Peppermint helps with pregnancy itch!
About 1% of pregnant women experience severe itching in the late stages of pregnancy. This can be extremely unpleasant. However, using a steroid cream may not the ideal choice because of potential side effects, and many pregnant women try to avoid synthetic drugs.
A 2012 Iranian triple-blind clinical trial evaluated the efficacy of 0.5% Peppermint oil as symptomatic treatment for pruritus (itch). A total of 96 women in their 2nd or 3rd trimester were assigned to either the control or the treament group. They were given either plain sesame oil, or sesame oil with 0.5% Peppermint oil. This was applied twice daily for two weeks.
Itch levels were evaluated using the visual analog scale (VAS). The severity of pruritus in the treatment group was significantly lower than in the placebo group.
Peppermint oil can thus be effective in reducing the severity of Pruritus gravidarum, or pregnancy itch. There is no indication that Peppermint oil carries any risk in pregnancy.
This is not the first case of Peppermint oil being useful in alleviating itch. See our infographic on itch from burn scars.