How to Prevent Thigh Chafing During Pregnancy

ben bunting BA(Hons) PgCert Sport & Exercise Nutriton  Written by Ben Bunting: BA(Hons), PGCert.


Thigh chafing during pregnancy can be very uncomfortable. The condition is usually caused by the changes in walking patterns that occur during pregnancy. These changes cause more friction between the thighs, leading to the so-called pregnancy waddle. Luckily, there are several options for treatment that may help to ease the discomfort.

What Causes Thigh Chafing?

Chafing on the thighs is a common problem, especially if you're running or exercising for long periods. The heat from these activities increases the likelihood of your thighs becoming irritated, making the chafing even worse. You can prevent thigh chafing by wearing appropriate clothing and staying hydrated. You should also avoid wearing clothes with large inner seams such as denim because they can cause friction against your skin.

If you notice that your thigh is becoming irritated and reddened, it's important to get it checked out by a doctor. Chafing can be a sign of a skin infection, particularly if you have diabetes. The symptoms include redness, sensitivity to heat, pus, and bleeding from the affected area.

Prevention is always better than a cure, and chafing can be prevented by avoiding activities that make you sweat a lot, or exercising during high heat. When you know you'll be walking for long periods of time, wear anti-chafing shorts to help prevent your thighs from rubbing against one another. You can also use pre-applied cream to help prevent irritation.

Another home remedy for chafing is to apply antibacterial ointment to the affected area. You can find this in generic and private label versions. You can also apply a cold compress to soothe the chafed skin.


Thigh chafing is a very common ailment during pregnancy, and can be extremely uncomfortable. The body undergoes so many changes throughout the nine months of pregnancy, including an increase in body weight, increased sweating, and morning sickness. These changes can lead to a multitude of unpleasant side effects, including thigh chafing, which is completely avoidable.

Symptoms of thigh chafing include:

  • A sore feeling between the legs that becomes worse with activity
  • Stinging sensation of the area, especially when showering
  • Burst blood vessels from friction which create a redness 
  • Dark areas from previous scar tissue
  • Blisters
  • Itchiness as the area heals
  • A lack of hair as it isn't able to grow

Causes of chaffing

The cause of chafing is often excessive perspiration, or improper fit of clothing. It can also be caused by high heat, high humidity, or fabrics that do not wick moisture.

Or it is a result simply because your thighs are rubbing together, this could be due to the size of your thighs either because of excess fat or large muscle development. 

Furthermore, it could be due to your skeletal or joint configuration meaning that your knees may 'adduct', ie move inwards rather than inline with your body when you walk. Corrective shoes or insoles may help with this.

Activities may play a part. Runners often experience chaffing as the skin is repeatedly rubbing for long periods of time, and the salt from perspiration can also leave a residue on your skin causing further friction and discomfort. 

Wearing heavy clothing that will create heat around the legs, or clothing with rough, coarse materials such as thick cotton with seams can be an issue.


Thigh chafing can be a painful problem during pregnancy. Fortunately, there are a number of steps pregnant women (or all people alike) can take to relieve the discomfort and prevent it from getting worse. First of all, they should wear loose-fitting clothes as these are less likely to cause chafing. Avoid wearing fabrics such as cotton that can will absorb moisture and hold is making mterials even more coarse and uncomfortable. Wearing supportive tights can also minimize friction in the thighs.

The first step is to keep the affected area clean and dry. Avoid soaps that contain harsh chemicals, as they can irritate the skin. Also, don't rub the affected area too much. This can lead to open sores and blisters. Another option is applying aloe vera gel or petroleum jelly to the affected area, the latter can be applied before any activity to provide a barrier to reduce friction. Chafing is rarely a serious problem, but it is always best to prevent it if possible because if it is left over time it can create darkened areas of skin that will become harder and unsightly.

Athletic trunks/shorts

Pregnant women should try to wear clothing that prevents their thighs from touching. Specifically designed clothing is necessary to avoid chafing during pregnancy. 

A good example are the polyester fabric athletic undershorts with long legs. These will fit snugly over your thighs and prevent them from rubbing. The material wicks away moisture to keep the area dry. However, be sure to change your underwear daily and more regularly if you are commited to regular exercise regimes. 


One discreet way to avoid thigh chafing during pregnancy is to wear anti-chafing bandalettes. These bands are made from soft materials that prevent friction between your thighs and clothing. They can be found in a variety of colors and are virtually invisible under your clothing.

Bandalettes are made from delicate stretch lace, which eliminates chafing and rubbing. Silicone strips on the underside of the bands secure the garment. These products can also be used to prevent chafing while wearing tight-fitting jeans and other loose clothing. They can be adjusted to be placed in the area which causes the most discomfort. This option may be considered less unsightly than wearing a pair of sports trunks/shorts underwear. 

Barrier Creams

Chafing is a common problem for pregnant women. The inner thighs are especially susceptible to the condition. They are prone to uncomfortable chafing and can be incredibly sore and irritated.

Luckily, the condition is easily preventable with the right aftercare. Some people are more prone to this problem than others, so you should make sure to take care of your thighs properly and apply a lubricant to prevent it.

If chafing does occur, you can reduce the pain by applying anti-chafing cream or petroleum jelly. Applying lubricant can help prevent skin irritation by creating a barrier between your skin and your clothing. It can also help to reduce friction.

Creams and barrier gels/ointments are versatile and can be used in different areas of the body such as under the armpits or prevet blisters on the feet. 

While there are the typical tubes of creams and gels, there are other applicators such as sticks or sprays that can make the application process a little more convenient.

Tape or Strips

In a similar vein to creams, gels or even sprays you can also buy tape and strips that you stick to the affected areas that provide a physical barrier between your skin. 

Zinc oxide tape has traditionally been used by walkers, hikers and military personnel to prevent blisters to their feet. Similar products are now available that aren't quite as rudimentary but effectively do the same thing. 

These products have a strong adhesion that are resistant to sweat so they stay affixed and in place. At the end of the day you can peel them off and throw them away.  


One easy and affordable option is to use baby powder or talc. You can also buy specialized talc for runners which will work well during pregnancy. Using talc is effective because it can quickly absorb moisture. It also reduces friction. Apply a liberal amount before heading out of the house. However, be sure only to use it when wearing trousers otherwise it may become visible if wearing shorts or a skirt. 


Chafing between the thighs is a painful problem that can cause irritation, rashes, and blisters. It happens when the skin rubs against itself, especially during repetitive exercise. Some common areas that are especially prone to chafing are the groin, inner thighs, and armpits. Carrying extra weight or excess muscle mass can also make chafing worse. If you want to avoid chafing, try to stay cool and dry while exercising. You can also try applying anti-chafing powder to the chafed area. Anti-chafing powders absorb moisture and keep the skin cooler.

Another solution is to wear anti-chafing shorts. These are generally concealed under other clothes and are moisture-wicking. They also allow your thighs to breathe. Other options are compression shorts or biker shorts. Using these clothes can help prevent thigh chafing and reduce irritation.

Anti-chafing lotions are also a good option. These lotions form a protective film over the skin, which reduces friction between the parts. Look for a formula containing zinc oxide or silica. Another option is to apply an antiperspirant to the inner thighs.

If you are exercising in hot weather, make sure to wear breathable shorts. They prevent the thighs from rubbing against each other. Choose thin shorts made of quick-dry fabrics to prevent chafing. Cotton tends to hold on to moisture, which can irritate the skin.

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