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Skin Changes During Pregnancy | Hea Boosters

Your body changes a lot during pregnancy and this isn't a secret. Most of these changes are driven by altered hormone levels that help your body prepare to nurture your baby over the months to come. However, these hormonal changes can sometimes have unintended or undesirable effects on other aspects of your body such as your hair, nails, and weight.

Your skin sees a fair number of changes over the course of your pregnancy too. Expecting mothers are often complimented on their ‘pregnancy glow’ but sometimes, there are other changes that you may notice too. Most of these will go away once you have delivered your baby and while there isn’t much to worry about, it helps to know what to expect so they don’t catch you by surprise.

Skin changes during pregnancy:

1. Stretch marks:

Stretch marks are one of the most common and talked-about changes that occur during pregnancy. You may see reddish or pinkish lines that run through your belly, thighs, buttocks and breasts. They are caused by stretching of the skin and happen during the second or third trimester of pregnancy. Stretch marks eventually become lighter than your skin tone but may not vanish after delivery.

2. Pregnancy acne:

While acne does not affect every expectant mother, if you have acne-prone skin, you may have breakouts during this period. This is due to hormones like progesterone, which cause your glands to secrete more oil. Pregnancy acne goes away on its own over time. Regular cleansing and a healthy diet help in the interim.

3. Varicose Veins:

You may notice swollen, bluish veins on your legs or on the lower half of your body during your pregnancy. These are called varicose veins and are a common but usually harmless part of pregnancy for some women. They occur because of the increased volume of blood that is now circulating through your body. Your uterus also puts extra pressure on your pelvic blood vessels and in turn, on those that carry blood from your lower body back to your heart which along with the vessel.

This causes the blood vessels to swell and can cause visible bulging above the level of the skin. Avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time and move as much as possible to help blood return to your heart. Varicose veins aren’t permanent, and generally, improve and disappear within three to twelve months of delivery.

4. Linea Nigra:

This is a faint line that runs from your navel to pubic bone and is something everyone has. However, this can appear darker during your pregnancy due to the hormonal changes that you go through. Linea Nigra darkens during the fourth or fifth month of pregnancy and generally fades away once you have delivered.


5. Skin Tags:

Skin tags are small, raised growths on the skin, are generally harmless, and can be found under the arms or breasts. Skin tags are benign and they don’t get bigger, nor are they painful. Unfortunately, there is nothing that you can do to prevent these. Some disappear after you deliver but the ones that don’t can be removed with minor surgical procedures too if they bother you.

Your skin may also feel dry and itchy due to excessive stretching but this is normal. Coconut oil or other lotions that you use to moisturise your skin can help provide some relief in this case.

That said, there are a few things that you can do to ease the changes that you are experiencing.
  • Drinking enough water and other fluids will help your skin stay healthy and hydrated.
  • If you have pimples or acne, washing your face every day with a gentle cleanser will keep the dirt and grime away, reducing the chances of infections and breakouts.
  • Bathing too often can strip your skin of moisture so try and stick to shorter, lukewarm water baths as opposed to hot water showers.
  • Look for products or makeup that are oil-free and unscented since scented products can irritate your skin and oil-free products will not clog your pores.

It is natural to be concerned about the changes your body experiences during pregnancy especially when these affect your skin and are visible. Don’t let this worry you too much though. As previously mentioned, a lot of these will go away within a year of delivery. In the meantime, try and treat these as badges of honour for all the work your body is putting in to care for your baby.

Remember that these are merely a few inconvenient side effects of the things that your body needs to do to bring a new life into this world. It’s not something everyone can do and those who can, are truly privileged in every way so embrace the beauty of the journey that is motherhood and be as kind to yourself and to your body as you can.



Sources:

[1] Stretch marks formation and management:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5782435/

[2] Pregnancy acne and its effects:
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27102946/

[3] Information and perceptions of varicose veins:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK327998/

[4] Linea Nigra is affected by sex hormone levels:
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15926645/

[5] Formation of skin tags and reasons:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK547724/

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