body changes during pregnancy

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

By week 23 of pregnancy, you're almost halfway through this wonderful journey. During this second trimester, you will notice many changes happening to your body. Here are some tips on how to manage these pregnancy effects:

1. Stretch Marks

stretch marks

What happens: As your belly stretches to accommodate your growing baby, stretch marks may appear on your abdomen, breasts, buttocks and thighs.

What you can do: Diligent use of moisturisers and anti-stretch mark creams may help reduce the appearance of these stretch marks. Postnatally, these streaks will tend to fade, and become less noticeable.

Related: 4 Ways To Manage Your Weight Gain During Pregnancy

2. Spots

spots

What happens: Your skin may retain more moisture during pregnancy, which gives your complexion a lovely glow. However, higher levels of hormones during pregnancy may also lead to greasy skin and acne on your face and back.

What you can do: These blemishes usually disappear with the arrival of your baby. Washing your face gently with a mild cleanser twice daily and using oil-free skin care products should help. Do not squeeze and pop these pimples as it could result in scarring.

Related: Do's and Don'ts in Pregnancy

3. Pigmentation

pigmentation

What happens: Pregnancy hormones may produce brown patches on your skin, especially areas exposed to the sun. This is also known as "the mask of pregnancy" or chloasma. You may also have a dark vertical line travelling from your belly button to the pubic area, which is known as the linea nigra.

What you can do: Pigmentations and linea nigra usually lighten or fade within a few months of delivery. Use of sunblock to protect your skin against UV rays is recommended.

Related: Do's and Don'ts in Pregnancy

4. Hair Changes

hair changes

What happens: Pregnancy-related hormonal changes may have differing effects on hair growth. While some mums-to-be may see their hair becoming shiny and lustrous, others may experience lifeless and greasy hair.

What you can do: Such changes are only temporary. Don't be too alarmed!

Related: Do's and Don'ts in Pregnancy

5. Sensitive Gums

sensitive gums

What happens: Higher levels of progesterone during pregnancy will cause your gums to become softer, spongy and more sensitive.

What you can do: Good oral hygiene is important. Do inform your dentist about your pregnancy to ensure that any treatment prescribed is safe for your baby.

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Note from Doctor:Remember to start anti-stretch mark cream from second trimester to reduce the stretch marks!

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Sources:

The New Art and Science of Pregnancy and Childbirth 2008, World Scientific

Healthy Start for your Pregnancy 2012, Health Promotion Board Singapore