Pregnancy can bring on a flood of conflicting feelings. While you may be revelling in being pregnant, we understand that sometimes it can be hard to revel in looking pregnant – the expanding belly, plummeting energy levels, changing skin and a chronic klutzi’ness that makes even basic grooming a challenge. So here’s a little help on getting your beauty act back as your precious one grows. Hey babe, you earned it, deserve it and totally need it!
WATCH YOUR WEIGHT
The average weight woman puts on between 25 and 35 pounds during pregnancy. Packing on excess pounds increases your risk of developing hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and gestational diabetes, which can have an impact on both you and your unborn child. It’s quality (i.e. a healthy, balanced diet), not quantity of food, that counts to provide sufficient key nutrients to support healthy foetal growth. In general, you do not need extra calories at all for the first two trimesters. A humble increase of about 200kcal per day is recommended to fuel your child’s final growth spurt in the last trimester.
Staying active during pregnancy is advised as well. Exercising revs up your energy levels and gets your body ready for childbirth. Choose low-impact workouts like walking, swimming and Hatha yoga. Psst…Getting frisky in your bedroom with the horizontal tango is a safe workout for you and your spouse too.
In the meantime, celebrate your changing body and dress up your baby bump. Take a few basic maternity styling tips from royal hot mama, Kate Middleton, who continues to charm in her recent appearance with a bespoke Jenny Packham dress in peach lace with a delicate silvery gray ribbon under the bust and coordinating coat in soft peach silk shantung silk. Wearing a single shade also gives the optical illusion of a longer and leaner silhouette, as does vertical details like long zippers, vertical stripes and patterns, or vertical rows of buttons. Accentuating your positive assets will help to adjust the spotlight as well: If your legs are gorgeous, flaunt them in a short dress. Red-carpet-worthy arms? Show them off with a sleeveless top. Proud of your pumped up cleavage (yup, it’s common to go up a cup size or two)? Show off those perky puppies with a scoop- or V-neckline…and don’t forget to get fitted with a supportive bra.
MAINTAIN YUMMY SKIN
Besides a more luxuriant head of hair (due to slower hair fall), some preggies literally bloom with a proverbial pregnancy glow with the rise in progesterone. But for many others, the hormonal upheaval during pregnancy can trigger a slew of skin issues, such as oily skin and acne, pigmentation problems (e.g. worsening of freckles or development of melasma), or turn sensitive and itchy.
Before you decide that an alien (not a baby) has invaded your body, relax – know that simple (i.e. manageable) tweaks and treats can put you back on the path of a calm, clear complexion.
Since many topical anti-acne and whitening actives have not been fully studied in pregnant women, it would be best to speak to your doctor or dermatologist to re-look at your skincare. For those battling killer zits, azelaic acid cream and erythromycin gel are a few skin-ingredients that are baby-safe. Most doctors would allow products with azelaic acid or glycolic acid for lightening irregular pigmentation. Some skincare ingredients are definitely off-limits: Retinoids (vitamin A creams and oral roaccutane), salicylic acid (commonly found even in drugstore acne products, so keep a look out!), hydroquinone (in fading creams).
Light devices like LED light therapy and gentle laser treatments can be used safely on the face to soothe sensitivity, heal acne and pimple marks, balance sebum production, or even out discolouration. Avoid vicious daily scrubbing or harsh exfoliation that can irritate touchy pregnant skin.
Eating smart and cutting back on refined sugar will not only be good for your waistline, but will prevent sending your hormones and acne into overdrive too. Satisfy your sweet cravings with berries, brightly coloured fruits and veggies (like melons and tomatoes) and a little dark chocolate instead, to give your skin a prettifying antioxidant boost and bolster your dermal defences against the sun.
CUT THE PUFF
Water retention is a common issue in pregnancy because the growing baby weight puts pressure on the veins in your abdomen and legs. This can show up as swollen feet in the third trimester. Don’t let the ungainly cankles get you down. You can help ease the problem by taking regular breaks from standing or sitting. Elevate your legs slightly when seated, and lie on your left to relieve the increased pressure on your abdominal veins when sleeping.
A broadening nose can tag along with the baby bump for some ladies. To slim down a coarse nose that may look as round and wide as your belly, contour the outer vertical edges of the sides of your nose with either a soft matte brown eyeshadow or foundation that’s 2 to 3 shades darker than your natural complexion. End each line down towards the centre of the tip, forming a downward arrow to give the illusion of a narrower nose. Next, swipe a touch of highlighter right in the centre in a thin stripe, down the bridge. Blend to eliminate any harsh edges with your fingers or a makeup sponge so there are no obvious streaks.
As your body is busy building your bundle of joy, there are a few things to know while you indulge in a few feel-gorgeous pleasures.
Pampering classic mani’s and pedi’s are generally considered safe for the baby, but make sure that the salon is well-ventilated to avoid nausea-inducing fumes from building up. The only thing is most preggies might expect faster growth in their nails, so your manicures might wear out faster.
Waxing your leg hair (especially as the expanding belly blocks your view of your own lower limbs) is okay too, but be more careful if you have drier or more sensitive skin with this pregnancy as well.
Due to limited safety data on the effect of the chemicals in hair dye on developing babies, most doctors recommend that you go for the highlights only after your first trimester to err on the safe side.
However, you might have to skip some of your usual primping rituals till after the baby pops, such as teeth whitening and tanning beds.
Prenatal massages can help to take the edge off the exhausting and my-back-is-breaking day, but do ensure that your masseuse is certified and experienced with pregnant women and check with your doctor before booking in for the rub down. Saunas, steam rooms or heated mud baths are not advised.
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