need an alternative delivery plan. Your doctor can help you decide what is best for you and your child.3,4
What else can I do to help my HS symptoms during pregnancy?
You can do things to help manage your HS symptoms while you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Some of these include:4
- Stay active – Low-impact, low-intensity exercise can keep you healthy during pregnancy. These exercises minimize sweating while you are active, which can help reduce discomfort from lesions.
- Choose loose-fitting clothes – Loose clothing made from cotton or other moisture-wicking materials is best. This clothing helps reduce friction, which may trigger your symptoms.
- Keep a healthy weight – Gaining weight in pregnancy is normal. But do your best to gain only the amount recommended by your doctor. Too much weight gain can worsen your symptoms.
- Choose healthy foods and stay hydrated – Healthy nutrition helps improve overall skin health and reduce inflammation. Eating healthy also helps your baby get the nutrients they need to grow.
The most important thing you can do for yourself and your baby is treating your HS. Work with your doctor to develop a treatment plan that is right for you. Pregnancy is a time of many changes, and your HS may get better or worse during this time. Be prepared for these changes, and have a plan to manage your symptoms and keep yourself and your baby healthy.1,2,4
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