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Skin | Health

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Itchy Skin

Caused by your skin stretching over your pregnant belly and thinning.  This results in loss of moisture and can lead to skin conditions such as eczema, urticaria & scabies.

Try to stick to gentle soap and massage your skin with intense moisturizing lotion.  If you experience itching on hands and feet please tell your caregiver.

General Pigmentation Changes

It is normal for a general increase in pigmentation during pregnancy particularly in darker haired women.  The areas mostly affected are the nipples, genital area and the centre of the abdomen.  Freckles and moles also appear darker and can increase in size and quantity.  They usually fade back to normal soon after birth.

You should contact your doctor immediately should you notice a new mole, change in appearance of existing moles, including shape size, colour, itching or bleeding.

Heat Rash

Pregnant women tend to sweat more under the breasts and in the groin area.  This results in itchy pimples.

During pregnancy you should be wearing a support bra.  Also try washing the affected areas regularly and dusting them lightly with unscented talcum powder.  Avoid excessive weight gain if possible.

Polymorphic Eruption of Pregnancy (PEP)

Sometimes in the last three months of pregnancy itchy pimples can appear in stretch marks.  Or more rarely, shortly after birth.  The pimples will disappear and should be less severe in future pregnancies.

You should contact your doctor who will probably prescribe a cream to help ease discomfort.

Red or Itchy Palms (hands) or Soles (feet)

This could be the result of oestrogen in the blood.  A condition known as Cholestasis.

Tell your caregiver so they can rule out Cholestasis.  Moisturise your hands regularly and keep them protected at all times.

Dry Skin

It is usually caused by increasing oestrogen levels and women with dry skin find that it gets even drier during mid-pregnancy.  This also depends on how an individual’s body responds to the different pregnancy hormones.

Try to cut down on the use of air conditioners and central heating.  Try using humidifiers to moisten the air but also make sure that you get plenty of fresh air every day.  Change to a gentler face wash and use extra moisturizer at night.

Oily Skin

During pregnancy hormones increase the production of sebum (an oily substance containing antibacterial properties that are secreted onto the skins surface), which can make you prone to spots.

Always check with your caregiver before stopping any medication but should you already be on oral medication for acne, it could affect your baby’s development.  Some topical treatments are considered safe but once again check with your doctor before using anything on your skin.  Drink plenty of water and make sure that you eat a well balanced diet containing plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.  Use a gentler cleanser and unperfumed moisturizer designed for oily skin.  Exfoliating could also help ease the problem.

Skin Tags

These tiny, floppy growths are thought to be caused by hormones and are nothing to worry about.  They usually develop on the underarms, face, neck and breasts in mid to late pregnancy.

Unsightly skin tags can be removed by simple surgery.

Stretch Marks

Stretch marks are caused by skin stretching rapidly as you gain weight and cause ruptures in the skin structure.  Stretch marks develop as pink or re marks which fade to a shiny silver after the birth.

Although there is no known treatment to prevent stretch marks you could reduce the effect of weight gain by moisturizing your skin particularly on the sides of your belly, your breasts and thighs.  There are many creams and oils available at the pharmacies should you be concerned.  (Avoid creams that claim to PREVENT stretch marks as they have no scientific basis).

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