Food for beautiful skin during pregnancy

Common skin problems during pregnancy and what to eat

Hey wait. Wasn’t pregnancy supposed to give you that famous glow, that radiance, ruddiness and luminosity that is supposed to be the after effects of all those hormones raging through your body. While some lucky women do experience this, a lot of women go through clogged pores, pimples and cysts. Acne breakouts can be mild or severe too. These skin issues are mostly faced during the first trimester and achieving a beautiful skin during pregnancy might often seem like a dream. The good news is you are what you eat. Hence, by following the right diet, you can not only guarantee good health for you and your baby, but also get soft, smooth and radiant skin. Adopting the correct diet for glowing skin in pregnancy, means eating foods that can manage skin issues like acne, eczema, melasma, dry skin, and stretch marks.

Types of skin problems faced during pregnancy:

The different skin conditions experienced during pregnancy can be categorised as hormone-related, pre-existing, and pregnancy-specific. Hormonal changes that happen during pregnancy can cause benign conditions like stretch marks, melasma or hyper-pigmentation, and changes in hair, nail and blood vessels. Pre-existing skin conditions may become more prominent during pregnancy, like fungal infections, atopic dermatitis, cutaneous tumours, and psoriasis.

Here are the common skin issues during pregnancy:

  1. Melasma: This is caused by increased pigmentation due to pregnancy hormones. This causes dark splotches on the skin, especially on the nose and cheeks. The linea nigra, a dark line that appears between your belly button and pubic area during pregnancy, also appears. This increased pigmentation can affect any part of your body that is already pigmented, like you might see darker freckles or areolas.
  2. Stretch marks: Stretch marks or reddish streaks are extremely common in pregnant women, and they run down their breasts and belly. If you gain weight more rapidly, these become more prominent. Genetics is also a causative factor. After the birth of your baby, these marks usually turn silver or white in colour.
  3. Acne: Hormones during pregnancy cause oil glands in the skin to secrete more oil, thus causing acne.
  4. Skin tags: These are small, loose, and harmless growths of skin that mostly appear under arms and breasts. These can be removed after pregnancy if needed.
  5. PUPPP: Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques are itchy and are commonly seen during pregnancy. These red patches are seen along the stretch marks, usually towards the end of the pregnancy. The patches can spread to your arms, legs and buttocks too. However, they go away after the birth of your child.
  6. Cholestasis of pregnancy: This is a liver condition that happens when the bile flow in the gall bladder is obstructed due to pregnancy hormones. This is usually noticed in the third trimester and can cause severe itching all over your body. The palms and soles of your feet can itch severely. These too, go away, after delivery or with medication.
  7. Pregnancy induced eczema: This is one of the most common skin conditions observed during pregnancy. Eczema is associated with the immune system and autoimmune disorders. So, if you have already had eczema, it will flare up during pregnancy. It can also occur for the first time during pregnancy. Red, itchy bumps can pop up anywhere on the body.

Some nutritional remedies that can help manage these skin conditions:

  1. Melasma: To treat melasma, have foods that are rich in folate and zinc. Also, beans and nuts are popular foods for fair skin during pregnancy.
  2. Stretch marks: To avoid stretch marks, have foods that are rich in protein. The protein in them can strengthen the elastic fibres in your skin, giving it a toned and taut look. This will make it hard for stretch marks to develop. This protein can also help in the development of the baby’s brain.
  3. Acne and rashes: These can be managed if you consume good amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Walnuts, fishes like rohu, rawas, pomfret and hilsa, and olive oil are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These are also good for the baby.
  4. Eczema and dry skin: To tackle these skin issues, have Greek yoghurt regularly. This probiotic food can also increase the production of breast milk.
  5. Also note that adequate hydration is required for soft skin during pregnancy.

Lastly, remember to avoid excess sugar in your diet, like added sugars in sauces and salad dressings, and high fructose corn syrup, all of which are present in processed foods. These added sugars can cause inflammation, thereby worsening the skin problems.