What skin changes are normal in pregnancy?
Among the many changes in your body during pregnancy, your skin can also be affected, here’s the lowdown
As you quietly, magically grow a baby, your amazing body is going through tremendous change inside and out – so you may see slight changes in your skin too. Several things can make an appearance:
- Stretch marks
- Changes in skin colour called melasma or chloasma - also known as the ‘mask of pregnancy’ (the discoloration usually disappears within a year after of birth)
- Broken veins
- Sensitive or itchy skin - If you are experiencing itchy hands, feet, wrists, ankles, arms, legs, scalp, or even all over in your pregnancy, it could be a sign of ICP.
This is mainly because of changes in the levels of hormones in your body, and even changes to your immune system affecting your skin. But the good news is most of these changes disappear soon after your baby is born.
It’s quite common for your skin to go a bit darker, especially around your nipples, moles and freckles – speak to a doctor if your moles change a lot though, to quickly rule out skin cancer.
You may notice brown patches of pigmentation appearing on your forehead, cheeks, and neck. Known as ‘melasma’ or ‘chloasma’, these patches are caused by your body making extra melanin - the tanning hormone – to protect your skin against ultraviolet (UV) light. It’s quite common, affecting around 75 per cent of mums-to-be. Being out in the sun will darken the patches, so wear a sunscreen (SPF15 or more) or grab a hat. And you can always blend the patches in with a quick application of foundation.
You’ll probably notice a subtle dark line running up your tummy. Known as linea nigra, it tends to pop up during around the second trimester.
These problems won’t do you any harm, but do chat to your GP or midwife if you want to ease symptoms, or your skin really flares up for more than a couple of days.
You can also keep an eye on things with on our simple symptoms tracker.