From the Journals

Pityriasis rosea carries few risks for pregnant women



Pregnancy complications in women with pityriasis rosea (PR) were relatively minor, and included no cases of miscarriage, abortion, or fetal death, according to a review of 33 patients.

“Though generally considered benign, PR may be associated with an increased risk of birth complications if acquired during pregnancy,” and previous studies have shown increased rates of complications including miscarriage and neonatal hypotonia in these patients, wrote Julian Stashower of the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, and colleagues.

In a retrospective study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, the researchers assessed pregnancy outcomes in women who developed PR during pregnancy. They were identified from medical records at three institutions between September 2010 and June 2020. Diagnosis of PR, a papulosquamous skin eruption associated with human herpesvirus (HHV)–6/7 reactivation, was based on history and physical examination.

Overall, 8 of the 33 women (24%) had birth complications; the rates of preterm delivery, spontaneous pregnancy loss in clinically detectable pregnancies, and oligohydramnios were 6%, 0%, and 3%, respectively. The average onset of PR during pregnancy was earlier among women with complications, compared with those without complications (10.75 weeks’ gestation vs. 15.21 weeks’ gestation), but the difference was not statistically significant.

The researchers noted that their findings differed from the most recent study of PR in pregnancy, which included 60 patients and found a notably higher incidence of overall birth complications (50%), as well as higher incidence of neonatal hypotonia (25%), and miscarriage (13%).

The previous study also showed an increased risk of birth complications when PR onset occurred prior to 15 weeks’ gestation, but the current study did not reflect that finding, they wrote.

The current study findings were limited by several factors including the small sample size, retrospective design, and lack of confirmation of PR with HHV-6/7 testing, as well as lack of exclusion of atypical PR cases, the researchers noted. However, the results suggest that birth complications associated with PR may be lower than previously reported. “Further research is needed to guide future care and fully elucidate this possible association, which has important implications for both pregnant women with PR and their providers.”

The study received no outside funding. The researchers had no financial conflict to disclose.

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