Is it not enough you’ve bid adieu to button-up jeans and your favourite ankle boots is it? Nope.
That coveted pregnancy ‘glow’ doesn’t happen to all mums-to-be, but if it does, it’s like Botox for free; preggo hormones boost blood circulation, plumping your skin and giving you a rosy complexion.
More often than not, that surge of pregnancy hormones will swing the other way, causing the kind of breakouts you thought were strictly reserved for the pubescent. Totally normal, but totally sucky, too.
You may notice a few stretch marks at the points of weight gain, or you’ll end up looking like the map of the London Underground. You could also emerge from pregnancy striation-free. It’s all in the genes; if you’ve been blessed with plenty collagen, your skin will withstand the stretch–if you’re part of the remaining 80% of pregnant women, you’ll see some (or plenty) of those streaky, red, pink, purple or brown markings. The good news is that stretch marks usually fade a lot after birth.
Prepare for random patches of darkened skin–including around the nipple area, in a line extending from your belly button to pubic bone (linea nigra), and, most conveniently, on your face (melasma). As with stretch marks, hyperpigmentation gradually fades postpartum–but it also darkens when exposed to sun, so stay out of the rays, or load up on sun protection.
A little itching is no cause for concern; a higher core temp and hormonal surges can make skin extra sensitive. If the itching becomes severe, however, let your doctor or midwife know–it may be obstetric cholestasis which requires intervention.
An itchy rash of hives radiating from your belly outwards to your limbs may be polymorphic eruption of pregnancy (PEP). A pesky condition, but resolves around the end of pregnancy or post-birth.