Skin Changes During Pregnancy

That sudden glow on your face during pregnancy is just one of the skin changes that happen during pregnancy, and these changes may vary in pregnant women. Some of the common skin changes noticed during pregnancy are

  • Pregnancy glow
  • Stretch marks
  • Acne
  • Varicose veins
  • Spider veins
  • Itchiness
  • Chafing
  • Dark line in the midline of abdomen
  • Mask of pregnancy

Pregnancy glow

This sudden glow on skin that often reveals that you are pregnant, is caused by the increased blood circulation during this period. In addition to increased blood flow, the hormones improve working of oil glands that make your face shiny and bright. The skin is capable of retaining more moisture during pregnancy so that the fine lines also get smoothened out.

Stretch marks

The reddish marks that run down the bump, that you recently noticed, is known as stretch marks. It may appear on breasts as well. As the name indicates, this is caused by the stretching of skin as the fetus grows. Stretch of the skin leads to tearing of collagen tissue, which appears as small, reddish/pinkish marks. Lotions containing vitamin E and alpha hydroxy acids may be helpful in reducing stretch marks. In most of the cases, these stretch marks fade and become silvery marks after delivery.


Women with acne may have a breakout of pimples during pregnancy. Breakout is caused by an increase in hormone levels that in turn increase the oily secretions from the glands. A good cleansing routine in the night and morning may be of help. You can also use an astringent to remove excess oil from the skin. Acne medications should be used only after discussion with your doctor, as some medications are not recommended for pregnant women. Avoid washing face often as it may lead to skin dryness.

Varicose veins

This is seen in some women, where veins in legs become bulky and bluish. As the body prepares for the developing fetus by increasing blood flow, it is compensated by the development of these bulky veins. These veins may be painful in some. Standing or sitting for a long duration can increase pain. Keeping the leg raised on a stool while sitting help the blood to flow back to the heart. Wearing support stocking also is of help.

Spider veins

This skin change is also caused by increased blood flow. Spider veins are seen as small, reddish veins that branch, twist, and turn, and may appear on the face, legs, chest, and arms. In some cases, spider veins are considered to be hereditary. These pinkish veins may fade shortly after delivery.


Stretching and tightening of the skin in abdomen lead to dryness and itchiness. Moisturizing helps to relieve this symptom to a large extent. But, if the dryness is accompanied by other symptoms like nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite and/or jaundice, it should be immediately brought to the attention of your doctor.


Chafing of the skin, particularly under the breasts and between the thighs is common as you put on weight during pregnancy. The sensitive skin may become inflamed and blistered in some cases. Keeping the area dry, avoiding tight clothes, wearing cotton, and using talcum powder to absorb the extra moisture may all help in reducing chaffing.

Dark line in the midline of abdomen

This line, known as linea nigra, is normally in a lighter shade, but during pregnancy, it darkens and becomes more prominent during the second trimester. Linea nigra also fades within a few weeks of delivery.

Mask of pregnancy

Dark spots that form on the face are referred to as mask of pregnancy. These are more prominently seen on temple and cheeks. Hormonal changes during pregnancy lead to increased pigmentation that in turn causes these dark splotches on the face. Freckles and moles that are already present may also become darker.

In addition to these skin changes, some pregnant women may develop loose skin growths called tags under arms or breasts.

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