What are the skin conditions during pregnancy?

One has to believe that there are many changes in the women’s body during pregnancy. The most obvious change beside a big tummy is noticed on the skin. There are several skin changes during pregnancy and many previous skin conditions also get aggravated during pregnancy. The changes in the skin   are caused by hormonal changes that take place during pregnancy.  The hormonal upheavals and the stomach stretching to accommodate the growing baby bring unexpected changes in the skin.

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Skin conditions during pregnancy

Stretch marks

These  are noticed on the belly, hips and thigh in the later stages of pregnancy. They appear as reddish or pinkish streaks running down the stomach and breasts.  There is no complete treatment for the stretch marks. But they can be delayed or minimized by exercises and applying lotions containing Vitamin A. Most of the time these stretch lines fade to silvery faint lines after delivery. Genetics plays an important role in the amount of stretches and the time when the stretches will appear.

Varicose veins

Varicose veins are the blue and purple veins that are visible on the legs during pregnancy. These are caused by the extra blood flow going to the baby. Varicose veins are sometimes very painful and uncomfortable. Heredity plays a vital role in the development of these veins. There are several ways to prevent the varicose veins include

  • Avoid sitting, standing for long periods of time.
  • Walking helps the blood to return back to the heart.
  • Keep feet elevated as far as possible.
  • Stockings support the veins and prevent them from bulging.
  • Consume Vitamin C to keep the veins elastic and healthy.
  • Keep control over excess weight gain.

Pimple Breakouts and Acne

Many pregnant women experience some grade of acne during the complete nine months of pregnancy. If one is having the problem before getting pregnant, they are sure to become more irritating during pregnancy. The production of extra hormones during pregnancy causes the oil glands to secrete oil, which in turn results in pimples and acne on the skin. This condition of the skin during pregnancy can be minimized by cleansing the skin morning and evening with a mild soap. An oil free moisturizer will help in keeping the skin soft.

Itchy skin

Pregnant woman skin normally itches from the growing stomach to the bottom of the feet. The itching is caused by the stretching of the skin as the abdomen grows big.  If the itching in the later stage of pregnancy is accompanied with nausea, vomiting and fatigue, the doctor must be consulted. This can be a symptom of cholestasis which is related to liver function. Doctors diagnose this disease by a blood test and it can be easily treated with medicines. Another form of intense itching can spread to the arms and legs. It causes red, raised and itchy patches on the body which go away on their own after delivery. The dry, itchy condition of the skin can be alleviated by keeping the skin on the abdomen moisturized. Anti- itch creams or lacto calamine also gives relief from this condition. A nice oatmeal bath can give relief from the discomforts of itching.

Skin darkening

This is also known as the mask of pregnancy or melisma. These are dark splotchy spots that appear commonly on the forehead and cheeks. They are the result of high pigmentation. Mask of pregnancy can be prevented by applying good sunscreen lotion.

Spider Veins

These are thin and reddishtiny blood vessels that branch on the outwards. They are caused by the increase of blood circulation. Spider veins do not hurt, but appear on the chest, face, neck and upper chest. These can also be hereditary. There is nothing to do to get rid of them. They disappear on their own after delivery.

Linea Nigra

This is a dark line that develops from the naval to the pubic bone.  It is a line that always been there, but it becomes dark and noticeable during the fourth and fifth month of pregnancy by the imbalance in hormones. There is nothing to do for it. It will fade away after pregnancy. This is due to hormones stimulating the production of pigment in the skin. It appears on the midline as the abdominal muscles pull away from one another and extend, adjusting to the expanding uterus. Women can notice this streak below their navel only, whereas in others it can reach right up to the breastplate. It occurs during the second trimester, linea nigra tends to fade or completely disappear in this week following the birth.


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Skin Tags

Skin tags are very small, loose growths of skin that normally appear under the arms or on the breasts during pregnancy. They usually disappear after delivery.

Skin tags are generally small, light colored nodules attached to the body by a stalk. They commonly grow in the folds of skin of the armpits or beneath the breasts and are caused by skin rubbing against skin. Skin tags are soft, benign growths consisting of collagen fibres and blood vessels covered skin. While they usually regress in the period after the delivery, those remain and or become bothersome as removed by electrocautery, cryotheraphy, surgical excision.

Hyper pigmentation

Hyper pigmentation during pregnancy can change usually and are more pronounced in women with a darker complexion. The areolae, axillae, and genitals are commonly affected, although scars and nevi may be darkening. The linea nigra is the line often forms when the abdominal linea alba darkens during pregnancy. Melasma may be the most cosmetically troublesome skin condition associated with pregnancy. IT occurs in up to 70 percent of pregnant women and may occur in women taking oral contraceptives.

Some of the reasons are exposed to sunlight and other ultraviolet radiation worsens melasma, therefore, using high potency, broad spectrum sunscreens and avoiding excessive exposure to sunlight may prevent melasma from developing or being exacerbated. There is no specific treatment and are indicated during pregnancy, physicians can reassure patients that melasma resolves postpartum in most cases. It may not resolve completely and may recur with future pregnancies or with oral contraceptive use. Severe postpartum epidermal melasma is treated with combinations of topical tretinoin, hydroquinone and corticosteroids.


Posariasis are many preexisting skin conditions; pregnancy can affect psoriasis, a chronic skin condition in which patches of skin become red. It is inflamed and covered by white, flaky skin. These occur due to skin cells that are produced more quickly than normal. It causes a buildup which creates the plaques. IT can be caused by faulty signals from the immune system. Pregnancies are occasionally exacerbating psoriasis; women can notice an improvement in their condition during this time.

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