All women experience numerous bodily changes during pregnancy and one of the most explicit change is the one that is witnessed on the skin.
Here are some of the common skin conditions that might occur during pregnancy and some tips on how to minimize any negative effects.
Also known as ‘pregnancy mask’ or chloasma, this condition arises because of the hormonal imbalance that occurs during pregnancy. The chief characteristic is skin discoloration where one can find brown spots on the cheeks, eyes and around the lips. The discolouration heightens with greater exposure to sunlight. It occurs during the end of the sixth month or beginning of the seventh month of pregnancy. These disappear after pregnancy though sometimes medical help maybe necessary.
The usage of sunscreen when going out in sunlight can help reduce discolouration of the skin.
Varicose veins look like swollen veins rising above the surface of the skin. They can be twisted or bulging, and are dark purple or blue in color. They are found most often on the backs of the calves or on the inside of the leg. This is a common condition during pregnancy as there is an increase in the volume of blood, which causes an increased pressure on the veins. In most cases, these varicose veins disappear after delivery.
To mitigate their occurrence
- Sit with your legs and feet raised up, as much as possible
- Avoid wearing tight socks
- Avoid standing for long stretches
Spider veins or broken capillaries
In this condition, the blood vessels form a spider like web on the face, arms, legs, neck and upper chest because of heightened blood circulation. They usually disappear after pregnancy.
These are the most frequently occurring skin change during pregnancy. The elastic fibers that help the skin to stretch in normal times, get damaged and reorganized during pregnancy to form marks which are referred to as ‘stretch marks’. Though there are many creams and ointments in the market, the efficacy of these is questionable. Natural oils may help but the marks may remain in faint form even after pregnancy.
By gaining the right amount of weight and not excessive and unnecessary weight, stretch marks can be reduced.
A dark line (called the linea nigra) comes up on the abdomen in the center from the belly button to the pubic hairline. It will fade away after your baby is born.
Due to the stretching of the skin, itches are very common during pregnancy. Moisturizing lotions or natural moisturizing oils can help mitigate this.
Rashes (Urticaria, PUPP)
This condition is characterized by hives or itchy rashes which vary in the intensity of itchiness from mild to severe and occur during the last trimester of pregnancy and disappear after delivery. This condition surfaces during the third trimester of pregnancy.
If people are prone to having acne, the situation only aggravates during pregnancy because of the hormonal changes that pregnancy brings along with it. Outbreaks of blackheads, whiteheads and cystic acne become very common.
What should be done about these conditions?
Most if not all of these conditions either subside or disappear after pregnancy. If they do not, consult with your gynaecologist-obstetrician and a dermatologist.