It’s pregnancy week 19, and here’s what’s going on…
It’s normal to experience body image issues while pregnant. Between all the changes and hormone shifts, looking in the mirror and grimacing is a routine habit for many moms. It’s perfectly normal to feel off, but if it’s making you feel regularly depressed, make sure to tap into your support network. Exercise and pamper yourself. Therapy helps, too. And remember, pregnancy really is temporary. Really.
This part of pregnancy could easily be renamed the “WTF Is Up With My Skin?” phase. Estrogen can make your palms red and darken your nipples, armpits and lady bits. You might even develop chloasma, or “the mask of pregnancy,” where dark patches appear on your face. All this should fade but stay out of the sun as much as you can because sunlight intensifies the effect.
As your belly gets bigger (and bigger … and bigger) the skin on your abdomen and even your back and thighs and breasts will get itchy — dousing yourself a few times a day with lotion helps. Despite what anyone tells you, though, no lotions or oils or magic potions will help prevent stretch marks. But who cares? Those things are your freaking badges of honor: wear them with pride, dammit!
Perhaps best of all skin issues are skin tags, which almost sound cute until you realize these excess skin growths make you look a little like you’re wearing a pilling sweater. Luckily they’re benign, but if you want to have them removed you’ll need to wait until after the baby’s born.
To protect their transparent skin, your baby is beginning to develop vernix, that cottage cheesy coating that keeps them from getting all pruney in the amniotic fluid. Your baby’s still moving around but has more control over the brain-muscle connection — meaning now your little bundle is kicking you on purpose. Get used to it.
Mama needs a new pair of shoes! Get some comfy slippers for around the house, and think about getting some loose lace-ups or boots for when your feet start to swell up. Yes, it’s coming — maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow — but when the swelling hits, you don’t want to be trapped without shoes.