For many, pregnancy is a rewarding voyage, culminating in the cherished blessing of a child. Yet, not all gratifications are reserved for the journey’s end. A recent Instagram binge led me down the rabbit hole of celebrity news, where I met her royal highness, Miss Fenty, in full preggo chic. “Is she glowing, or is she just Rihanna?” I wondered, well aware that certainty can often elude us when it comes to celebrities—think TikTok’s “is it an outfit, or is she just Kendall Jenner?” debacle circa 2021. Therefore, is pregnancy glow an elusive aura saved for God’s favourites, or is there more to it than meets the eye? Is prenatal radiance real, or just another folklore whispered among expectant mothers?
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While getting pregnant myself is one heck of a way to find out, this desk-bound journalist opted to consult a medical professional for a more comprehensive understanding. Below, Dr Sylvia Ramirez, medical director at Cutis Medical Laser Clinics, generously imparts her insights, providing a detailed exploration of pregnancy skin and ways to enhance its radiance.
Is pregnancy glow just a myth?
“Many women have never been more beautiful than during their first pregnancy,” Dr Sylvia begins, “pregnancy glow is real.” She goes on to explain how this inner radiance emanates from a cascade of fluctuations in oestrogen levels across the gestational span. Throughout pregnancy, surges in oestrogen prompt the dilation of blood vessels beneath the face, neck, and arms, creating an abundance of blood flow that imparts an unmistakably flushed and radiant visage to expectant mothers. Moreover, these vascular changes can lend a plumper appearance to the mein, while a hormonal-activated surge in natural oil production further amplifies the skin’s luminosity.
The duration of this pregnancy glow, however, is far from uniform, varying from woman to woman. Yet, it is most prominently observed during the zenith of physical changes, particularly in the second trimester, a period often characterised by a wane in initial morning sickness and fatigue—an added perk to improved well-being. As for its lifespan, these changes are typically tempered post-pregnancy, aligning with the gradual restoration of hormonal equilibrium pre-pregnancy state.
Is there a correlation between gender and glow?
As it turns out, the notion that the baby’s gender affects one’s pregnancy glow is nothing more than an old wives’ tale. The effulgence experienced during pregnancy is solely the result of hormonal changes and increased blood flow—physiological transformations that are not contingent on the baby’s gender but rather an inherent part of pregnancy. “Such an idea lacks scientific backing and should be regarded as a mere misconception,” Dr Sylvia reflects. Well, that’s another gender equality affirmation we’ll take any day.
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Getting your glow on
Pregnancy glow encompasses physical, emotional, and mental dimensions—and enhancing it involves a similar multifaceted approach. Keeping in the pink of health, through practices such as a balanced diet, regular exercise, and proper hydration is key. A pro tip is to sleep sufficiently and engage in simple relaxation techniques, like deep breathing, which can aid in diminishing stress levels.
Pregnancy skin is anything but uniform. Certain women might encounter drier and more sensitive skin, while others could observe escalated oil production, potentially leading to acne outbreaks. Therefore, tailoring skincare regimens to meet these unique needs is essential for a happier pregnancy. “When choosing skincare products during pregnancy, it is also crucial to prioritise safety and avoid harmful chemicals that may be absorbed into the bloodstream,” advises Dr Sylvia. Instead, reach for gentle, hypoallergenic, and non-comedogenic products to prevent skin irritation.
For instance, moisturisers infused with ingredients like hyaluronic acid and natural oils serve as effective agents in nourishing the skin amid hormonal shifts. Moreover, given the heightened sun sensitivity during pregnancy, slathering a generous SPF daily is essential to shield the skin from potential UV-damage.