8 pregnancy questions – pregnancy mask to growing swollen feet FAQ’s and Tips

June 10, 2013

Pregnancy mask -acne, swelling-growing foot size, forgetful-moodiness common asked pregnancy questions guideAt San Diego Fertility Acupuncture we are often asked questions about pregnancy related issues. Here are some of our most commonly asked pregnancy symptoms questions:

8 common FAQ’s  about pregnancy symptoms

We thought it would help our expectant mom’s and parents to be by addressing some of these commonly asked questions including  providing practical tips, ideas and resources  to help during pregnancy.

Why am I glowing and breaking out like a teenager ?

Did you know that while you are pregnant, the amount of blood in your body will increase by 50%………… and all of the the hormones coursing through your body cause your oils glands to become more active? Hence the glow and acne like brake-outs during their pregnancy.

Pregnancy skin care tips:

  • Drink plenty of water to help your body stay hydrated and to eliminate toxins.
  • Watch your dietary sugar and processed food intake. Opt to eat high quality foods and lots of veggies.
  • Be kind to your skin. Pamper yourself with a facial…… either at home or in a salon.
  • Avoid harsh “acne” treatments with lots of chemicals. Your skin is sensitive and a natural conduit to your body…….. so opt for natural skin care while you have precious cargo on board.

Oh no, what are these mask like brown patches on my skin?

What pregnancy mask looks like, tips for helping with melasma from pregnancy

pregnancy mask image source webmd.com

Pregnancy mask, melasma or chloasma is a hyperpigmentation of the skin resulting in tan, brown, or grayish patches typically on cheeks, forehead, around the mouth or under the eyes. Pregnancy mask is caused by the hormone estradiol and the melanocyte cells beneath the skin which boost the production of melanin pigment. Pregnancy mask occurs in about 60 -70% of pregnant women typically in their 2nd to 3rd trimester. You are more likely to develop melasma if you have a family history of this occurring during pregnancy or are an active sun worshiper. Once you have experienced melisma, it tends to reappear in subsequent pregnancies or with the use of hormonal contraception..

Tips to help lessen the appearance of melisma (pregnancy mask):

  • Avoid over exposing your face to the sun.
  • Wear Sunscreen
  • Avoid products with parabens, and other chemical additives.
  • Wear a wide brimmed hat to protect your face from direct sun.
  • Follow a good skin care regime and use a gentle exfoliate weekly.
    • dyi natural exfoliate from your kitchen: sugar & olive oil, milk and oatmeal scrub.
    • dyi natural masks: mix together equal parts whole milk, almond oil, honey, and lime juice, and leave it on your skin for a half an hour. The lactic acid in the milk will help exfoliate and lighten your skin.
    • Good skin care that is friendly for pregnant women and is free of parabens, chemical perspectives: Avalon Organics, Dr. Bronner’s, Burts Bees, Nature’s Gate, JASON and Kiss My Face.

Most often, pregnancy mask goes away after you deliver and when you stop breastfeeding. If the malasma is persistent, and sticks around, these are some of the treatment options: Prescription creams such as retin A, bleaching creams, laser, chemical peels, or other more natural treatment methods. Ask your medical or skin care specialist for treatment options and recommendations.

What about all the hair growing in odd places?

You may notice that your hair feels thicker, more luxurious and that it grows faster and you experience less shedding. You have hormones to thank. This hair growth is not relegated to your head……. many pregnant women also discover new hair growth that appears on the face, belly, back, or breasts. This hair growth is caused by an increase in androgens during pregnancy and is typically temporary. After pregnancy and breast feeding, many people experience an increase in hair loss. Don’t worry….. this is just due to hormones. Hair growth and loss usually return back to normal back to normal.

So what if I don’t want that hairy chin or belly button?  Safe bet is to either shave, tweeze or wax.   Avoid any anti hair growth or removal creams (natural or chemical) better to be safe than sorry.

Does pregnancy make your feet grow?

Some women go up half-size a foot size (about 0.1 to 0.4 inches) over the course of a pregnancy. But why is this?
Studies show that due to increased weight and pressure on the feet flatten the foot’s arch resulting in an increase in foot size. This increase in foot size tends to happen in the first pregnancy vs. continual growth throughout subsequent pregnancies.

Swelling is another cause of increased foot size during pregnancy.

what causes pregnancy foot growth and swelling tips to help swelling

foot edema from pregnancy photo source @kimkardashian

Most women experience some swelling in their calves, ankles, and feet during pregnancy…. medically called edema. This is due to:

  • Changes in your blood chemistry that causes fluids to shift to other tissues.
  • Your growing uterus creates pressure on pelvic veins that slow circulation to the legs causing it to pool forcing fluids from your veins to the tissues of your feet and ankles.
  • High salt and additives in diet can effect swelling and water retention.

Tips for helping feet swelling  during pregnancy

  • Take the pressure off and put your feet up during the day to decrease swelling.
  • Make sure to wear shoes with great arch support and that are comfortable for you too.
  • Avoid salty foods and increase consumption of  refreshing juices with  celery, parsley, cucumber can help.
  • Call your medial professional if you are experiencing

    • Facial swelling and eye puffiness
    • Extreme swelling in your feet and other extremities.
    • One extremity significantly more swollen than the other especially if it also includes pain and tenderness.

Why do I feel confused, distracted, can’t concentrate and forgetful?

Especially in your first trimester when your body is making miraculous changes can leave you feeling tired and mentally fuzzy.  Basically these symptoms are caused by a combination of things that include:

  • Hormonal changes
  • Your thoughts and energy is naturally being focused  on your baby’s development, preparing for birth.

Tips to help you organize and minimize brain fuzz:

  • Give yourself a break, laugh and try not to sweat the small stuff.
  • Lists and appointment calendars can go far to help you to not only remember appointments and to do’s but can lessen stress too.
  • Technology can help you. Use technology to help you organize, plan and remind you. Many services can be shared across your desk top, smart phone and can ping you reminders too!
    Tips to help with pregnancy forgetfulness and brain fuzz

    Todo and organization by evernote.com photosource

    • Google calendars (you’ll need a gmail.com email) You can set events on the calendar and integrate apps (like remember the milk)  that will alert you to upcoming appointments (events).  You can even share that calendar with your spouse, family or others if you want too so they can stay on task too 🙂
    • rememberthemilk.com to do lists and tasks  your smart phone online or via smart phone (iphone, android & blackberry).   This can be teamed with your google calendar too. Visit their site to find out how it works.
    • evernote.com Is really cool and goes beyond just ToDo lists. It can clip and grab ideas, articles and stuff you like, todo’s, video and audio and more!  Works online or smart phone and its FREE!

Pregnancy Sympathy

Yes its real!. Some men do experience pregnancy symptoms! It’s not just men that can experience it either. Life partners, closely bonded family, and friends can suffer one or more sympathy pregnancy symptoms too. Medical terminology for this phenomenon is called the Couvade Syndrome.

Men or partners who experience “pregnancy sympathy can experience a whole range of symptoms including;

  • weight gain
  • nausea
  • altered hormones (some even have breast growth)
  • disturbed sleep
  • even pospartum depression and labor pains!

Amazing huh? The cause of “couvade syndrome” is not yet known but of course there are theories ranging from psychological to physiological.

See list of articles and resources:  Couvade syndrome, sympathy pregnancy wiki

Why am I so moody?

So you feel happy one moment and sad or angry the next? Hormonal fluctuation is the cause. Hormones play a big role in how we feel both physically and emotionally. Much like PMS, moodiness during pregnancy is common and typically is more frequent during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Pregnancy yoga can help with mood swings, emotions and forming a support network while pregnant

Pregnancy yoga photo credit blissyoga.org.uk

Tips to help with emotions during pregnancy:

  • Exercise can go a long way in helping your moods….as it releases stress and anxiety. This happens through the release of feel good endorphins into your body including dopamine and serotonin. So walk, dance to your favorite music, or use low weight and light resistance weights to help you stay toned and feeling great.
  • Join a Support group or activity with other pregnant women can help you too
  • Enroll in a pregnancy yoga class.  It will will help you physically, and its breathing and meditative focus
  • Journal your feelings and experiences: The simple act of writing down your feelings both positive and negative can help you.
  • Eat a balanced diet. Avoid too much sugar, low value carbs, and caffeine which all can have an effect on how you feel. Remember your body has a reaction to what you ingest, so sugar and low value carbs can cause increase in inflammation but also blood sugar spikes and drops. Caffeine is a stimulant that can add to anxiety and jittery feelings.
  • Avoid negative self talk and judgment of your beautiful, miraculous new self! Some women gain weight in their hips and thighs others seem to only gain a baby bump, others have clear skin while some break out some are feeling great while others have day long nausea.
    Tips to avoid negative self talk:

    • Give yourself positive affirmations regularly: “I love how beautiful my……..”, “I am thankful for…….”  Any criticism you may have or think about say the opposite to yourself.
    • Start talking to your baby; Share your hopes and dreams, read a story, sing and begin parenting your growing baby with positive feelings and emotions. You know babies start hearing while in the womb and can detect your feelings.
    • Be just as kind and loving to yourself just as you are to loved ones, friends or even strangers!
    • Listen to a calming meditation or music, take a walk or share your feelings with a confidant to release those negative feelings.

If you experience worrisome symptoms such as disturbed sleep, lack of appetite and extreme mood swings, lack of interest in most activities  and a typical feelings and behaviors you may be in the 10% of women who experience depression during pregnancy.  If you feel this way please make sure to talk to your medical professional about these feelings and behaviors.  They can help.

Why am I pulling muscles and getting injured more?

Again its hormones!  Your body is awesome and it is simply helping you to prepare for your upcoming delivery by producing a hormone known as relaxin.  Relaxin loosens ligaments to help prepare the pubic area and cervix expand for delivery.

So keep this in mind when exercising. Don’t over stress or strain your body. Listen to your body.:)

Pregnancy FAQ’s and tips

Our goal at San Diego Fertility Acupuncture is to support your fertility health, and to also assist you during and after your pregnancy..

We hope this article on common FAQs helps you to understand that what you may be experiencing is just a part of the journey in the miracle of pregnancy.

Do you have pregnancy symptoms not addressed in this article or tips that have worked for you that others may find helpful?

Feel free to leave your questions and share your pregnancy symptom tips in our comments box below.

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