Oh Mama, you are glowing! Pregnancy brings along with it plenty of unexpected perks and annoyances based on your fluctuating hormones. Your skin and complexion are not safe from side effects from your growing belly. Settle in and join us for Pregnancy Skin 101. By the end of our time together, you will have a better handle on what exactly is going on with your skin lately.

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Photo: Phallin Ooi via Flickr

You Really Are Glowing
Your blood vessels are working overtime during your entire pregnancy, sending blood and nutrients to keep your baby growing and to keep you safe. The best part of all this extra blood production? Your glowing complexion. Chances are, you need a bit less blush these days and you get compliments on your radiant skin, but this perk doesn’t happen to everyone. Don’t hate us if you’re not so lucky.

Your Chronic Skin Conditions Get Better – Or Not
With all of your fluctuating hormones, you might find that some of your chronic skin conditions go into remission, or at least get a bit better, when you’re expecting. Don’t be surprised if your psoriasis goes MIA during your pregnancy, for example. On the other hand, chronic skin conditions can get worse. Acne typically shows up in full force during pregnancy, as does eczema. Talk with your doctor if you are uncomfortable or noticing major changes.

An Itch You Can’t Scratch Enough
Many pregnant women complain of itchy skin. If your skin is itching more than usual, there are a few culprits that could be the cause of your discomfort. Stretching skin over your belly and other growing body areas can cause itching, as can dry skin caused by hormonal changes. Don’t leave home without your favorite lotion. You’ll be more comfortable the more moisturized you are. Don’t have a favorite cream? Check out the line of body butters from 100% Pure. Our fave is the coconut lime – it’s smells like vacation!

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Image from Eugene Luchinin via Flickr

Stretch It Out
Listen, the stretch mark struggle is real. Some moms-to-be get minimal to no stretch marks, while others get many more. Stressed out about your stretch marks? Don’t be. Your body is making a baby, and skin is stretching a bit quicker than it is used to. While it can be a bit of a shot to our egos, stretch marks are just par for the course many times. If you would like to get into a daily routine of stretch mark prevention, consider a cream that can help improve your skin’s elasticity. We love Honest Co.’s Organic Belly Balm.

Color Changes
Women often find that their skin tones actually change during, and sometimes after, pregnancy. If you find that you have brown patches on your face, or even red spider veins on your cheeks, go ahead and chat with your doctor to see if there’s a treatment that will work with you and make you feel more confident.

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Photo: Thomas Pompernigg via Flickr

Burn, Baby, Burn
Summer pregnancies require extra precautions to keep your skin safe from the sun. Mamas-to-be can burn much easier than normally due to extra sensitive skin. Lather up with your favorite sunscreen, and don’t forget your face and lips. You might also notice that you are burning from other skin irritants during these nine months. Common troublemakers for your newly sensitive skin are usually soap or detergent based; start using gentle versions of your favorites to see if that helps your reactions and discomfort. Unfortunately, your evening bubble bath might be doing more harm than good.

Random Bumps
Noticing extra skin under your armpits or neck? You are likely the happy new owner of hormone induced skin tags. While there’s nothing that you can do to prevent them or treat them, keep your doctor informed. Skin tags typically go away on their own after your baby arrives and hormones go back to normal. However, if you still have some tags after the fact, you can have them removed by a dermatologist quickly and painlessly.

If you haven’t realized it by now, no body part or function is safe from pregnancy bizarreness. When it comes to your skin, it’s a toss up – you might end up with that blissful glow, or you might end up with itchy stretch marks. Either way, you get a baby at the end of this journey. Stay strong and invest in some good lotion.

What surprised you about your pregnancy skin? Tell us in a Comment.

–Haley Burress