During pregnancy, a woman's body has one priority and that is supplying nutrients to the baby. Therefore, Mom may suffer, including her skin, if her nutritional supplies are not stocked up or always replenished with excellent nutrition, says Birgitta Lauren, a pre and postnatal fitness and nutrition expert and author of "Expecting Fitness." Consuming the best foods for your skin may not only help keep you glowing during pregnancy, but also provide you and your unborn child with energy and needed nutrients when you both need it the most.
During pregnancy, many women will notice changes in their skin because of hormones or pregnancy-specific skin conditions. Stretch marks and skin stretches are among the most common because of circulating steroids, estrogen and relaxin, says Dr. Monica Grover, a family medicine physician with Women's Health at One in New York. Some women may also experience dry skin with intense itching, rashes and round lesions in the form of psoriasis, says Grover. A healthy dose of vitamins, coupled with the best foods for your skin, will help. "Foods that help should include prenatal vitamins with biotin, B-complex and folate," says Grover.
Healthy Oil for Unhealthy Skin
If your growing belly is dry, itchy and red, try cooking with safflower oil to add some nutrients to your skin, recommends Dr. Purvisha Patel, dermatologist at Advanced Dermatology and Skin Cancer Associates in Memphis, Tennessee. "It's packed with omega-6 fatty acids that act as a natural moisturizer, and can be beneficial for people suffering from dry, flaky or itchy skin," says Patel. "Some studies have found that this oil may even help with eczema."
Vegetables, Fruits, Nuts and Healthy Skin
A healthy dose of daily vegetables not only provides your body and your baby with much-needed nutrients, it also helps repair damage to your skin. "Oranges, limes, kale, asparagus, spinach and grapefruits are rich sources of vitamin C – which, of course, is Super Food No. 1 for anti-aging," says Patel. "Spinach is particularly important for skin health because of its ability to fight various skin cancers, and carrots are filled with vitamin A, which reduces the risk of developing skin cancer cells." Carrots can also help deter minor breakouts of acne during pregnancy while an extra dose of almonds or avocados, packed with vitamin E, can help fight sun damaged skin, says Patel.
Fueling your body with vitamins is crucial during your pregnancy, but loading up on whole grains can keep you feeling full longer and nurture your skin at the same time, says Jenny Petitti, a Colorado-based registered dietitian with Wellness with Light, a nutrition counseling and personal training company. "Whole grains, like whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, whole grain cereals and grains such as quinoa and millet are full of B vitamins, iron, fiber and selenium, which promotes elasticity and protects your skin against environmental damage," says Petitti.