Various skin problems may appear during pregnancy. Basically, during this part of a woman's life, her body undergoes various hormonal changes and modifications of other type. Thus, sometimes, these changes may result in certain health problems, some of which can be related to the skin.
In fact, there are several types of skin problems which can appear during pregnancy. The conditions may be related to hormones, may have existed before the pregnancy itself or may appear during the pregnancy, being specific for this stage. While the hormonal changes manifest through the appearance of stretch marks, hyper-pigmentation and changes affecting the hair, the nails and some other parts of the body, the pre-existing skin conditions may result in the appearance of rashes due to tumors, fungal infections or some other problems of this type.
Usually, the skin problems which appear during pregnancy disappear after the birth of the child. However, you are best to seek medical assistance as soon as you notice any prevalent symptoms.
Benign Skin Conditions
Benign skin conditions are commonly associated with the hormonal changes taking place during pregnancy. These are, as it was mentioned above, predominantly, stretch marks, hyper-pigmentation and hair, nail and vascular problems.
The stretch marks affect more than 90% of women by the last trimester of their pregnancy. These are pink or purple lines which appear on the abdomen, buttocks, breasts, arms or thighs, more frequently affecting younger women than older ones. Of course, the size of the baby influences the severity of the stretch marks, along with the body mass index of the woman affected. Once the baby is born, the stretch marks disappear significantly, but usually not completely. In order to get rid of the remaining stretch marks, women usually undergo surgery or some non-invasive drug treatments and therapies.
As for the hyper-pigmentation, it too is a condition which quite often affects pregnant women, especially those with darker skin complexions. The most frequent body parts to be affected are axillae, genitals and areolae.
Melasma is a form of hyper-pigmentation appearing during pregnancy, usually affecting women who were taking birth control pills. This mark gets worse once it gets exposed to UV radiation .
Moving on to the changes affecting the hair and the nails, these parts of our body usually either undergo excessive growth or a decrease in flourishing and quality. Thus, while many women have witnessed excessive hair appearing on their faces and other unexpected parts of their body, many have experienced quite an opposite effect, losing their hair through excessive shedding. Either way, the changes may or may not become present after the baby is born.
Finally, vascular conditions which can appear during pregnancy are triggered by expected changes in estrogen levels. These changes lead to dilation, instability, proliferation and congestion of the blood vessels, usually disappearing once the pregnancy ends.
Angiomas are also frequent types of these conditions, appearing on the face, neck and arms. Therefore, if any of these vascular problems appear and remain persistent, seek medical assistance.
Pre-Existing Skin Conditions
Commonly, once a woman has suffered from a skin condition before the pregnancy, the situation may either get better or get worse during this process, especially when it comes to atopic dermatitis and psoriasis. Purigo and the changes related to it may also improve or escalate.
Also, during pregnancy, women are likely to develop skin tags, mostly found on the neck, face, upper chest and beneath the breasts. Yet, these usually remain persistent after the pregnancy too.
One of the most common pregnancy-specific skin conditions are priuritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy, being rashes which initially appear on the abdominal area, avoiding the face. Prurigo of pregnancy is yet another common condition belonging to this category, manifesting through the appearance of nodules on the surface of the skin.
Additionally, pregnant women usually suffer from intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy, which can lead to danger of early delivery or some other problems related to the pregnancy.
If the women experiences round, arched or polycyclic patches containing small pustules, appearing on the skin, especially the thigh and groin area, the condition is called the impetigo herpetiformis, This appearance may be a sign of concern, potentially jeopardizing the health of the fetus.
Ultimately, the pruritic folliculitis of pregnancy appears during the second trimester, disappearing after the delivery.
As for the frequency of appearance, the intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy appears in 1 out of 146 to 1,293 cases in the US, while the pemphigoid gestationis is much less common affecting 1 woman in 50,000 mid-to-late pregnancies. Furthermore, 10% of all newborns are likely to suffer from some forms of this condition.
To sum up, there are many condition which can possibly lead to skin problems during the pregnancy, affecting both the mother and the baby. You are advised to be careful and diagnose the condition affecting you on time through seeking medical assistance as soon as you notice the symptoms.
By reacting timely, you are ensuring both your health and the health of your child.