How To Skin Care In Pregnancy

Skin care in pregnancy (including perineum) continuity is more important than spending a lot of money on products.

We think that the skin is only an inert layer that covers us. But the reality is that it is an organ – the most extensive! -, an element with a life of its own that nourishes, breathes and eliminates waste substances. It also sends signals to the brain of what is happening around us. Also, feels changes in temperature, contact, pressure, vibration and pain if it is broken or hit.

Main features of skin

The skin is composed of two basic layers.

  1. The external, called epidermis, protects the body from the inclemency of the external environment. That’s why it’s harder and waterproof, and it’s made up of many layers of flat cells that contain a hardener, keratin.
  2. Under the epidermis is the dermis. Thicker, contains many glands that nourish and hydrate, producing sweat, and follicles from which hair is born. In this layer is also a dark substance, melanin, which dyes the skin so that it can defend itself from the radiations of the sun. People with freckles have melanin in clusters, and those with fair skin, in less quantity.

The more hours we expose ourselves to the sun, the more melanin the organism produces. This is how we adapt to the external environment. In addition to these cells, the skin has fibers that cross over to keep it in place and blood vessels that carry the necessary blood.

CHANGES OF PIGMENTATION

The hormones of pregnancy produce a rejuvenating effect

they act like a real face lift. Increases the level of hydration and, in general, its thickness and fluid retention, which gives the skin a more turgid look and feel. That is why it is often said that pregnant women are more beautiful.

Another characteristic effect of hormones is the increase in pigmentation

In part, that’s because it increases the response to exposure to sunlight, since the placental hormones are similar to those that stimulate melanin. In other words, women who are developing a baby get brighter. But this circumstance does not protect them more from the sun: they are just as exposed to sunburn.

On the other hand, a special pigmentation occurs in some areas of the body. Specifically, the nipples and areolas are acquiring a more striking color and greater volume as the pregnancy progresses. The objective is that the baby, as soon as he is born, will see more easily his first objective: the place where he will make his first colostrum intake and essential substances for health, his first binding contact with the mother. In the areola, that circumference that surrounds the nipple, little by little they are noticing a few bumps that are not more than glands that produce fat that are going to lubricate the skin of the nipple and the areola to prepare them for breastfeeding. It is not necessary to apply any type of cream to put the chest to the point; nature already has it planned. The best way to avoid cracks and other painful disorders is to ensure a good start of breastfeeding, facilitating the immediate and uninterrupted contact of the mother and the baby, since the newborn is born with the instinct to find and hold on to the breast in the better posture

Another area subject to pigmentation changes is the abdomen

 The linea alba, a vertical stripe that goes from the navel to the pubis, darkens in a striking way towards the end of pregnancy, especially in brunette women.

BEWARE OF THE SUN

Some pregnant women notice spots on their faces that they did not have before.

It is chloasma, also popularly called mask of pregnancy, dark spots that appear mostly on the forehead, cheeks and upper lip. In general, they tend to disappear little by little after childbirth. But even so it is necessary to protect themselves from the sun’s rays, because they can leave traces that do not go away completely. To avoid them, and above all to prevent cellular damage that can cause sunburn, it is advisable to use creams with the appropriate protection factor. Since the face is one of the most sensitive areas to the appearance of spots, it is advisable to use a hat on the beach or the pool, and in general, resort to an umbrella to avoid being many hours in the sun.

Another factor to consider is the increase in body temperature. 

It is necessary to avoid that the gut receives too much sun without cooling often, since the uterus could get too hot: it is important not to forget that the baby cannot sweat to defend itself from the heat. Also, it is good to drink plenty of fluids during those hot beach or pool hours to avoid dehydration. Although it is light and the mother only produces a small discomfort, dizziness or headache, the baby can affect it much more, since it reduces the volume of blood per minute that passes through the placenta.

VAGINAL CHANGES

Pregnant women almost always notice that they have more secretions in the vagina and vulva. It is a normal situation, due to the effect of hormones, the mucosa of the vagina is more full of water, nutrients and sugars. The cervix, covered by a thick accumulation of mucus, also increases in size and produces secretions.

The vaginal walls become thicker and the blood supply increases.

This explains, in part, the increase in the sexual response of pregnant women, something that sometimes causes them surprise.

It is not necessary to do vaginal washings,

whether you are pregnant or not, unless there is an infection and the doctor has prescribed some substance to irrigate the inside of the vagina. The external zone can be washed only with water or with a little neutral pH soap. It is important to avoid the abuse of this or any other product, because they can eliminate the natural defenses of the skin or the fat that keeps it hydrated.

Although it is normal to increase secretions during pregnancy, you should pay attention to signs that are not normal:

  • Greenish or white lumpy discharge. It can be a sign of fungal infection, which is not serious for the baby but very annoying for the mother, because it produces itching and, sometimes, discomfort when urinating.
  • Bleeding Except in the days before delivery, in which it is normal to expel mucus stained with a vein of blood, any bleeding can be a symptom of a complication. For this reason, it is better to consult the healthcare personnel of reference.
  • Ejection of amniotic fluid. If the bag of waters breaks, you can lose fluid through the vagina, in a small amount but continuously, or abundantly and suddenly. It is normal for this to occur during labor and, sometimes, in the hours before the onset of contractions. If the waters are green or with heavy bleeding, you should go urgently to the hospital to check the good condition of the baby and the placenta.

A GREAT ELASTICITY

The skin of the perineum is very elastic and resistant. At the time of delivery, your ability to widen without breaking increases even more. For this reason it is no longer recommended to make a cut systematically with a scissors – the so-called episiotomy – which increases the risk of tears, pain and possible long-term sexual difficulties.

Do not force the times with synthetic oxytocin, wait patiently if the baby and mother are well, and allow changes in posture, preventing the woman from lying on her back at the time of delivery, are the best guarantee for the perineum is intact after birth. Not wearing painful stitches makes a big difference for a new mother who has to spend many hours a day caring for her child.

BENEFITS OF BEING CONSTANT

In the care of the skin, continuity is more important than spending a lot of money on products. Above all you have to avoid those that contain artificial substances that can be converted into estrogen, hormones that alter the development of the baby.

ALLEVIATE THE VARICOSE DISCOMFORT

  • Dilatation of venous blood vessels in the legs and vulva can cause discomfort.
  • This disorder is due to several factors: mainly by the action of progesterone. But also by mechanical factors, such as the compression of the return of blood to the heart due to the increase in the size and weight of the growing uterus, and also by the increase of the circulating blood volume that occurs physiologically.
  • This effect increase in summer, since heat increases this dilation in a natural way.
  • There are several measures to relieve symptoms. For example, swim, exercise, take warm or cool showers ending with cold water.
  • Important to use shoes with soles made of natural materials, such as leather or esparto grass, since synthetic fabrics overheat the foot a lot and can aggravate the problem.
  • If a red or hard area appears, see the doctor immediately to rule out thrombosis.

A BODY WITHOUT STRESS

As they are

They are elongated marks-first of a pink tone and then somewhat lighter than the color of the skin. And a little hard-that reflect breaks in the fibrous tissue by a sudden stretch.

Critical moments

They usually appear towards the end of pregnancy. Or at times when there is a sudden increase in the size of hips or breasts. There are women more predisposed to have them because of their constitution.

A lot of perseverance

They can be prevented by hydrating the skin. Exercising to increase vascularization, that is, the blood supply, which will bring repair cells to these areas more quickly.

Essential products

Jojoba oil and rosehip oil are especially interesting. For daily use, sweet almond, olive, or cocoa butter, can be good allies to make the skin more flexible. Also, prevent the fibers from breaking.

NUTRITION FROM THE INSIDE

Basics in the diet

The health of the skin depends largely on the nutrients that come through the blood, and therefore, the foods that make up our diet. You need the full range of vitamins and minerals included. Basically, in fruits and salads with raw ingredients, green or red leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds. Carrot, beet, orange and lemon juices are suitable for that.

An extra help

Brewer’s yeast, rich in B vitamins, is a great help. That does not mean that you can drink beer with alcohol, harmful to the baby. Evening primrose and borage oils, sold in pearls, provide long chain essential fatty acids and help nourish the skin inside.

Vascular problems

If there is fragility in the blood vessels and it is prone to varicose dilation, it is useful to prepare fruit smoothies that include the entire skin, especially orange or lemon. Some plant extracts in tablets can help. Always check with your doctor or health professional.

IS CHLORINE OF POOLS HARMFUL?

  • Chlorine dries the skin a lot and a slight possibility that it is toxic for young. The toxicity is greater in the closed pools, since the steam inhale.
  • Many pools use other methods of disinfection. Ask where you usually go swimming. In any case, always douchate later to eliminate remains.
  • In addition to iodine, seawater contains many minerals good for the organism, which are used even walking along the shore. The effect of weightlessness offered by the sea is also very relaxing.

 

Post Author: Dr. Carrie Luxem

Dr. Carrie is an obstetrician-gynecologist in Ann Arbor, Michigan and is affiliated with University of Michigan Hospitals-Michigan Medicine. She received her medical degree from University of Michigan Medical School and has been in practice between 3-5 years. She is one of 87 doctors at University of Michigan Hospitals-Michigan Medicine who specialize in Obstetrics & Gynecology.

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