Looking Good During Pregnancy

No matter how many people tell you you're "glowing" throughout your pregnancy, you may feel less than glamorous. No matter how thick and luscious your hair is, how well your nails are growing, or how ample your cleavage has become, most women learn that the dark underbelly of pregnancy includes varicose veins, uneven skin tone and — gasp — stretch marks. When your clothes don't fit right, your skin is breaking out and your fingers are swelling — just remember that you're probably noticing these changes more closely than everyone else. Take heart — there are many ways to keep you looking good during pregnancy, many of which play up your pregnant attributes.

Hair and Skin

Many women notice that their hair seems thicker during pregnancy. This is due to the hormones of pregnancy which prompt the hair to stay in its active growing phase. Enjoy this pregnancy benefit while you can — your hair will resume its normal cycle after the baby is born and you may experience slightly more hair loss than normal for a few months after. To stay looking good during pregnancy, you may continue to color or highlight your hair. Although most hair dyeing products are considered safe, be sure to consult your doctor and hairstylist. Some women get wrapped up in all the changes occurring in their body and life and decide to make a dramatic hair change, such as going significantly shorter, trying a drastic new color, etc. Think these changes through carefully, and get a second opinion!

Some women may experience problems with acne during pregnancy. Clean your skin with a gentle cleanser and ask your doctor if seeing a dermatologist would help. Melasma, the darkening of the skin around the face, can be an annoying byproduct of pregnancy resulting in dark patches forming around the eyes, forehead or cheeks. Although some women can't avoid melasma, staying out of the sun and using sunscreen can reduce your chances of getting it. If you're self conscious of changes in your skin, invest in a good foundation, and remember to stay well rested and hydrated.

Unfortunately, developing stretch marks depends on the roll of the genetic dice. Some women will go through several pregnancies with nary a mark, while others will find them all over their body — on their stomachs, breasts, legs and arms. While some creams and ointments tout the anti-stretch mark benefits of their product, if you're predisposed to stretch marks, there may be no avoiding them. Still, there's no harm in trying some of the popular creams to keep your skin soft and hydrated.

Clothing and Shoes

Since pregnancy has become a veritable status symbol for celebrities, looking good during pregnancy is easier now more than ever. Pregnancy fashion has come a long way with several big chain stores now featuring up to date maternity styles. Tent-like tops and full panel pants have been replaced with form-fitting, and empire style tops and low rise maternity pants. Though looking good during pregnancy should remain a priority, comfort should always come first. Fortunately, with all the selection out there, you don't have to sacrifice looking good for comfort and vice versa. Some maternity sites offer a basic maternity package with essentials such as black stretch pants, neutral colored t-shirt and camisole. While it saves money to recycle clothing from a previous pregnancy, be sure to augment your existing maternity wardrobe with some new styles. If it's been more than four or five years since your last pregnancy, you may have to start from scratch, unless you can salvage some classic basics.

Most women will experience some swelling in their feet at one time or another during pregnancy. Some women are forced to go up a shoe size during their pregnancy, which unfortunately may be a permanent change. Comfort and safety is key, so you may have to put your high heels away until after the baby. Looking good during pregnancy may be important, but your center of gravity will change, and you may suffer from loose ligaments. You don't want to risk twisting your ankle or losing your balance, so replace your heels and wedges with a lower heel or some cute ballet flats.

Jewelry

You may find that as your pregnancy goes on, your rings no longer fit due to the swelling. Don't have your rings re-sized, as your hands should go back down to normal after birth. If you can no longer wear your wedding ring, buy an inexpensive costume jewelry ring or a simple band to fit. Use other opportunities to wear jewelry, such as a new necklace, earrings or bracelets. Since a lot of men succumb to the guilt of seeing their women go through the aches and pains of pregnancy and delivery, you may get lucky and receive a piece of new jewelry. There are many designs out there for new moms that may feature a place for a picture of their new one or the baby's birthstone.

It's important to remember that you can keep your personal style during pregnancy as well as after — you may just have to try a little harder! Looking good during pregnancy is all about taking care of yourself and your baby by eating healthfully, exercising, pampering yourself when you need it, and getting proper prenatal care.

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