I was going to add my thoughts on the aesthetic changes to your body that pregnancy can cause to my previous “Body Matters” post but the whole feature would have been way too long. Just to stipulate before I begin, everyone is different, I can only give the details of what happened to me personally (and what didn’t – even though I was expecting it).
Pigmentation (Melasma Gravidarum/Chloasma)
I suffer from this anyway, in summer I wear factor 50 on my face, giant sunglasses and a hat yet I still manage to develop weird dark patches regardless, particularly around my eyes and on my forehead. When I found out I was expecting it was August, I already had some brownish blotches and I assumed they would get much worse as the months passed. I was wrong, they cleared up completely. No I don’t understand it either. Except to conclude perhaps it is my contraceptive pill that is in fact causing the Chloasma.
Instead the line that runs vertically up your torso during pregnancy (the Linea Nigra) on me was incredibly dark. Like Mahogany. I wasn’t expecting that. Almost 10 weeks after Mabel arrived it hasn’t faded particularly much either and ironically is far more noticeable than my c-section scar.
Has this happened to anyone else?
Dry And Sensitive Skin
This is my skin type so I just expected the redness and flakes to increase ten fold. The redness wasn’t too bad as it happens, I had to use very gentle products though and endeavour not to introduce new things (I had a super flare up whilst on a break in Paris at 16 weeks and looked as though I had sunburn, I just couldn’t resist the pretty bottles of glowing promise from the French Pharmacy!)
The dryness however was quite uncomfortable, there were even a few occasions where I would wake up in the middle of the night and go and apply more moisturiser, so tight and itchy was my epidermis. The positive side to all this is that my scalp was distinctly lacking in natural oils too, meaning I could go without washing my bonce for four days at a time (I usually cleanse my locks very other day.) This was a godsend as I reached 35 weeks and beyond, just standing up in the shower was a chore and I felt like I would lose my balance at any given moment.
My skin is still incredibly dry now, I’m on the hunt for a super serum to wear under face cream (any recommendations are as always, appreciated.)
Stretch Marks (Striae Gravidarum)
As per above, I was very conscious that I had to ensure my limbs and expanding bump were as supple as possible (you can read about my products of choice in my maternity survival pack post) as everyone knows a drier skin type ages faster than someone with an oily complexion. With this in mind (and the fact that several folk whom I didn’t even know very well, some that had not even had children themselves, were only to forthcoming in advising me that stretch marks are basically a given…) I prepared for my particular epidermal infliction to be the ideal foundation for those pesky marks.
Perhaps it was my dedication to lotion application, or genetics (in which case I guess I need to thank my Mum and her gene pool) or just sheer luck, but I seem to have avoided them altogether. I also think trying to be as healthy as you possibly can and not gaining weight excessively (and thus stretching more) must have a positive impact.
For anyone that’s worried about them I think the initial angry redness disappears fairly soon after birth, I have seen a friend’s and they are so faint, teeny tiny silver lines.
Due to the increased blood flow to your baby veins all over your body will become far more apparent during your pregnancy. I joked to my husband that I resembled an A to Z, my chest in particular was like an incredibly difficult to follow road map.
The blue-ness has all but disappeared but I am left with a few spider veins across my thighs, James has said they are barely noticeable and I’m sure with a bit of fake tan they will be but, I’m considering investigating some kind of laser treatment over the coming months, do let me know if you have any knowledge of their removal/can recommend a practitioner.
Oh. My. Gosh. My feet at times were so swollen they looked like a pair of trotters. I felt like one of the ugly sisters trying to shove her great big man foot into cinderella’s sexy slipper on the occasions I attempted to wear some of my favourite shoes.
My feet are still not back to normal, apparently your feet can actually increase in size permanently due to pregnancy…um, is that true?! Do I need to mourn the loss of my peep toes forever?!
Apparently your hair can become all thick and bouncy and L’Oreal advertisement like during pregnancy, mine didn’t do anything, no especially glossy locks for moi. However, the weeks following Mabel’s arrival my eyelashes started to fall out. Yep, I had actual bald patches in my lash line that I filled in with liquid liner.
I’m pleased to report they have since grown back and my flutter has almost returned to normal (with the help of my favourite £1 mascara obviously), I am yet to discover why this lash loss occurred. Weird.
Carpel Tunnel Syndrome
All of the changes I have mentioned above are pretty superficial in the grand scheme of things, I am so grateful for having such a beautiful healthy baby that a few broken veins and puffy feet are a small price to pay.
Carpel Tunnel Syndrome has been by far the worst post pregnancy condition, no-one told me about it, in fact I don’t think I had ever even heard of it. It essentially causes pain and numbness in the hands and fingers, having done some research post diagnosis it is suggested that 50% of pregnant women suffer from it, news to me.
I found it incredibly debilitating, the c-section already meant restricted movement, particularly in the first 2 weeks, carpel tunnel meant I didn’t feel confident even holding Mabel at times and that was incredibly upsetting. I was continually dropping things and finding it difficult to do even the simplest of tasks.
Although it has improved in the last few months my hands are still not quite right (I know – brilliant news for a blogger…) so I am currently considering physiotherapy.
Have any of you had carpel tunnel or know anyone that has?
Please feel free to ask any questions about anything at all covered in this feature (or anything I may have missed) and I’ll do my best to provide a response.
Photography | Anna Clarke