|Photo courtesy of flickr user Schwangerschaft|
Doctors will always tell you what to eat and how to exercise during pregnancy, but they don’t always provide you with information about the outside of your body. We all know what’s on the inside matters, but it’s always nice to look just as good on the outside. Unfortunately, when you become pregnant, there are a few changes you may have to make to keep your baby safe.
Getting a Glow
Many women have fond summer memories of laying out with their girlfriends at the pool or beach. It’s natural to be proud of your baby bump and for you to have a desire to show it off. But is it safe?
The reality is that laying out or getting a tan is never safe. It always puts you at risk for skin cancer. But when you are pregnant, your body is more likely to being burned, which could lead to hives, heat rash or melasma, which causes dark spots to appear on your face. And that’s an on top of the skin cancer risk.
Does this mean you should never go outside during your pregnancy? No! Enjoying the sunshine is still possible, but it is important that you take care of yourself and your baby first. Since pregnancy makes it easier for your body to dehydrate, it is imperative to bring more than enough water with you. It is also a good idea to set up an umbrella, sit in a cool, shaded area and wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. But if you still want a light tan to amplify your pregnancy glow, a sunless tanning lotion is a safe alternative.
Spray tanning is also a safe option because these products simply stain the skin and do not absorb into the bloodstream. Sunless tanners use DHA (dihydroxyacetone) as the active ingredient, which is safe for the skin whether you’re pregnant or not. But, doctors will tell you that you must use protection for your nose, eyes, ears and mouth when getting a spray tan, and they suggest that you wait until after your first trimester.
Zap the Zits
When you are pregnant, your body is making extra hormones that can take you back in time to your acne-prone teenage years. The primary breakout areas are surrounding the mouth and the chin.
You may hear about oral medication that can aid in preventing or treating the breakouts, but this medicine can be dangerous for the baby. Instead of oral medication, use face soaps that are meant for a person with oily skin. Products that include either erythromycin or azelaic acid can prove to be very effective against the pesky acne and safe for your baby. You can also try Visha Skin Care’s Mommy Brightener, a new product developed by our own Dr. Purvisha Patel that is safe for treating acne and melasma during pregnancy.
Pamper Yourself Carefully
When you are pregnant, there are sure to be some days when you would love to relax and use common aromatherapy oils. But make sure you know what you’re using. Some of these oils can be harmful to you and your baby during this time. Here are the main oils that you will want to stay away from:
- Nutmeg - can cause hallucinations
- Rosemary - can cause your blood pressure to rise
- Basil - may contribute to abnormal cell growth
- Jasmine and clary sage - known to trigger early contractions
- Sage and rose - can cause bleeding in the uterus
- Juniper berry - may affect the kidneys
While it’s important to avoid the above ingredients, there is a wide selection of safe oils available to pregnant women, including lavender, citrus, spearmint and eucalyptus. It is good to remember not to mix oils and to use small dosages for short periods of time so you will not experience negative side effects.
You may also notice that the above are often found in foods, too. It is OK for you to eat foods that contain ingredients from the list of discouraged oils because the amount of these herbs in food is generally much lower and much less potent.
What’s in the Milk?
While you are pregnant and when you are breastfeeding, you are sharing nutrients with your baby. Your body is also not as capable of fighting off infection, and your baby’s immune system is not completely developed, which means it’s important to avoid food-borne illnesses. Easy ways to prevent them are to cook all foods thoroughly and refrigerate them properly, as well as to make sure your hands and cookware are clean before making and serving food.
Seafood is a tricky food to eat during this time because there are many that are good food options as well as many potentially dangerous foods. Seafood provides a good source of omega-3 fats, and they are good for the development of an unborn baby or infant. When choosing seafood, make sure that you do not get one with a high level of mercury. Large fish like king mackerel, shark, swordfish and tilefish are very high in mercury and can cause damage to your child’s developing nervous system. Aside from seafood, it’s important to just have a healthy diet and include all the food groups when applicable. Check with your obstetrician for more information on a recommended diet during pregnancy.
Have any more questions about your skin during pregnancy? Be sure to leave a comment and we will try to help you find the answers you need.