Scabies and Pregnancy – Information and Treatment Options

Acquiring scabies while pregnant can be particularly unpleasant, especially if the scabies outbreak occurs during the late stages of pregnancy. That being said, there are many treatment options available for pregnant women with scabies. Moreover, there is no evidence suggesting that acquiring scabies while pregnant can lead to birth defects in newborn babies. So, that’s the good news.

The bad news, obviously, is that scabies is an irritating affliction that can take a toll both mentally and physically upon those who suffer from it. Moreover, scabies and pregnancy combined can be even more irritating. Still, once again, the disease is very treatable. This article will go over the four most commonly prescribed scabies treatments, and discuss them in terms of how effective and safe they are during pregnancy.

Recommended Scabies Treatments During Pregnancy


This is the most commonly prescribed treatment for scabies. It is a pregnancy category B medication, meaning that it is believed that it is safe for use during pregnancy. Permethrin is a drug that has become slightly controversial in recent years. There are two primary reasons for this controversy, and they are: 1. Permethrin is a pesticide; 2. permethrin is believed to be a weak carcinogen (cancer-causing substance).

That being said, by and large, permethrin is considered to be perfectly safe in small doses (related article: Permethrin – Behind the Controversy).

In most cases, permethrin is the first-line treatment of scabies in pregnant women. However, there are other options that may be preferable to some patients who have concerns about permethrin.

5-10% Sulfur in Petrolatum

Sulfur solutions are perhaps the second most prescribed scabies treatment for pregnant women. They are believed to be very safe, and by and large, are thought to be quite effective. Because sulfur is a natural substance, rather than a chemical, such as permethrin, it is sometimes a preferred treatment during pregnancy. However, its effectiveness has been questioned by some in the medical community.

Treatments That Aren’t Recommended


Ivermectin is perhaps the second most prescribed treatment for scabies in the industrialized world. However, it is pregnancy category C medication, meaning that adverse reactions are believed to be possible. Therefore, it is not recommended during pregnancy.


Lindane is another scabies medication that is not recommended during pregnancy. Its toxicity levels are quite high and it could have adverse effects on the fetus. Moreover, due to the aforementioned high-toxicity levels of lindane, it is seldom prescribed anywhere in the industrialized world anymore.

Scabies and Pregnancy – Conclusion

Permethrin and sulfur solutions are the two primary treatments prescribed to pregnant women. Even though there are other treatments for scabies available, they are unlikely to be prescribed during pregnancy.

Scabies and Pregnancy – Related Reading: Scabies and Breastfeeding, Scabies in Children, Permethrin –Behind the Controversy, Scabies Cream Application, Disinfecting the Household after a Scabies Infestation.

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