How to Ease the Pain of a Stretching Baby Belly

Pregnancy unleashes an arsenal of changes on your skin. Hormones, stretching, tightening, bloating and rashes can transform your once calm midsection into a ball of itchy, painful discomfort. A few lifestyle changes might be enough to relieve your symptoms, but if you continue to suffer, your doctor can prescribe medications to make you more comfortable.

Apply a light moisturizer to your skin to help ease the pain, dryness and itching caused by stretching skin. Rub calamine lotion over particularly itchy areas, recommends the American Pregnancy Association.

Hydrate well to keep your skin pliable and supple. Adequate hydration can also help prevent bloating and water retention, which further stretches already irritated skin. Aim to get at least 64 ounces of water each day, recommends the American Pregnancy Association.

Talk to your doctor about skin conditions unique to pregnancy, such as pruritic urticarial papules and plaques, prurigo of pregnancy or cholestasis. These conditions can cause bumps, painful lesions or itching and can be treated with prescription medications.

Wear loose clothing made of breathable, soft fabrics that won't rub or irritate painful stretched skin.

Wear sunscreen if you go outside with an exposed midsection. Sun exposure can exacerbate pregnancy skin conditions, especially cholasma, or darkening of the skin, according to Mary M. Murry, R.N., of