Hormones Can Really Causes Changes!

Ann Douglas, author of The Mother of All Pregnancy Books: The Ultimate Guide to Conception, Birth and Everything in Between is here at Pregnancy & Baby! Read Ann's advice on everything from keeping romance alive amidst the structure and stress of baby-making to weathering the storms of morning sickness to preparing for the birth of your dreams.
Ann Douglas

More Mom's the Word by Ann Douglas

You are glowing!
It's a rare woman indeed who can get through the nine months of pregnancy without having at least one person remark that she's positively "glowing!" What you might not realize is that there's actually a biological basis to those comments.

Thanks to increased blood flow during pregnancy, the blood vessels just below the surface of the skin cause your cheeks to look a little extra rosy while you're pregnant. And, because the hormonal changes of pregnancy tend to send your oil glands into overdrive, your skin is a little shinier than usual. The result? Why the much-talked-about pregnancy glow, of course!

Here's the scoop on some of the other noteworthy skin changes that take place during the nine month countdown to motherhood.

Mask of pregnancy
Noticed any brownish or yellowish patches of skin on your face? What you're seeing in the mirror is the so-called "mask of pregnancy" (chloasma). Chloasma is caused by the effects of the pregnancy hormones progesterone and estrogen on the melanin cells in the skin. It tends to be more of a problem for brunettes than for blondes. If you're prone to chloasma, you can minimize its effects by avoiding intense sunlight. The pigmentation will start to disappear after you give birth and your hormone levels begin to return to their pre-pregnancy levels.

The hormonal changes of pregnancy are also responsible for another unwelcome skin change: outbreaks of acne. Mild oatmeal-based facial scrubs are your best bet for unplugging oily pores. You'll want to steer clear of abrasive scrubs or exfoliants because your skin is extra sensitive during pregnancy.

Increased pigmentation
Expect the areola (the flat area around your nipple) and the nipple of your breasts to darken during pregnancy and to remain a little darker even after you give birth. (Just think of these pigment changes as one of the many "souvenirs" of motherhood!) Your freckles and moles may also become darker and some new moles may appear while you're pregnant. Note: If any of these moles are raised, very dark, or have irregular borders, you'll want to have them checked by your doctor.

Stretch marks
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, more than 90 percent of women develop stretch marks during the sixth and seventh months of pregnancy. Stretch marks are caused by the stretching of the underlying layers of skin during pregnancy and typically show up as pink or purplish streaks on the abdomen and -- in some cases -- the breasts and the thighs. Fortunately, they tend to fade to silver over time, something that makes them a whole lot less noticeable.

Linea nigra
This definitely takes the prize for the weirdest pregnancy-related skin change. It's not unusual for a woman to develop a thin brown line that runs from her navel to the center of her pubic bone. (Actually, the line was there all along: it just wasn't visible until pregnancy-related hormonal changes caused the line to turn brown.)

Don't worry that you're doomed to walk around with a brown crayon mark on your belly for the rest of your life. It will go away on its own within a couple of months after you give birth.PregnancyAndBaby.com

Tags: acne changes dry oily

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