Falling pregnant can be one of the most thrilling parts of life. Many women want to have a baby at some stage in their lives and to many married couples this is a really exciting part of their marriage. But, while pregnancy can be an incredible experience, it can also be an exhausting one.


With pregnancy comes some really tough stuff. You’re definitely about to put on weight, you might suffer indescribably uncomfortable heartburn, nausea or gas. Not too mention, your breasts are going to grow and become engorged, your feet and hands will probably swell (sometimes even your nose and definitely your bottom) and while many speak about a pregnancy glow, you might just end up sweaty and pimply like you’re 16 again. Add that to drastic mood changes, feeling tired all the time and needing to run to the bathroom constantly, and you can easily see why some women simply won’t have another child after their first. Of course, there are those who embrace being pregnant and it looks good on them. Their hair grows and becomes thick and lush, their nails look healthier and grow faster and they form the perfect round little bump. Unfortunately, you never know what type of pregnant fairy you are going to be, but it helps to know ahead of time what you can expect. It is also good to have some knowledge on what you can and can’t use to treat the symptoms you end up suffering with.


Skin changes can be the most frustrating part of pregnancy

Sometimes the skin issues and conditions require medical attention but most times these changes will vanish once the baby is born. Normal, regular skin changes include stretch marks, acne, darkening of the skin in various areas, a mild itching when skin stretches, swelling and spider veins. None of these changes require urgent medical attention and considering you are visiting your gynae or, at least the clinic, quite regularly, you can always check your symptoms at one of your appointments. But if you are suffering severe itchiness (whether it presents with a rash or not), changes in the colour or shape of a mole, puffiness around your eyes or unusually fast weight gain, then you should consult a doctor as soon as possible.

The reason why your skin changes and suffers as dramatically as it does when you are pregnant is because the hormonal changes that are occurring remove the oil and elasticity in your skin. This leads to dry and even flaky skin. What’s more, dry and flakey skin is often accompanied by itchiness which is uncomfortable. To assist with this issue you should look into various pregnancy-safe, dry skin treatments. You can speak to any pharmacist, doctor or skin specialist about dry skin treatments that are safe to use during pregnancy. Tissue oil is a firm favourite and a variety of skincare brands have created products specifically aimed at pregnant women. You also get tissue oil based body creams that will help to soothe and repair dry skin. These will assist with diminishing the appearance of stretch marks before and after pregnancy.

In the meantime, here’s how you can manage your skincare when you are pregnant.


Wash gently

When washing your body make sure to be gentle. Perhaps even try a dermatologically-tested, pregnancy-safe, non-soap cleanser. These might be less likely to dry out your skin and make sure to rinse off properly every time. Also, don’t rub your skin harshly with a towel to dry off, your skin is more sensitive when you’re pregnant and you could end up hurting yourself.


Don’t steam

Don’t lounge in the bath, rather limit yourself to ten minutes of soaking. Many jump into a bath to relax and when you’re heavily pregnant this will sound heavenly. Rather, run a tepid water bath for yourself and climb out after ten minutes because any longer or any hotter means you will be lying in a steamy room. And steam removes the natural oils from your skin, which means you will end up potentially dry and itchy.


Lather yourself in moisturiser

Apply moisturiser as soon as you are dry and have cooled down. An unscented, glycerin or tissue oil based moisturiser will do well to seal in moisture. And throughout your pregnancy, continue to apply moisturiser as often as you want to. Also, make use of stretch mark creams and oils as often as possible so you can minimise their appearance as your belly grows.


Protect yourself from the sun

Because your skin is more sensitive, ensure you protect yourself with sunscreen. You need something with at least a 15 sun protection factor but, the higher you go, the better. Lather your body generously with sunscreen and reapply throughout the day if you’re spending plenty of time in the sun.


Your diet is important

Just like when you are not pregnant, eat well to keep your skin healthy. The adage “you are what you eat” is true and what you include in your diet will show up on your face (or back or chest and other areas susceptible to acne). Include good fats in your diet for good skin.

About The Author

I was born in the Eastern Cape, close to the waves. After getting my degree in Media, Communication and Culture, I knew it was time to make my way to a big city. Not wanting to leave the ocean, Cape Town was the natural choice for me. At first I thought the fast paced world of marketing. But I never forgot that what I'd always wanted to do was write. Now I'm a freelance writer, where my office is my bedroom and my platform is the World Wide Web. I live with my partner and our two beloved Great Danes. When not reading or writing you can probably find me on the beach or exploring nature trails.

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