Skin Conditions During Pregnancy

What happens in labourPregnancy brings in a lot of changes in a woman. Just as her body goes through a lot of changes, her skin also undergoes certain changes such as skin darkening, stretch marks, itchy skin, and other skin conditions.

SKIN DARKENING
About 70 percent of women experience some skin darkening during pregnancy. Women with darker complexions are more prone than others. Skin darkening normally shows on your upper lip, nose, upper cheeks, forehead, nipples, areolas, freckles, underarms, and even your inner thighs and vulva. It is believed that higher levels of estrogen, progesterone, and melanin -stimulating hormone cause this skin darkening. The line from the navel to the pubic bone often darkens. When this happens, it is called linea nigra, or black line. The same increased production of melanin that causes facial skin splotches is responsible for darkening this line. It will probably fade back to its pre-pregnant state several months after you have your baby.

What can I do:
These skin pigmentation changes usually disappear on their own after delivery, but you can do a few things to minimize them in the meantime:
  • Protect yourself from the sun. Exposure to the sun might worsen your condition. Use sunscreen whenever you go out. Try not to go out in the heat during 11 to 3 pm. Also cover yourself up and use an umbrella or a hat.
  • Continue folic acid intake during your pregnancy since evidence suggest that skin darkening during pregnancy is caused by a lack of folic acid.
  • Eat plenty of green vegetables and drink eight-to-ten glasses of water daily.
  • Apply a concealing makeup.


ITCHY SKIN

Itching is one of the most common problems faced by pregnant women. This is because of the increased blood supply to the skin. In late pregnancy the skin of the abdomen is stretched and this may also cause itching. Itching should last only in the first 3 months. If the itching lasts longer, disturbs sleep, or turns into a rash, see your doctor immediately.

What can I do:

  • Apply moisturizing cream.
  • Wear loose clothing
  • Consult your doctor if your itching converts into a rash.


OILY SKIN

Due to hormonal changes, certain skins may secrete more oil, leading to skin eruptions and pimples. Not every woman will face this problem. For those who have oily skin this problem will be more during pregnancy.


What can I do:
Wash your face more often during pregnancy. Avoid using greasy creams and make-up, and go easy on the moisturizer. Drink plenty of water.


DRY SKIN
Women who have dry skin are likely to face this problem. Your skin might dries up during pregnancy, and it may start itching. Heaters and air-conditioners dry out skin even further, so if you sit in an air-conditioned or heated room, apply heavier moisturizer and keep a humidifier in the room. Even a wide-mouthed bowl filled with water helps increase the level of humidity in a room. If you neglect your skin during this time, it may lose some of its elasticity and fine lines could appear on your face.

What can I do:
  • Apply calamine lotion to soothe the itchiness, and apply moisturizer regularly.
  • Use a humidifier in air-conditioned or heated rooms.

STRETCH MARKS
More than half of all pregnant women develop stretch marks on the abdomen, breasts, hips, and thighs. These lines are usually red at first, but after pregnancy may fade to a silvery white. They are caused by the change in hormone levels during pregnancy. Stretch marks usually appear during the second trimester. Stretch marks are more noticeable in women with fair skin. There is no proven way to prevent them.

What can I do:
Stretch marks usually start to fade after delivery. If they do not fade after pregnancy, stretch marks may be treated with laser to make them less visible. Eat vitamin and protein rich food. Also drink lots of water and have a balanced diet.

 

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