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By Dr Michelle LIM, Associate Consultant and Associate Professor Tan Thiam Chye, Visiting Consultant, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, KK Women's and Children's Hospital


You've likely heard of the term "pregnancy glow". This isn't a myth. At around week 11, hormones, coupled with an increase in blood volume, bring more blood closer to the surface of the skin, giving it a more radiant look.

Unfortunately, along with this glow comes a host of skin issues that pregnant women have to deal with. But don't worry; these are merely minor blemishes that can be treated with a few simple skincare tips.

1. Putting up with Pigmentation

putting up with pigmentation

The colour of your nipples, genitalia skin and the centre of your tummy will begin to darken, along with existing freckles and moles. You might even get something called melasma, which are dark blemishes on your cheeks, forehead, nose and chin. These symptoms are usually caused by an increase in melanin deposits around the body.

Many women will also start seeing a faint white line from their navel to the centre of the pubic bone. This is called a linea alba. In the second trimester, the line may darken, and is then known as a linea nigra.

What do I do? Good news — these pigmentation issues will go away naturally after pregnancy. In the meantime, use sunblock with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 to 20 to prevent further darkening of the pigmentations.

Related: Know Your Spots

2. Sorting Out Stretch Marks

sorting stretch marks

The stretching of your tummy will cause the skin to show up as purple, wavy lines around the tummy, breasts, thighs and groin.

What do I do? These marks will lighten after delivery. However, during the pregnancy, make sure to moisturise your skin frequently to minimise its effects. Also, consider wearing maternity underwear, which gives better support to the swelling tummy.

Related: Skin Diseases in Pregnancy

3. All about Acne

all about acne

Pregnant women sweat more as their sweat and oil glands are more active during pregnancy. This causes pimples and acne to form easily.

What do I do? Keep your body clean at all times, but limit baths to just one a day. Remember to use moisturising soap and avoid intense scrubbing. If the acne is particularly bad, you might want to ask your doctor for some antibiotic lotion.

Related: Skin Care Tips During Pregnancy and After Birth

4. Solving Skin Rashes

solving skin rashes

Another common skin condition is a skin rash that can get quite itchy.

What do I do? If your itching gets unbearable, do see your doctor. You may be prescribed a steroidal cream if you have particularly bad rashes or eczema.

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References

  1. Tan, T., Tan, K., Tan, H., & Tee, J. C. (2008). The New Art and Science of Pregnancy and Childbirth.. New Jersey: World Scientific.

  2. Health Promotion Board. (2013). Healthy Start for your Pregnancy.. Singapore: Health Promotion Board.