SKIN & HAIR – HOW PREGNANCY EFFECTS THEM?

What changes does the body undergo during pregnancy?

Pregnancy is considered a magical time in every woman’s life. It is a time of physical and emotional change for women. A pregnant woman’s body undergoes several physical changes that can be quite subtle. The hormonal and physiological changes that come with pregnancy are unique. During this stage, a woman experiences dramatic increases in estrogen and progesterone. Everything from belly size to heart rate changes over the nine months until the child is born.

As a result of hormonal fluctuations and the physical strain of carrying extra body weight, the entire posture of a pregnant woman changes. Breasts become larger, and the abdomen transforms from flat to very convex, increasing the curvature of the back. The combined effect shifts the centre of gravity forward and may lead to changes in her sense of balance. These changes don’t just affect mood but also create a “glow” of pregnancy. These changes significantly aid in the development of the fetus and prepare the body for labor.

 

What changes does pregnancy bring to the skin? 

The body goes through several hormonal, immunologic, and metabolic changes during pregnancy that can lead to many skin problems, as the skin is not immune to those hormone changes. Pregnancy can cause unwanted skin issues like melasma(brown patches across the face) and hormonal acne due to the increased androgen levels. Many women experience skin peculiarities that crop up during pregnancy in the first trimester, while others don’t notice skin changes until the second or third trimester. During the second trimester, an increased flow of blood will bring more blood to the surface of the skin, giving a glow to the skin. Fortunately, most skin problems during pregnancy are harmless and will subside after giving birth. 

 

Some of the most common skin problems that pop up during pregnancy and how to manage them.

Mask of Pregnancy

This is a hormone-related skin condition in which female sex hormones trigger the production of more melanin pigments (dark-coloured pigments) on exposure to the sun. Some pregnant women develop dark irregular patches on their face, upper cheek, nose, lips, and forehead. 

To prevent dark patches, strong SPF sunscreens should be used when the skin is exposed to the sun. The patches usually fade over several months after giving birth. Some creams prescribed by doctors help to fade the patches.  Sometimes it doesn’t go away or reappears, then seek a dermatologist consult who can treat it with medication after pregnancy.

 

Stretch Marks

Usually, in the last three months of pregnancy,  many women develop stretch marks. Stretch marks occur due to the stretching of the elastin fibres of the skin to accommodate the rapid expansion of the skin on the belly. They are usually noticed on the stomach, buttocks, hips, upper thighs, and breasts. Stretch marks are not harmful and over time, the stretch marks will fade. Follow the doctor’s recommendation regarding weight gain, as marks may appear if you gain weight rapidly. However, getting stretch marks sometimes just comes down to genetics but are common during pregnancy.

 Keep your skin moisturized to prevent stretch marks. Using moisturizing creams such as cocoa butter, olive oil, vitamin E cream, or aloe vera is beneficial to remove stretch marks. Maintaining a nutrient-rich diet, staying hydrated, and controlling weight gains prevent stretch marks before they happen. But with time, stretch marks fade into thinner, grey streaks. 

 

Acne

Hormonal changes and an increase in blood flow during pregnancy cause oil glands to secrete more oil, causing breakouts or acne. If you already have an acne problem, it could become worse when you get pregnant. Although, acne does not pose any risks to the pregnancy and should get better after your baby is born.

Mild face washes can be used to clean your face, but consult a doctor or check their ingredients before use. Clean your face with an over-the-counter-face soap in the morning and evening. Most over-the-counter topical treatments are safe during pregnancy, but if you have any concerns about the product, it’s better to ask a doctor. 

 

How does pregnancy affect hair?

The increased blood circulation, pumped-up metabolism, prenatal vitamins, and reproductive hormones affect hair as well. By the fourth month, the hair grows faster and looks thicker and healthier than before. It is noticed that increased amounts of facial hair (particularly on the lips, chin, and cheeks) are the most obvious. Thicker hair grows on arms, legs, back, and belly and even the area covered by your pubic hair might expand. During pregnancy, hairs are drier, limper, and more prone to frizz. Much of this growth disappears within six months after delivery.

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