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Changes to Expect in Your Skin While You’re Pregnant

Changes will occur throughout your entire body when you become pregnant, but among the most noticeable and visible are the changes that occur on your skin. These changes arise from the increase in your hormone levels and often the changes you notice will be harmless. Most often all of these changes disappear or clear up once you give birth, but it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor regarding anything you’re unsure of.

Skin Discolorations

Your skin can become pigmented or discoloured in a few areas of your body and while it may look alarming, it is just a reaction to your increased hormones. Existing moles can become darker, as can your nipples and genitals. Patches of brownish skin, called melasma, may appear on your cheeks and forehead; this is also known as a pregnancy mask. Another area discolouration occurs is the line that runs down your abdomen from your belly button which is called linea nigra.

Rashes and Itching

As your skin stretches and higher levels of hormones course through your body, your skin may become more sensitive and prone to irritation. The perfumes, soaps, and detergents you normally use may now irritate your skin forcing you to switch to gentler brands. Allergies and bug bites may be more severe or could present themselves differently on your skin. You may experience some itching or even develop minor rashes, and while this is normal, you should see your doctor if symptoms worsen or persist.

Existing skin condition such as eczema could worsen so doing what you can to keep your skin healthy and clean should reduce some of these effects. Using products for sensitive skin and keeping skin dry with talcum powder may prevent some irritation. Try to keep cool and wear breathable cotton clothes and you may be able to relieve some of the discomfort you experience.

Stretch Marks

Reddish or pinkish lines may develop on your abdomen, hips, thighs, breasts, and buttocks. This is normal but the effects can be reduced if attended to in time. They occur due to rapid weight gain, so paying attention to how quickly you’re putting on your baby weight and limiting unnecessary weight gain could reduce the severity of your stretch marks. Applying lotions which contain vitamin E and alpha-hydroxy acid can also heal your skin and reduce the appearance of these marks.

Other Changes You May Notice

Existing skin conditions, such as acne, may become more noticeable. Since your hormone levels have increased, your skin could be producing more oils which may affect the appearance of your skin. This, along with some water retention, is what causes the “glowing” effect that pregnant women can have.

Varicose veins can occur but may be prevented if you avoid standing too long or taking a walk every now and then to get your blood circulating. Sitting with your feet propped up for an hour or so each day can take the strain off them and will keep your blood flowing freely.

While not everyone experiences all of these changes in their skin, being prepared for them could put your mind at ease if you do notice anything different on your body. Do not hesitate to ask your doctor about anything you’re concerned about and keep in mind that most of these discomforts will disappear once your baby comes.

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