When a woman becomes pregnant, her skin often goes through many changes. What each woman experiences during her pregnancy will be very individual to her. However, it is not unusual for many women to notice different changes during different pregnancies (and this has nothing to do with the sex of your baby!)
Some women like the changes they experience. Their skin may look healthier and clearer, even 'glowing' so to speak. But for others, their skin changes are not pleasant because it is oily, more blotchy and perhaps has more blemishes. These changes can just be another 'side effect' of the pregnancy, to be tolerated until after the baby is born.
Feeling warmer than usual
The increased blood flow through the skin during pregnancy makes most pregnant women feel warmer than other people. The amount of blood flowing through a pregnant woman's body starts to increase at about six weeks, so that by about 32 weeks it can be as much as 50 percent more than what it would normally be. This increased blood flow combines with the relaxing effects of the pregnancy hormone 'progesterone', to make the tiny blood vessels in the skin's surface (or 'capillaries') open up more. The capillaries become more filled with blood (often referred to as 'vasodilation'), making the pregnant woman feel warmer, even heated or 'flushed' at times.
Vasodilation can also contribute to women fainting in hot situations. (Be aware that crowded rooms or steamy bathrooms can contribute to this.) Also, if you get up too quickly, the blood can drain rapidly from your head to your hands and feet, causing you to feel faint or briefly see stars in front of your eyes.
Sweating more than usual
Pregnant women also tend to sweat more. During pregnancy the skin's sweat glands work overtime. This can happen day and night (and continues for many women who breastfeed). The sweating is usually more noticeable in warmer weather, but can be at any time of the year. Salt lost through extra sweating is possibly thought to contribute to leg cramps in the hotter months. Some women will even experience hot flushes, as their hormones fluctuate.
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Last revised: Friday, 23 May 2014
This article contains general information only and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified health professional.