Colors, Colors Everywhere
Pregnancy hormones even find a way to change the color of your stomach and breasts. Some moms-to-be may notice a dark line running down the middle of their bellies. This line, known as linea negra (black line), is quite common and usually resolves itself after pregnancy.
"The dark line is completely harmless and will not turn into anything more serious," says Dr. Taylor. However, Dr. Shapiro warns that the time it takes to disappear may differ from woman to woman. "During pregnancy, sunscreen can slow the development of the line," he adds. The area around a woman's nipples may also become darker. This, too, goes away after delivery.
Some pregnant women may develop brownish, uneven marks around the nose and cheeks. This condition is called chloasma, commonly referred to as the "mask of pregnancy." Prolonged exposure to the sun may increase the marks. Dr. Davis recommends using sunblock whenever you go outdoors and wearing a hat, but she adds that most women suffering from chloasma will find that it clears up as pregnancy ends.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), hyperpigmentation affects more than 90 percent of pregnant women. This skin disorder, which causes dark spots to appear on the surface of the skin, is the result of an overproduction of a natural substance called melanin, which gives color to your hair, skin, and eyes. Hyperpigmentation can occur on the breasts, nipples, and genitals. This skin condition will also dissipate after the delivery of your child.
Stretch marks (striae) are reddish streaks that may appear on an expecting or new moms' breasts and stomach. The skin in these areas stretches to accommodate a developing baby. These marks will fade slowly in time after your pregnancy.
Although there is no cure to make stretch marks disappear completely, there are solutions to ease the discomfort. Dr. Shapiro recommends that expectant women heavily moisturize their abdomens throughout their pregnancies. Dad-to-be can help out in this respect by massaging his partner's belly with cocoa butter or other moisturizers that are recommended for stretch marks. Dr. Taylor adds, "Cool compresses, with water or milk, are another method to help soothe the skin."
Before you throw your mirrors away in despair, invest in a few good lotions and facials, and enjoy the opportunity to pamper yourself. After all, your pregnancy hormones will not be raging forever, and soon you'll be cuddling the beautiful little baby that only you could have brought into this world.