New baby, new body

Body changes through the stages of pregnancy

Each of the stages of pregnancy brings with it new experiences and body changes, from the obvious (an ever expanding bump!) to the unexpected. Every woman will experience pregnancy in a completely individual way however it helps to be aware and prepared for some of the common body and skin changes pregnant women experience.

Trimester One: 1-3 months

In the first trimester, your pregnancy hormones can cause changes to your skin. Some women may experience dry skin while others may have pregnancy related acne breakouts. You may also experience chloasma - or the "mask of pregnancy" - those dark splotches that can appear on your upper lips, cheeks, and nose. These are all fairly common and most will only be temporary.

How to treat pregnancy acne

  • Keep your skin clean by cleansing and rinsing with luke warm water to remove any residue
  • Avoid touching your face as this can cause acne to spread
  • Try over-the-counter Acne treatments that include benzoyl peroxide as this has been tested as safe to use while pregnant (although always tell the pharmacist you are pregnant so they can be sure to recommend suitable product)

Skin pigmentation changes in pregnancy (chloasma)

  • Avoid over exposure to the sun or if you are in the sun ensure you use a high factor SPF protection and wear a sun hat
  • Choose cleansers and creams that are gentler on the skin. This will prevent worsening of the symptoms

Pregnancy dry skin care

  • If you are experiencing itchy skin as a result of dryness, avoid using anti-itch ointments, as they usually contain cortisone or hydrocortisone
  • Make sure you continue to drink 8 glasses of water a day to keep skin hydrated
  • Try a moisturising oil or cream to help soften and soothe dry irritated skin

Trimester Two: 3-6 months

Your bump starts to show and you even begin to feel your baby move! Your hormones tend to even out and many women feel much better during this trimester. Your skin also tends to calm down and many people experience the pregnancy 'glow' at this time, which is due to increased levels of blood circulating round your body.

Although stretch marks usually become more visible in the third trimester some women can begin to see these much earlier, sometimes as soon as their bumps start growing, so prepare for them at this stage.

Trimester Three: 6-9 months

The last stage of pregnancy is full of interesting symptoms. You may experience things like leg cramps, backache and heartburn. Hormonal skin changes should be back to a normal balance by now, however this is the time stretch marks are most likely to form. Most lighter-skinned women tend to develop pinkish stretch marks, whereas darker skinned women tend to develop stretch marks that are lighter than the surrounding skin

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Did you know?

Bio-Oil can also be used as a general moisturiser on the face and body.