Let’s face it! We can’t all look as perfect as celebrity moms while pregnant. With their glowing skin and neat little bump, they often put us ‘normal’ ladies to shame!
Pregnancy affects your body in many different ways, both good and bad. Those pesky pregnancy hormones affect your skin and hair. Here is how your skin and hair change while you’re rocking that baby bump:
Due to increased body temperature during pregnancy, it’s not uncommon to experience heat rashes and itchy skin. Trying your best to keep cool and wearing expecting mom clothes can help alleviate this. However, if you experience intense itching, it’s a good idea to mention this to your midwife or doctor, as she may want to look into why your skin is feeling like this.
You always hear people talking about the “pregnancy glow” and how your skin looks so much healthier during pregnancy, but this isn’t the case for many women. While some women see improved skin during pregnancy, others can experience blocked pores, greasy skin, and spots due to overactive oil glands.
If your skin is oily and spot prone, pregnancy may dry your skin out slightly, making it more like a normal skin type, which means no spots. It may feel lovely while it lasts, but the chances are high that your skin will go back to its oily self after childbirth.
What actually causes the pregnancy glow?
While we’re on the subject of the “pregnancy glow,” what exactly causes it? It usually appears in your second trimester and is down to the increased amount of blood your body is producing, which gives your cheeks a healthy flush and the increased production of oil, giving your skin a dewy appearance.
Spider veins are small patches of tiny red or blue veins which can appear on the face, legs, or arms. They are caused by the increased volume of blood, which puts pressure on the capillaries beneath the skin’s surface, making them more noticeable. They’re annoying but totally harmless and can easily be covered up with makeup and should disappear once you’ve given birth. Spider veins mostly show up on your legs, but you can get them almost anywhere. While there is no way to avoid them, you can prevent them from getting worse by wearing loose-fitting maternity pants or leggings designed for pregnant women.
These are common during pregnancy and are mostly found under the arms and on the neck and breasts. They’re caused by hyperactive growth in the top layer of skin and are completely harmless. They’re not painful, although they can become irritated if they rub against tight clothing like bras. You may get a couple of skin tags during pregnancy under your arms, but they will disappear after childbirth. If they don’t go away by themselves, they can be easily removed by freezing or cauterizing. For minimizing the chances of skin tags around your breast area, it’s highly recommended you wear well-fitting maternity bras.
Pregnancy hormones can cause your moles and freckles to appear darker, and the skin around your nipples, you may experience a thin brown line down the middle of your belly. This is called the linea nigra and will fade away a few months after birth. Additionally, the inside of your belly button can also turn down, which often looks very attractive and goes away a few weeks after delivery.
Some women also notice brown or yellow patches of skin on their face during pregnancy, called chloasma or the mask of pregnancy that sounds quite scary. It is caused by the extra melanin your body produces, and it’s advised to use plenty of sunblocks to protect your skin, but it will also disappear after your baby is born.
You may notice during pregnancy that your hair becomes much thicker. This isn’t because you grow more hair when you’re pregnant, but it’s actually because your hair stops falling out.
After having your baby, your hair regains its regular cycle of growth, and the hair starts falling out as usual again, so it can seem like you’re losing loads of hair, but it’s just the hair you should have lost during your pregnancy.
As well as the hair on your head getting thicker, you may experience the hair on your face and body growing faster, too. Again, this is down to those pesky hormones and will return to a regular growth pattern afterward.
Some women may even experience the opposite of this during pregnancy. For example, the hair growth on your legs may slow down considerably to the point where it seems like it has almost stopped growing. Thus, hormones can affect your hair in different ways.
Last but not least is the thing that most pregnant women worry about, the dreaded stretch marks! Over half of all women will develop stretch marks during pregnancy. They most commonly occur on the stomach, buttocks, thighs, and breasts. They appear as red lines on the skin, which fade to a silver color and are caused by the skin being rapidly stretched, causing the middle layer of skin to break in places, allowing the deeper skin layers to show through forming stretch marks.
There’s not a lot you can do to prevent them if you’re going to get them, but keeping your skin well moisturized, trying not to gain too much weight during pregnancy, and not eating for two surely helps. Never fear though, they do fade, and at the end of the day, what’s a few stretch marks when you’ve got a beautiful baby to show for it.
If you are seriously concerned about something you are experiencing at any stage of your pregnancy, please call your doctor, midwife, obstetrician, or even take a visit to your nearest hospital. It is better to be told it’s just a massive bubble than to ignore it and have something terrible happen to you or your baby. In short, better to be safe than sorry.