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Arch Dermatol. 1994 Jun;130(6):734-9.

Specific pruritic diseases of pregnancy. A prospective study of 3192 pregnant women.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, Hôpital Trousseau, Tours, France.



For a period of 1 year, all pregnant women presenting with itching were investigated by clinical, histologic, immunopathologic, and laboratory studies. Fifty-one of 3192 pregnant women were studied.


We identified (1) two typical cases of herpes gestationis, with an approximate incidence of one in 1700 pregnancies; (2) 22 cases of pruritus gravidarum, including five cases with a polymorphous skin eruption, with an incidence of one in 145 pregnancies; (3) 25 cases of polymorphic eruption of pregnancy, including diseases without maternal or fetal side effects and without criteria defining herpes gestationis or pruritus gravidarum, with an incidence of one in 130 pregnancies; and (4) two cases of intercurrent disease (one scabies and one exfoliative dermatitis).


Our study is a prospective homogeneous account of pruritic dermatosis of pregnancy. Our results show that the incidence of herpes gestationis is higher than is usually reported in the literature and that pruritus gravidarum must be considered in the presence of itching occurring during pregnancy, with or without skin eruption.

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