There is immense joy in bringing a newborn into a family. However, before delivery, pregnancy comes with various physical changes, some of which may cause discomfort to the mother, while others may affect the unborn baby. Skin conditions are among these pregnancy-related changes that you can experience while expecting.
Numerous common skin conditions can occur during pregnancy. They can result from either hormonal changes, pregnancy-related causes, or preexisting causes. You may encounter any of these conditions during pregnancy, and according to the expert dermatologist Dr. Neda Mehr, they are likely to resolve immediately after delivery or later after breastfeeding. Let us have a look at some of these skin conditions among pregnant women, shall we?
Melasma also called “mask of pregnancy,” results from excess melanin production, referred to as hyperpigmentation during pregnancy. It affects nearly 50-75% of pregnant women. Endocrinological changes during pregnancy result in the production of significantly large quantities of melanin. The increased melanin results in hyperpigmentation that appears as dark spots in various parts of the skin.
Melasma is more common among darker-skinned women due to the possession of more melanin than light-skinned women. However, hyperpigmentation is more prominent in fairly-skinned people than the dark-skinned.
You should not be worried about mask of pregnancy because it is a harmless and temporary condition. It can disappear immediately after delivery or after breastfeeding.
2. Prurigo of Pregnancy
Prurigo of pregnancy refers to harmless tiny, itchy bumps or rash that can occur when you are expecting. It affects approximately 1 in 300 pregnant women. Prurigo can occur at any stage of pregnancy but is more common during the second and third trimesters. The itchy bumps are common around the arms, abdomen, or legs.
You can relieve prurigo symptoms by applying topical steroids, wearing comfortable clothing, and using itch-free moisturizers.
Prurigo of pregnancy does not cause any danger to the fetus, and it can resolve after delivery or after some months post-delivery.
3. Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy (PUPPP)
PUPPP is a condition that affects nearly 1 in 150 pregnant women, causing pale red to pink bumps or pimple-like spots of varied sizes on the skin. It mainly occurs during the last trimester and can result in itchiness or burning sensation in the affected area. PUPPP is likely to affect stretched areas of your skin, including the abdomen, legs, arms, and buttocks.
PUPPP is likely to affect some women more than others due to risk factors such as:
- First pregnancy
- High blood pressure
- Extreme weight gain
- Multiples pregnancy
- Caucasian descent
Some of the measures that you can take to reduce PUPPP include:
- Apply itch-free moisturizers
- Take itch-relieving baths
- Apply cool, wet compressions
- Avoid using harsh chemicals, including soap, on areas affected by PUPPP
- Wear comfortable clothing
4. Stretch marks
Even though everyone can have stretch marks, they are more common during pregnancy, affecting nearly 9 out of 10 pregnant women. It results from the extra stretched skin or overweight that occurs in pregnancy. Stretch marks are likely to develop in your abdomen, thighs, buttocks, and breasts. Dermatologists advise that stretch marks occurrence during pregnancy mainly depends on one’s pregnancy and genetics. Proper hydration using appropriate moisturizers is recommendable to control the occurrence of stretch marks. However, stretch mark occurrence may be out of control during pregnancy.
Acne can appear in your skin during pregnancy for the first time, or it may worsen. It is during the first and second trimesters. A rise in androgen hormones is the cause of acne during pregnancy as it results in more sebum production that can clog your pores and result in acne.
You can apply several strategies, including the following, to prevent or manage acne:
- Wash your face regularly
- Use appropriate moisturizers
- Minimize use of makeups
- Keep your hair clean and avoid your hair touching the face.
- Properly hydrate your body
- Avoid picking at pimples
- Exercise regularly
If your acne condition gets worse, please visit a dermatologist for expert advice and treatment. Otherwise, acne will probably resolve when your hormone levels normalize.
6. Skin tags
Skin tags are benign skin growths that can occur during pregnancy. Research has shown that approximately 12% of pregnancies result in skin tags. You will likely get them on any skin tag sites such as armpits, chest, neck, groin, or under your breasts.
The development of skin tags during pregnancy is associated with hormonal changes like increased leptin and estrogen levels, increased fat tissues, and increased friction due to weight gain.
Even though they are harmless, you can decide to visit a doctor for removal if you feel uncomfortable.
7. Varicose Veins
Pregnancy usually results in weight gain. The increased weight and uterine pressure exert a lot of pressure in your veins, leading to varicose veins. The condition is likely to cause pain, and therefore, you need to take some precautionary measures to manage this condition.
- Elevating for legs for better blood flow
- Reducing the amount of time spend on sitting or standing
- Engaging in exercise regularly
- Proper hydration
8. Cholestasis of pregnancy
Cholestasis of pregnancy is a condition that leads to the itching of your skin. It mainly occurs during the third trimester, resulting from a liver condition that leads to the disruption of bile flow. The condition can cause itchiness in your entire body, but it may be severe in your hands and feet. Besides, cholestasis of pregnancy can result in jaundice, nausea, and loss of appetite.
You will be at more risk of cholestasis of pregnancy if you have a family history of the condition, pregnant with multiples, or you have a history of liver disease.
This condition can harm the fetus or the mother. The complications caused to the unborn baby can be more severe than for the mother. Some of the risks to the unborn baby include:
- Preterm birth
- Lung complications that result from taking in meconium
- Stillbirth-death of the unborn baby before delivery
Besides the usual body changes, skin conditions are among the occurrences that you may encounter during pregnancy. Some skin conditions result in itchiness, while others are non-itchy and may cause the darkening of your skin. Despite being harmless, some of the skin conditions are painful or cause discomfort, requiring medical attention. It is essential that you understand the various skin conditions during pregnancy to differentiate the regular occurrences from the strange happenstances that need crucial medical attention.