Skin Changes in Pregnancy and Beyond
Before getting pregnant both times, I was prepared for some changes to my body – a growing bump, a ‘glow’, possible stretchmarks. I did not expect the various skin changes in pregnancy that I ended up experiencing.
My two pregnancies were similar over all, the same aches and pains and body changes but the only significant difference was the changes to my skin. I thought I’d talk about a few of these and the steps I took to relieve my symptoms.
I’ve suffered on and off throughout my adult life with hyper pigmentation but I didn’t realise that during pregnancy, skin has a tendency to darken for some women, including me. As well as nipples, random patches of skin can darken on your body and face – for me, it’s on my cheeks. I get one or two patches of darker skin develop on my face called chloasma. It’s annoying and makes it difficult to hide it behind make up but I know it will fade after the baby arrives. This was not the pregnancy glow I was expecting!
In the meantime, if you experience this, I recommend staying out of the sun as this can make it worse or you should wear a high SPF if you are outside. Otherwise patience is the key; it will go away a few months after the birth.
I have never experienced eczema in my life so I was surprised in this second pregnancy to find 4 patches of eczema develop – behind both knees and inside both elbows. The patches are itchy and red/ purple – they look a little like bruises although they do not hurt, only itch and itch and itch!
I’ve researched eczema in pregnancy and it seems for some women, their existing condition can actually improve in pregnancy but for others, like me, they can develop eczema issues for the first time.
To alleviate the itchiness, I’ve been using Hope’s Relief Intensive Dry Skin Rescue as it’s a natural alternative to steroid based creams. I like that it contains natural ingredients and I’ve been really happy that it works so quickly – after just one or two applications, the eczema patches reduce and the itchiness completely goes. It’s became a bit of a pregnancy ‘staple’ for me and I’m still using it after pregnancy as the eczema has continued while I’m breastfeeding and I also keep it handy to use on my toddler in case she gets any dry skin.
I have some lovely Hope’s Relief products to give away at the bottom of this post and 20% off for all my readers!
3. Linea Nigra
This is the dark line that may appear down the centre of your tummy but not all women get this and it’s down to pregnancy hormones. The line might be from your tummy button down or might extend higher too.
It’s a bit strange to see it start to develop and for some women it’s darker and more pronounced than others but it does disappear soon after the birth.
4. Itchy Skin
I’ve experienced itchy skin to different degrees in each of my pregnancy. In the first, it was only the skin on my tummy and this was mainly because of the stretching due to my baby bump growing. In my second pregnancy, I itched almost all over and at times it has been unbearable. The itchiness has not been constant but is particularly worse at night time and in my half asleep state, I’ll admit to scratching – bad move!
I’ve since researched the reasons for itchy skin in pregnancy and now know that it isn’t simply from the stretching of skin but can also be a result of the increased blood supply to the skin.
To combat the itchiness, wear breathable and loose-fitting clothes, drink lots of water to prevent your skin becoming dry and use a cooling moisturiser.
One possible condition to keep an eye on is Obstetric Cholestasis which is a liver disorder that can affect some pregnant women. It is rare but can be serious and one of the main symptoms is severe itchiness on the palms of hands and soles of feet. You can read more about obstetric cholestasis here and if you think you may be experiencing symptoms, consult your doctor asap.
5. Stretch Marks
Every woman’s ‘favourite’ pregnancy symptom. No-one wants them, no-one likes them but for some women, they are an inevitable result of pregnancy and a growing baby bump. The stretchmarks can appear at any time from when your bump starts to grow and for some women, might not appear until after the baby arrives. So unfortunately, you may feel that you’ve escaped them and then get a surprise. You might get stretch marks on your tummy, hips, back, thighs and breasts – really anywhere that stretches as your pregnancy progresses.
They will fade over time and be far less noticeable but really there is nothing that can be done to totally remove them.
Prevention of stretch marks seems to be a much argued topic and I am no expert. I believe you can go some way to discourage their arrival but really, they’re either going to appear or they are not. I would recommend keeping your skin moisturised and supple, drinking plenty of water and trying your best not to scratch areas of stretching skin that are itchy during pregnancy.
The above skin conditions are some of the ones I experienced in my two pregnancies but there are more and I definitely recommend consulting your pharmacist or doctor if you have any concerns at all about changes to your skin in your pregnancy.
Did you experience any of the above? What did you find helped?
* 8 things I LOVE about being Pregnant
* Pregnancy Updates
* Travelling with Babies & Toddlers Series