Pregnancy brings a lot of changes to the female body. And while a lot more goes on internally, the more obvious changes occur on the skin. These changes may be a source of anxiety for some women as their skin undergoes what some would call drastic changes. Together, we would go through some of the changes we might see on the skin during pregnancy.
What are some changes we might see on the skin during pregnancy?
Hyperpigmentation and linea nigra: The linea nigra is a dark line that runs down the middle of the tummy. It starts from just below the breast to the pubic hair. It is a part of the hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin) which occurs due to hormonal changes. This darkening is more noticeable on inner thighs, genitals, the skin around the base of the nipple (areola) and neck. It usually clears up after childbirth. However, some dark spots do not go away. Wearing sunscreen and hats when you are outdoors may help out too.
Stretch marks: As the baby keeps growing, the growth stretches the overlying skin. It leads to stretch marks, especially in areas of heavy growth – like the belly, breasts, and thighs. This is one of the most common skin changes in pregnancy and is more noticeable in the third trimester. Sometimes they itch – in fact, some women might still experience itching after childbirth. While it does not have a definite cure, most of them fade after birth. Some sources claim that using heavy moisturizers may be of help.
Varicose veins: As the baby keeps growing bigger, its increased weight causes a decrease in blood flow from your legs back to your heart. This causes pooling of blood in the legs and the appearance of varicose veins. Thankfully, they usually clear up after delivery. Some ways that you can reduce this occurrence is by moderate exercise, propping your legs on a footstool, and wearing a pressure stockings.
Acne/pimples: A less common complaint of pregnancy, pimples are a result of hormonal changes in the body. They can be treated by washing your face twice daily with mild soaps and lukewarm water. You should also avoid oil-based skin products and picking/popping of oil pores. Some products should however be avoided during pregnancy. These include:
- Hormonal therapy
- Oral tetracyclines, as it increases the risk of tooth discoloration in children.
- Any product with isotretinoin, a form of Vitamin A as it can increase the risk of congenital anomalies in the child.
You may never experience any of these changes. If you notice any changes on your skin asides from these, please consult your doctor as soon as possible.
ACOG; 23/06/2020; https://www.acog.org/patient-resources/faqs/pregnancy/skin-conditions-during-pregnancy
Amy O’Connor; 23/06/2020; https://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/symptoms-and-solutions/skin-changes.aspx