Pregnancy-Antenatal

Skin Changes during Pregnancy – An Overview


Pregnancy heralds joy and happiness for any woman. It foretells of a new addition to the family. Nevertheless, pregnancy brings with it unique physiological and psychological experiences. A key among them is the hormonal changes. The hormonal modifications do not affect just the frame of mind. They also:

  • Assist in growth of the fetus
  • Generate a glow on the woman’s face

Estrogenic changes assist in the development of the baby, transfer of nutrients, and enhancement of vascularisation.

The pregnant woman also experiences sensory changes such as in vision, taste, and smell. She also undergoes transformations in the breast and the cervix. These are essential to prepare the body for childbirth and breastfeeding.

There is another notable area that undergoes transformation. It is the skin. Yet, it is not unusual for doctors to perceive such changes as pathological reasons. These changes are in fact manifestations unique to pregnancy. Several of the skin changes during pregnancy can be related to:

  • Intensified activity of maternal adrenal and pituitary glands
  • High cortisone levels
  • Increase in production of progesterone and estrogenic hormones
  • Accelerated metabolism

Here are a few skin issues women experience during pregnancy.

Stretch marks

Stretch marks are very noticeable because they appear as reddish streaks on the abdomen or breasts. A good approach to tackle stretch marks is to ensure the skin maintains its elasticity through the entire duration of pregnancy. Doctors advise patients to apply creams that contain vitamin E and also indulge in gentle exercising.

Exercise boost energy levels, minimizes mood swings, and helps in getting better sleep. It also helps in improving circulation, which in turn aids in maintaining the skin’s elasticity.

Dark spots

These, also called “masks of pregnancy”, are in medical terms referred to as melasma and chloasma. Typically, these spots appear on the forehead and cheeks. These spots are a result of pigmentation. The best bet to address these is by wearing an appropriate sunscreen when out in the sun.

Pregnancy glow

When women are pregnant, their faces look brighter. This is due to increased blood circulation. The body also produces a good quantity of hormones that causes the oil glands to work in high gear.

While this condition has its bright side, it has a drawback too. Your skin may look too oily. A good approach to treat such a condition is by applying an oil free cleanser.

Pimples and acne

The extra hormones in a woman’s body make the oil glands secrete more oil. This in turn may cause breakouts of acne and pimples.Cleansing the face twice daily can help.

Skin tags

These are tiny loose growths of skin that may appear on any part of the skin including on the breasts. These disappear after pregnancy.Some other skin issues pregnant women may experience include varicose veins, spider veins, and a dry and itchy abdomen.

These conditions go away on their own after childbirth, and, if they do not, treatments are available.

It is important that Gynecologist must reassure the patient that skin changes are normal during pregnancy and as such do not require any intricate testing. Most of these changes regress after childbirth.



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Dr. Smiti Jain

Obstetrician & Gynecologist

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