A new mother was left distraught after discovering she was allergic to her own newborn baby.

28-year-old Joanne Mackie developed painful blisters and an agonizing rash shortly after giving birth to her only son James.

The painful welts across her back, legs, arms and chest caused her so much pain that she couldn't even hold her newborn child, and was forced to cover her arms in muslin cloth.

A skin biopsy revealed that Joanne had Pemphigoid Gestationis - a rare skin disease caused by an allergic reaction to her baby. The condition, which is believed to affect one in 50,000 pregnancies, develops when antibodies that work against normal body proteins appear during pregnancy.

Joanne was treated with a strong course of steroids, while her husband Robert, 37, cared for the baby.

Only a month later, when her rashes and blisters had subsided, she was finally able to hold her baby without feeling any pain. Now, 11 month's on, the rash is gone, although Joanne's skin has been left scarred with dark patches where the blisters used to form.

The couple is unlikely to have another baby in case the condition returns.

Joanne, of Erdington, WestMidlands, said: "The doctors had warned me that the condition could go on for years. The idea of not being able to hold James for that long was unbearable. At first, when I was told I was allergic to my own baby I thought it was some sort of joke. But when it sank in I was totally devastated. In felt like my world had caved in."

"It was such a hearbreaking time. I had to watch while my husband gave our son his first bath, and in those first few weeks when James cried I had to watch as my husband picked him up to comfort him instead of me. I was worried that I might pass on the rash to James but I was told that I couldn't pass it on to him."

Joanne's problem arose the morning after James was born, when he was first breastfed by his mother. She noticed her palms were tingling, and the next day red blotchy rashes spread all over her body.

She added: "For weeks I had to wrap damn towels round my arms to feed James from a bottle - but it just made the rash worse. I was left in floods of tears. I have been told there is a 95 per cent chance I will get this in my next pregnancy and this time the doctors say it could affect the baby. Iam not sure I could put myself though it all again."

"But I have learned that a cuddle from your own child is the most precious thing in the world. Now I can cradle my little lad it's heaven. I never want to let him go."

Husband Robert added: "It was heartbreaking to see how upset Joanne was. But when the time finally came for her to be able to cuddle James without feeling any pain it was such a special moment which neither of us will ever forget."

[via DailyMail]