Atopic Dermatitis and Allergic Contact Dermatitis in Pregnancy

  • Stephanie L. Mawhirt
  • Luz FonacierEmail author


Atopic dermatitis (AD) and allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) involve cell-mediated immune mechanisms with overlapping pathophysiology and manifestations. Atopic dermatitis is a chronic, inflammatory, and pruritic skin disease due to a complex interplay of immunopathology, environmental factors, and inherent skin barrier defects. Allergic contact dermatitis encompasses an inflammatory skin reaction which develops through external allergenic skin exposures, subsequently leading to immunologic inflammatory pathways. Both dermatoses may occur in the pregnant patient, either as a new diagnosis or an exacerbation of pre-existing disease, resulting in significant emotional distress and adversely impacting a patient’s quality of life. Appropriate diagnosis of new-onset pruritus with or without skin rash in the pregnant patient is important since there are pregnancy-specific dermatoses (i.e., polymorphic eruption of pregnancy, intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy) which may require prompt treatment in order to prevent adverse maternal and/or fetal outcomes. Fetal prognosis is generally not affected by maternal AD or ACD. However, treatment options for AD and ACD are relatively limited in the pregnant patient, given the potential fetal adverse effects of several therapeutic options, especially for moderate-to-severe cases.


Atopic dermatitis Eczema Atopic eruption of pregnancy Allergic contact dermatitis Pruritus Topical corticosteroids Patch test 



Allergic contact dermatitis


Atopic dermatitis


Atopic eruption of pregnancy


Patch test or patch testing


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Rheumatology, Allergy, and ImmunologyNYU-Winthrop HospitalMineolaUSA

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