Pregnancy Skin Care
Skin Changes During Pregnancy
A woman's body undergoes profound changes during pregnancy, delivery and the post-partum period. Hormonal changes early-on signal all systems to respond and adapt in an on-going process of accommodation over the approximate 40 weeks of gestation and beyond. The skin in particular has to make major adjustments to an expanding abdomen and preparation for delivery.
A pregnant woman's skin can reflect the high levels of estrogen and progesterone by becoming more reactive, oily or dry. Due to the increased amounts of melanocyte-stimulating hormone areas of hyper-pigmentation develop, including the face, referred to as melasma or the mask of pregnancy. Thyroid activity increases, which may be associated with decreased sebaceous activity of the skin, while sweat gland activity increases, with disorders such as hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) or miliaria (heat rash) more common.
Due to rapid stretching of the skins deeper connective tissue layers, and also the likely effect of hormone-related stimulation of fibroblast activity on collagen, up to 90% of women develop striae, commonly known as stretch marks.
With the increased capillary activity that is a part of the expanded vascular volume of pregnancy, skin becomes more sensitive and permeable, resulting in greater vulnerability to environmental influences.
Our bodies, to some degree, absorb systemically what is applied to the skin.Because our skin also eats we should be as careful about selection of personal care products we apply to our bodies as the nutritious food we seek for our whole health.