Skin changes during pregnancy

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Common Skin Changes during Pregnancy

Skin changes during pregnancy are due to the frequent changes in hormonal level of the pregnant women. Pregnancy glow, acne and pregnancy mask are some of the skin changes which are more visible and common during pregnancy.

Pregnancy glow on the face of the pregnant women is quite visible and is among the skin changes in early pregnancy. Why this is so? It contains a biological basis as there is an increase in the volume of blood which causes cheeks to glow. There are many blood vessels below the skin surface and increase in blood produces an attractive blush on the face.

The oil glands start secreting the oil which adds a waxy shine on the face. Pregnancy mask is among another common skin changes during pregnancy that is being observed by many of the pregnant women. It usually appears in the second trimester and is brownish or yellowish in color. The patches formed by the mask are known as the chloasma and can appear on any part of the face like cheeks, nose, chin, and on forehead.

Estrogens and the progesterone are the hormones which enables melanin cells to secrete pigment which spreads unevenly on the skin. Acne is also common especially in those females who suffer from the issue in their teenage.

Spotting during pregnancy

Apart from skin changes, spotting during pregnancy is also common. If you are spotting during pregnancy first trimester then it is all normal. The reason is that placental implantation takes place which leads to bleeding as embryo is getting implanted into the wall of uterus. Spotting is different from bleeding. Spotting during pregnancy is light bleeding which is not harmful whereas bleeding is heavy. The change in color and variation from pink to red and even brown is being noticed. Beside, implantation, sex could be the cause of bleeding as when a woman is pregnant more blood flows in the cervix and after sex she may bleed. Blood spotting during pregnancy could also be the sign of miscarriage if it is heavy.

Folic acids and NTDs

In United States, almost 3000 infants are born with neural tube defects (NTDs). Deficiency of folic acid during pregnancy leads to improper cell division and growth. The diseases categorized under NTDs are spina bifida and anencephaly. In these conditions, the brain of the baby gets unable to grow properly and some of its part is missing at the time of birth. It is difficult for such babies to survive or if they survive there left part stays paralyzed throughout their life. Folic acid after conceiving must be taken in ratio of 600micrograms in order to get prevention from NTDs.

Pregnancy is notorious for wrecking your skin, but these skin changes during pregnancy usually disappear after you deliver your baby and have no health implications. However, if you develop a rash or you notice an inflammation or blisters that last more than a few days contact your doctor.

Normal skin conditions during pregnancy include:

  • Chloasma: This is commonly referred to as “mask of pregnancy” and includes lighter areas in your neck or face if you have dark pigmentation and vice-versa in women with light pigmentation. This is a consequence of higher levels of melanin, the component that gives your skin its colour. The sun can make the patches more obvious, so use a high factor sun cream protection. If you feel self-conscious, try using some make-up to fade the differences.
  • Pregnancy glow: This is due to better blood flow during pregnancy and better water retention. You can think of it as your own anti-wrinkle solution! However, this may also cause your face to swell and look even patchier. Don’t worry; any patches will disappear after the birth of your baby.
  • Stretch marks: Common in pregnant women, they may appear in your tummy, breasts and possibly thighs. This is an unfortunate consequence of your skin stretching intensely over a very short period of time. Higher levels of hormones also cause skin changes in early pregnancy. After delivery these marks can fade, but it will be a long process. Try to gain weight steadily, and rub your tummy with cream rich in vitamin E.
  • Acne: Pregnancy may make you look like a teenager again! Hormones are again the culprits, as they stimulate the production of sebum, which causes spots and acne. Clean regularly to avoid any blockages, but don’t use any anti-acne creams as they may harmful for your baby.
  • Itching: In your tummy is normal, but if you feel itching in the palms of your hands and soles of your feet, it may be obstetric cholestasis, a rare liver condition. Contact your doctor to treat your condition, but rest assured that there is no indication that it will affect your baby in any way.
  • Linea Nigra: This is a dark line running down your tummy, sometimes even crossing the navel. It marks where the abdominal muscles start pulling in opposite directions. Other areas may also go through changes in pigmentation include your nipples and freckles, but all these with fade soon after delivery.
  • Rashes: You may develop sensitive skin during pregnancy as hormones levels increase. A common, but highly uncomfortable, rash is thrush, which cause vaginal itching and piles. If you find the itching is unbearable talk to your doctor, otherwise calamine lotion may provide some relief.
  • Spider veins: Broken veins form little clusters in your face that look like a spider. This is caused by capillaries that burst as consequence of the increased pressure due to more blood. These will fade once hormone levels return to normal.

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