Your Skin is Pregnant Too, Part 2

We spent a little time on what pregnancy can do to our faces, so it’s time to venture elsewhere. In general, pregnancy takes our skin for a bit of a ride. If you never had sensitive skin before, you might suddenly be itchy, blotchy or otherwise irritated by fabrics or fragrances. I noticed that tight clothing would make my skin itch, so for exercise I ditched the lulu gear ASAP. Just be prepared to have skin that is a little more “aware” of its surroundings. Pick fragrance free lotions and cleansers. Avoid wool and irritating synthetic fibers. Stick to breathable cotton, a bonus since that bun in the oven makes you break a sweat a little quicker too.

The dreaded stretch marks; there still is no cure for them. But the best thing to do is get going on the moisturizer from the moment you find out the happy news. Striae, or stretch marks, are caused by two things: genetics and rapid stretching. We can’t change genetics. If your mom, sisters or aunts all have a tummy full, your risk of getting them goes way up. Secondly, if you gain weight rapidly or are carrying multiples, your risk is also increased. Moisturized skin may be able to stretch a little better, and that is why everyone tells you to lather on creams or butters. We don’t have a lot of evidence that one cream is better than another. I tell people to try a Vitamin E oil or Almond oil. If you prefer a cream, pick one containing Vitamin E or Ceramides. Remember that stretch marks can also make an appearance on your breasts, so don’t neglect that area when moisturizing,

Your baby bump isn’t going to be the only new bump that appears. Skin tags can pop up in your arm pits or under your breasts. Keratoses are brown scaly bumps that also can appear. It’s not uncommon for them to pop up anywhere on the body including near or on the nipples. Moles and freckles that you had before can get darker or thicker. It can be tricky to decipher all of these bumps, so as you might expect, I would recommend a skin exam by a Dermatologist during pregnancy.

Peering over your bump to check out your legs you might notice new spider veins or even varicosities. Spider veins are red or purple squiggly marks that mostly appear on the legs, whereas varicosities are dilated and sometimes painful larger veins that can appear on the legs or in the vaginal area during pregnancy. Heredity plays a role here too; if you have female relatives with varicosities you might be at a higher risk. The increased blood volume and weight that you carry when pregnant can be blamed for these two problems, which means they often regress almost totally when you deliver. If they don’t, you can get some advice from a Dermatologist or Vascular Surgeon regarding treatment options..too many to review here.

One last mark to note is that famous linea nigra, the brown line that goes down the center of your baby bump. This doesn’t make an appearance in everyone; it’s most common in more darkly complected women. Enjoy it as a badge of baby honor.  It will fade gradually after the baby arrives, but can take a few months.

Comments

  1. this post speaks to me too! what about red “freckles”/bumps that emerge during pregnancy? i have a few – will these ever go away?

    1. Author

      ah yes, those are also fun additions. cherry angiomas and spider angiomas. Some may go away, but a lot of them might be with you to stay- especially the larger bright red/purple raised bumps (those are the ‘cherry’ variety). Vascular lasers to the rescue- they can remove them!

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