Carrying a baby can be exciting and overwhelming! Pregnancy brings a lot of changes to a woman’s body - the shape of the body, a newly protruding tummy, and even skin problems may arise throughout the duration of pregnancy. Since hormones are heavily impacted during pregnancy, skin changes are often expected, however, the good news is, is that there are things you can do to keep your skin in the best condition possible and keep that 'pregnancy glow' as long as you can!
Common Skin Changes During Pregnancy
Hair & Nail Changes
One of the better side-effects of pregnancy is that many women find their hair to be a lot thicker!
This could be to do with hormones or increased blood volume - traits believed to influence the hair, especially through the lens of eastern medicine. Along with this, women also find that their nails can be a lot stronger during pregnancy, which is great, especially if you're avoiding using nail varnish.
Changes within our body certainly influence our hair and nail health during pregnancy. That said, many women attribute these desirable side-effects to continuing to take a prenatal vitamin throughout their pregnancy too.
Another major change in a woman’s body while pregnant is skin discolouration. Certain areas of your body may seem darker, like your nipples, areola, centre of your abdomen and your groin. Some mums-to-be also experience melasma or a form of discolouration around the face. Thankfully, most of these skin conditions go away a few months after childbirth.
One of the most noticeable skin changes in pregnancy is of course how much it stretches! As your baby grows in size, the skin will stretch to the maximum, often causing thin red/purple stripy marks. Most stretch marks appear on the tummy, the breasts, thighs, and groin. Stretch marks can significantly lighten with time, but unfortunately don't tend to completely disappear.
There are various thoughts on what might help stretch marks fade faster/prevent them from appearing at all. Keeping your skin supple and as 'elastic' as possible via regular moisturising is certainly one. Use nature's treasure trove of skin-supporting nutrients. Ingredients like sea buckthorn or macadamia oil, rich in palmitoleic acid, can be helpful for stretch mark prevention. A good organic pregnancy cream like Odylique's Bump Butter includes a holistic blend of excellent organic plant oils, including a super-strength sea buckthorn fruit oil.Many are also touting the benefits of consuming collagen throughout their pregnancy. While there are yet to be many studies on stretch marks specifically, we know taking collagen can help increase skin elasticity, integrity and reduce cellulite.
Beauty Hacks for Pregnant Women
Moisturise using Vitamin E.
Products rich in Vitamin E oil or lotion can be effective in minimising stretch marks during pregnancy. Vitamin E can help increase elasticity and accommodate a growing bump! Applying skincare rich in vitamin E - much of Odylique's skincare is, especially with our love of sunflower, olive and aloe vera - regularly throughout your pregnancy can help ensure you're getting this super antioxidant into your skin!
Eat plenty of Vitamin C-rich food.
Vitamin C encourages collagen development internally, which is essential to keep your cells healthy. Collagen gives your skin the ability to fight off external stimuli that might pose damage - such as pollutants and toxins. Additionally, Vitamin C gives your body the boost it needs to fight off oxidative damage and can help boost your immune system! Citrus fruits, peppers, strawberries and broccoli are all high in vitamin C and are great for you and your growing baby.
Consume food rich in Omega 3 essential fats.
Omega 3 essential fats are also known to help the natural elasticity of the skin. Aside from helping your skin maintain its integrity, it also improves brain function, which is necessary for your baby's development. Food sources rich in Omega 3 include salmon and tuna, eggs, bread, dark vegetables, and nuts.
Drink more water.
If you are looking for the easiest way to keep your skin healthy while pregnant, drink lots of water. Hydration is the key to healthy skin, pregnant or not. Hydrated skin stretches better and is known to reduce any signs of skin aging. If you feel bloated and constipated, adding a squeeze of lemon juice can help improve your digestion and overall skin health. Lemon is a natural astringent, which is necessary to get rid of dead skin cells.
Exercise allows good blood flow, keeps your heart healthy and is important to try to do (if you can!) during pregnancy. Exercise can help prevent varicose veins, which can be more common during pregnancy. A 30-minute walk daily can keep you active and your heart strong. Strenuous activities are generally not advisable, so don’t try to run or over-tire yourself either!
Go Organic to Best Protect Against Pregnancy Skin Changes
Pregnancy can bring with it some great side effects beauty-wise and some less desirable ones. But it's important to remember that the less-than-desirable ones aren't going to last forever and that you should try to relax about them as much as possible.
There is a plethora of advice and products that claim to help, but remember that not everything recommended to pregnant women is necessarily the safest. Conventional skincare isn't rigorously tested and often contains ingredients that have raised safety concerns (parabens, MI & fragrance, to name a few).
We would recommend using organic products as much as possible. Independent certification by a reliable body, like the Soil Association, guarantees that your beauty products are free from harmful chemicals and are truly organic.
Although keeping your skin in the best condition whilst pregnant can be a hard ask, the best thing you can do is to take a holistic approach. Maintain a healthy lifestyle all round - nutritious diet, exercise, organic skincare and look after your mental health!