Now you are having a baby you must take extra care of yourself during the months that lie ahead.
Lots of women bloom during pregnancy – their hair grows quickly and develops a glossy shine, their skin develops a healthy glow, and their breasts swell and develop a sexy cleavage. These changes are due to the pregnancy hormone progesterone and to more oxygen circulating around your body. Progesterone can also have a calming effect and help reduce anxiety, since the serene feeling of contentment some pregnant women experience.
Unfortunately, not all women experience this 'bloom' when they are having a baby and find their hair falls out and becomes greasy, and their skin breaks out in spots.
However, there are things you can do to keep yourself in good health.
Dental care is free on the NHS during pregnancy and for one year after the birth, so book an appointment now. Bleeding gums are very common in pregnancy due to an increased blood flow, so you've got to take special care to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
Gum disease has been linked to premature labor and, if left untreated, can lead to periodontal disease and tooth loss.
Hair growth speeds up so your hair may be thicker and glossier when you are having a baby. Faster hair growth may also mean more hairs falling out because new hair is replacing them. Some women get greasy hair when they are having a baby and this is due to progesterone stimulating more sebum (oil) on the scalp – wash your hair frequently using mild shampoo.
Progesterone causes glands in the skin to produce more oil so you may find you break out in spots. Equally, your skin can become dry and itchy. Use a skin care range appropriate for your type of skin and moisturize daily. Avoid perfumed shower gels and bubble bath as these can dry your skin.
These occur if the elasticity of the skin becomes over-stretched and appear as reddish lines, often on the breasts, stomach and thighs. It helps not to put on too much weight to wear a supportive bra and to moisturize regularly. After the birth, the lines will gradually begin to fade and become less noticeable.
If you find your skin is more sensitive to the sun than normal, use a moisturizer that contains UVA protection. Some women develop a condition called chloasma, a butterfly-shaped mask of darker skin across the face. This can be reflected with make-up and will disappear after the birth.
Legs and feet
Tired, aching legs and feet are common when you are having a baby . Try to spend some time with your feet up every evening. Fluid retention sometimes causes your feet to get bigger so you may need to buy bigger shoes.