Pregnancy – What No One Ever Told Me Part 2
Last time we talked about the ways your senses change while you’re pregnant, and the digestive issues that seem to plague so many pregnant women. These aren’t the only unexpected symptoms that crop up during pregnancy, though. This time we’ll talk about changes to your skin and hair, and your libido, as well as a few other things you may not be expecting when you’re expecting.
Skin and Hair Changes
Many women know that their hair will get thicker during pregnancy. What you may not know is that the same hormones that may cause you to grow not only facial hair, but also hair on your breasts or belly. The safest method for removing unwanted hair during pregnancy is waxing or tweezing. Some women seek laser treatments, but most dermatologists will defer cosmetic procedures like this to after the pregnancy has ended, as laser treatments can affect skin pigmentation and can even lead to scarring.
Pregnancy hormones can also leads to pimples, especially in the first trimester. If you find yourself with bothersome breakouts, talk to your doctor. Retin-A and some other acne medications should be avoided, but others, especially medicated face washes that don’t stay on the skin, are usually safe.
Another common skin complaint is dark spots on the face, chest, arms, and belly. These spots are called melasma. You may also notice a darkened line that stretches from your belly button to your pelvis, known as the linea negra. These are normal and should go away after the pregnancy ends.
You may also experience skin tags and you may notice that any moles you have may grow. This is common, but keep an eye on them. As long as they stay round and consistent in color, it’s probably okay. If you notice changes in color, texture, or shape, talk to your doctor.
Pregnancy brings a whole host of physical changes that can make a woman feel unattractive, uncomfortable, and awkward; while some partners are intimidated by pregnancy and may be afraid of hurting you or the baby. All of these feelings are normal, but it’s important to communicate with your partner and not let it lead to problems with intimacy. If you are having problems talking about these things, consider having your partner go with you to your next visit with your doctor or midwife. He or she can reassure you both that the changes are normal.
Some women find themselves with a heightened interest in sex, which may come as a surprise. There are lots of reasons for this, including hormones, increased blood flow, and, if you’re excited about being pregnant, simply feeling closer to your partner during this time. Of course, if your doctor has warned you that your pregnancy is at increased risk of preterm labor, you will want to avoid sex. Otherwise, enjoy! You may also find that, once assured it is safe, that your partner is turned on by your pregnancy. After the baby comes, you will be advised to refrain for several weeks while your body recovers. Even after that, you will likely be tired and it may be difficult to find time for intimacy for a while.
You may find that when you’re on your feet for a while they will swell. This is normal, but if it happens suddenly, or if it’s accompanied by headaches or vision changes, call your doctor immediately.
You may find you get dizzy or lightheaded, especially during the first trimester. Staying hydrated can help, as can laying down with your feet up or, if you still can, sit with your head between your knees. If it only happens occasionally, don’t worry about it but do mention it to your doctor at your next appointment.
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