5 Not-So-Glowing Things Nobody Tells You About Pregnancy

Jun 30, 2015

5 Not-So-Glowing Things Nobody Tells You About Pregnancy

That famous glow—it’s really all women hear about beauty-wise when it comes to having a baby. It isn’t until you get pregnant that you start discovering all of these OMG really?! things that happen to your body (and consequently start Googling only to find out that yep, they happen to other women too). After nine months, I think I’ve experienced almost all of them—and I’m officially breaking the silence. Some of the changes aren’t so pretty, but I still wouldn’t trade them for anything.

Growing Isn’t the Only Thing Your Stomach Does

Turns out, all that stretching has a super fun side effect: itchiness! Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to assuage your urge to scratch: Avoid taking really hot showers and baths, use a gentle non-drying soap like Balance Me Rose Otto Body Wash, and liberally apply a hydrating moisturizer, shea butter or cocoa butter. Or try a formula that also targets stretch marks—I’ve sworn by Mama Mio’s The Tummy Rub Oil.

You May Break Out—and Not Just on Your Face!

One of the first signs of pregnancy (though I didn’t realize it at the time) wasn’t morning sickness—it was small red pimples on my chest. They can pop up at the beginning as your hormones surge in the early weeks, and those same hormones can cause acne throughout your pregnancy on your face, chest, and back. Talk to your doc and derm about which topical treatments are safe to use, and use a mild face and body wash—I love Tata Harper’s Regenerating Cleanser and 100% Pure’s Shower Gel, which are both conveniently ingredient-conscious.

Your Nails and Hair Will Get Crazy Strong

Here’s one for the win column: I have never had such strong, long nails in my life. And though I haven’t personally experienced thicker hair (which is totally fine; I already have too many curls!), it’s another pregnancy plus. Both can be credited to hormones, estrogen in particular. I’ve been going polish-free for the most part, but when I have painted my nails, I’ve used some of the non-toxic five-free formulas we carry—I’m obsessed with Smith and Cult’s summery colors.

Moles (and Skin Tags) Appear Out of Nowhere

This development was a little unnerving—about halfway through my pregnancy I started noticing new moles on my back. I caved to the panicky Internet search only to learn that once again, hormones can cause changes in your skin pigmentation, making existing moles darker and new ones surface. They often go away after the baby is born, but you should have your derm take a look, and note any unusual changes. I also spotted skin tags (small skin growths) I had never seen before underneath my arms. They’re generally harmless, but still have them checked out and avoid tight-fitting clothes because friction can irritate them.

Your Veins May Become Much More Visible

All that extra blood that’s pumping through your body during pregnancy can cause your veins to become more prominent in your hands, feet, chest, and belly. If you’re prone to varicose and spider veins like me, they can intensify and multiply the further along you get—blame the increased pressure on your vessels, especially in your legs. Exercise can help—including walking—as can elevating your legs when you are sitting, and avoiding standing for long stints. If you want to cover them up, try a tinted BB cream for your body like this one from Whish. I like to think of them as purple badges of honor.

Cristina T. Birchbox senior editor, Rhode Island native, curly girl, lover of labs and strong cocktails.