During pregnancy, you may get compliments that you’re “glowing.” This refers to a phenomenon that’s often visible on the face during pregnancy where your skin looks luminous or rosy on the cheeks.
Pregnancy glow, according to some ancient stories, is believed to be caused by happiness; emotional joy of the woman. Some believe it may even be caused by the sex of your baby.
It may sound like a myth but the “pregnancy glow” actually has several medical explanations. These are primarily related to fluctuations in hormones and blood flow, but the glow can also be attributed to other changes you’re going through.
A surge in the hormones released during pregnancy can make your skin look flushed, giving you that glowing look. Such hormones include estrogen, progesterone and human chorionic gonadotropin.
Increased oil in your skin
Some women experience more oil production from their sebum glands, due to hormone fluctuations. More blood volume can also increase the secretion of oil thus making your face to glow. You may be especially prone if you already have oily or skin.
This can however have some unwanted side effects, such as acne.
Increased blood flow
During pregnancy, your body produces more blood. This is because your uterus and vital organs need more blood to support your growing baby. Such an increase in blood volume also dilates your blood vessels, making your skin look flushed.
Skin stretching, which makes your skin taut, can also make you glow during pregnancy.
Dealing with the surging hormones and carrying extra weight can increase your body temperature and you may frequently sweat. This can cause heat rashes or hot flashes, both of which can create a “glowing” effect on your skin.
Worsening of preexisting skin conditions
If you have certain preexisting skin conditions such as eczema, rosacea and psoriasis, your symptoms may be worse during pregnancy.
Due to increased blood flow and hormones, affected skin may redden and look more noticeable. Sometimes this is mistaken for signs of pregnancy glow.
Care for your glow
You should wash your face twice a day and you may switch to safe oily skin products which your doctor recommends for the pregnancy period.
Wear a sunscreen everyday when you are exposed to sun to prevent worsening of a pregnancy-related skin condition called “pregnancy mask”. This condition refers to brown spots on your skin caused by hyperpigmentation from increased melanin production in your skin.
This condition is completely harmless and doesn’t happen to every woman. The blotches go away gradually after you give birth.
Pregnancy glow is just one of the many changes you might experience during pregnancy and you shouldn’t be concerned if you don’t. Other changes can include stronger nails, thicker hair, and reduced dry skin.
You may be more prone to experience this glow especially during the second trimester when the changes in your body are heightened. The glow and its causes go away after you give birth. It is not a permanent change to your skin.
Always talk to your doctor if you have concerns about any changes going on in your body during pregnancy.