A Scottish woman reportedly discovered she was suffering an allergic reaction to her own pregnancy.
Fiona Kerrigan, 25, of Port Glasgow, Inverclyde, was entering the third trimester of her first pregnancy when she began to develop red, rash-like stretch marks on her belly, according to the Daily Mirror.
"I got a few stretch marks across my bump – they were red and itchy, and then they started to get bumpy and raised," Kerrigan, a receptionist for a private healthcare company, told the Daily Mirror.
"From there it spread like wildfire," she continued. "The rash started from the stretch marks on my bump, and spread to the rest of my body. I had angry red patches all over my body—it was everywhere, all over my arms and legs and even the palms of my hands."
(Stretch marks on Fiona Kerrigan's pregnant belly. Photo Credit: Caters via Daily Mirror)
When the condition started to get worse, the expectant mother sought out medical care. She was eventually diagnosed with Polymorphic Eruption of Pregnancy (PEP), a skin disorder that reportedly affects one out of about 200 pregnant women.
"The way the doctor described [PEP] to me was that my skin had stretched so far, to the absolute limit – so far that some of the baby's cells had started to mix with my own, causing a reaction," Kerrigan said.
"Essentially, I was allergic to my pregnancy," she added.
The rash first appeared in late 2014 when Kerrigan was six months into her pregnancy. She gave birth to a healthy baby boy, Leon, in January 2015. The infant was born weighing 7 pounds, 2 ounces after being induced two weeks early.
Kerrigan treated her rash with steroid ointment and moisturizing lotion prescribed by a dermatologist, as well as a product called Remescar that is used to hide scars and stretch marks.
She said it took a year for her to get her skin back to normal.
"But as horrible as it was, it was all worth it in the end – as soon as I held my son I forgot all about it, and I'd have another baby even knowing it might happen again," she said.
"Now I've finally got my body back, I've got a healthy baby boy and I couldn't be happier," she added.
The U.K.'s National Health Service recommends that women experiencing mild itching during pregnancy wear loose-fitting clothing and use moisturizing lotion or a cool bath to relieve the itching.