Managing Pregnancy Skin Conditions

If you're pregnant, chances are you are already familiar with some pregnancy skin conditions. You may be feeling anxious about some of the changes in your skin and you may be wondering what to do about them.

Making some time for pregnancy skin care is a good way to start.

Skin and pregnancy are closely linked. During pregnancy, your body is taken over by a colony of hormones and they have wild parties all the time, not just at night! At least it felt that way to me when I was pregnant.

The skin has a lot of parts that receive hormones and maybe that's why it changes dramatically during pregnancy.

Although these changes appear to be cosmetic, they're really caused by deeper changes going on inside the body. Pregnancy changes the body in many ways, as anyone who's had a baby knows. The good news about the pregnancy skin condition is...

...many of the changes are limited to pregnancy. They will go away sooner or later, once you've had the baby.

These conditions can be divided into three main groups. There are hormone-related changes, conditions that existed before pregnancy, and problems that are specific to pregnancy. This isn't a water-tight classification and some conditions may overlap categories.

So what can we blame on hormones? Everything! Just kidding. Seriously, I don't think "problem" is the right word for something that comes with the territory, and that will probably resolve on its own, so I'll call them "conditions" instead.

OK, I know they can cause anxiety in many women (I'll confess i worried a little about mine) but are they really problems? I'm not so sure.

Moving forward...some pregnancy skin conditions are hormone related, for example stretch marks. The scientific term for them is striae gravidarum, but who wants to say that?!

Some other conditions that belong in this group are skin darkening (also known as melasma, chloasma or hyperpigmentation), spider veins, and excessive hairiness of the face, neck and back.

The second category of skin conditions in pregnancy is related to problems that existed before pregnancy. Eczema (atopic dermatitis), acne, psoriasis, and fungal infections may improve or worsen during pregnancy.

Eczema tends to get worse, psoriasis often improves and severe acne usually gets worse. If you have bad acne, remember that many acne medications are not safe for use during pregnancy. a good example is isotretinoin (Accutane).

Also, small growths of soft tissue may also appear on the face, neck and chest during late pregnancy. These skin tags of pregnancy usually disappear after childbirth.

Finally, there are problems that are specific to pregnancy. Some examples are PUPPP (pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy), pruritus gravidarum and prurigo of pregnancy. Tongue twisting scientific terms for various types of pregnancy rashes.

Most pregnancy skin conditions improve on their own after childbirth. But if you are really worried about any skin changes in pregnancy, please see your healthcare provider. For safety reasons, you may want to avoid having any medical treatment or cosmetic procedure for skin conditions while you are pregnant.

Click on any of the links on this page to read about ways to manage skin changes in pregnancy without risking your baby's health.

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