Beauty and the Bump

Skin Issues in the Third Trimester of Pregnancy

Tips to keep skin healthy while you are expecting

Sure, you've got the pregnancy glow, but during the third trimester, you may also experience less pleasant changes in your skin. For some women, pregnancy is a time when the skin improves and acne subsides. But most women experience at least some itching and redness, as well as potentially long-lasting skin changes, such as stretch marks.

Dietary and lifestyle changes can help, but it's also important to accept that some changes -- those stretch marks, for example -- are evidence of your role as a mom. Deena Blumenfeld, a Lamaze-certified childbirth instructor in Pittsburgh, Penn., declares that "stretch marks are the stripes of a tiger mama. Embrace them and be confident."

Changes in the Skin

"One of the most common changes that I see in the skin is melasma or the mask of pregnancy," says Dr. Debra Jaliman, author of "Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist." She explains, "It may start in the second or third trimester. Brown patches appear on the face, and it gives a blotchy uneven appearance to the skin."

Many women experience itching, redness and eczema, as well as skin tags and stretch marks. Less commonly, some women experience oily skin and acne. Others develop varicose veins or spider veins, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Additionally, some women may notice a dark line running from the naval to the pubic bone. This is called linea nigra.

RELATED: 20 Discipline Mistakes All Moms Make


"The hormones of pregnancy cause many of the late-third-trimester skin concerns," says Camilla Bicknell, a nurse practitioner from Monument, Colorado, and co-author of "The Pregnancy Power Workbook." Hormonal fluctuations cause eczema, darkening skin, skin tags, oiliness and acne.

Stretch marks are caused by the stress your skin experiences as it stretches to accommodate your growing baby. Varicose veins are often hereditary and occur as a result of the increased blood flow to your baby.

Increased blood flow causes the pink flush you may notice in your face. Your growing baby produces more waste, which your skin, liver and kidney must process. This increase can cause increased sweating and itching.

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