Pregnancy is a bewildering period that can cause an avalanche of perplexing changes to the skin, often with burstiness that defies prediction.
One of the primary indicators of pregnancy is the startling transformation of the mammary glands. These glands grow significantly in volume, and small bluish streaks appear on their surface. It is strongly advised to wear appropriate bras that do not compress the chest, as the nipples are also prone to increased pigmentation.
Facial pigmentation is another curious and confounding change that can occur during pregnancy. The so-called pregnancy mask is characterized by pigmentation on the face, especially on the protruding parts such as the nose, cheeks, and forehead. Hormonal changes, exposure to the sun, and skin irritation can all contribute to this phenomenon, which can persist for months or even years after childbirth. It is recommended to avoid sunlight and use sunscreen, as well as steer clear of products that could irritate the facial skin, like peels or creams containing acids.
Stretch marks are yet another enigmatic occurrence during pregnancy. They result from structural disruptions in the deep layers of the skin due to excessive and rapid skin tension. The weight gain and hormonal fluctuations associated with pregnancy create a favorable environment for stretch marks to appear, particularly on the chest, hips, and abdomen. To prevent these marks, it is recommended to massage and lubricate the affected areas – chest, abdomen, and thighs – with enriched moisturizer or oil for at least five minutes a day.
Pregnancy can also have a striking effect on veins, both expanding and compressing them. Hormonal changes at the beginning of pregnancy lead to the dilation and development of blood vessels in the uterus to facilitate fetal development. Veins in the legs also tend to dilate, causing increased pressure in later stages of pregnancy. This expansion further contributes to the risk of varicose veins. To mitigate this, compression stockings designed for pregnant women with supple and elastic bellies are recommended. Other tips to improve blood circulation in the veins include avoiding prolonged standing, hot baths and showers, and sun exposure, as well as regularly engaging in easy walking or swimming and using a foot shower with warm water.
Finally, hormonal changes can affect hair, skin, and nails in unpredictable ways. Hair and nails may grow faster and appear healthier and shinier, but there can also be a tendency towards hair loss and weakening of nails, making them brittle after childbirth. Iron deficiency during pregnancy can contribute to these changes. Hormonal changes can also impact sebaceous glands that secrete sebum, leading to skin problems like acne and increased oiliness. With every pregnancy being unique, it is difficult to predict what skin changes may occur.