The Pregnancy Mask

The Pregnancy Mask

Dealing with skin issues is a common occurrence during pregnancy. As your body’s hormone levels skyrocket, your skin can be one of the first places you notice the change.

During each of my pregnancies, I noticed a darker patch of skin on my cheek. With each consecutive pregnancy, it became darker and would fade noticeably between pregnancies. When I asked my doctor about it, he said it was chloasma or the pregnancy mask.

WHAT IS THE PREGNANCY MASK?
Chloasma is a change in skin pigmentation brought on by the hormones of pregnancy. These darker patches commonly appear on the face, especially the forehead, cheeks, and mouth; hence the name pregnancy mask.

WHO DOES IT AFFECT?
Women with darker pigmentations are more prone to chloasma and you’re more likely to have it if it runs in your family, like it does mine. The dark patches can also become more prominent with each pregnancy.

WHERE IS IT FOUND?
I developed a couple of other patches on my upper arms as well. These could have been caused by sun exposure. Staying out of the sun or wearing protective clothing can help prevent these patches and always apply an SPF 30 or higher while pregnant. I also notice a dark line running down my belly. My doctor said this was the linea nigra, similar to  chloasma and nothing to be concerned about.

WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT IT?
I definitely began to wonder if there were any treatment options for the pregnancy mask. In my research, I discovered that there are some natural and easy ways to lighten the dark patches right away. Mix 1/2 lemon juice and 1/2 hydrogen peroxide and apply to patches to lighten them. The same is true with a half-apple-cider-vinegar/half-water mixture, too. Turmeric milk and milk of magnesia can also help. Dermatologists can prescribe skin bleaching creams and even laser surgery if the patches really bother you. In the meantime, you can simply use a concealer. Personally, I didn’t think about it too much. I wanted to know if it was dangerous and my doctor assured me it was normal. As the weeks went on, the patches would fade and they are easily covered with a basic foundation now.

HOW DO I PREVENT IT?
There are ways to lessen your likelihood of dealing with chloasma. Balancing your hormones before pregnancy is a great start. A healthy diet with lots of omega 3’s and 6’s will keep your skin in top condition. Omega’s help balance hormones. I always found flax seeds and oil and salmon to improve my skin. Oral contraceptives containing estrogen, like the Pill, can contribute to chloasma in some women so you might consider another option. Protect your skin from UV rays before and during pregnancy. Apply a moisturizer with SPF daily.

WHEN TO BE CONCERNED
If you ever have a skin discoloration that is associated with pain, redness, or bleeding, or if you see any changes in the color, shape, or size of a mole, call your doctor. These can all be signs of skin cancer.

KNOW THAT YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL NO MATTER WHAT
Changes in your skin are just another normal symptom of pregnancy that we women have to deal with. Be patient. This too shall pass and in the meantime know this: No matter what, you are beautiful!

Dealing with postpartum night sweats

Dealing with postpartum night sweats

There are a lot of crazy things that happen to your body postpartum and most of them, for some reason, no one wants to talk about. They happen to everyone and someone out there should educate women about their own bodies. Postpartum night sweats are a common occurrence for thousands of women. You wake up and suddenly find yourself soaked in sweat for no apparent reason. Why do people not warn you that this could happen to you?

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WHY DOES THIS OCCUR?

Normal night sweating can happen when you are wrapped up too much or your room gets too hot. Postpartum night sweats occur for a different reason and it is a perfectly normal symptom of post-pregnancy. Due to hormone fluctuation (yes, hormones are to blame for yet another postpartum issue) and excess body fluid from lactation, your wonderful body just finds a way to rid itself of what it simply doesn’t need.

You may notice yourself urinating more frequently; though who could tell after spending half of the last nine months in the bathroom anyway. This is also your body’s way of getting rid of all of that extra fluid previously needed to maintain a healthy pregnancy and delivery. Your body will also be producing tons of extra fluid if you are breastfeeding.

If you experience night sweats with other symptoms present, such as fever or chills, call your doctor because these can be signs of a serious infection.

WHAT TO EXPECT

Due to your body’s crazy hormonal ups and downs, these night sweats can occur nightly or sporadically. They will usually last for several weeks after you give birth. They should stop as your body returns to normal.

While there is no treatment, there are some things you can do to help alleviate your symptoms:

  • Keep your room cool.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. With all of that sweating, you can become dehydrated easily.
  • Sleep on a towel and keep a pile of them near to change if you need to.
  • There are great waterproof mattress covers that you just lay under you, too.
  • If your skin gets irritated from all of that moisture, you can consider using powder to ease the chafing and irritation.

WHEN TO BE CONCERNED

One study showed that women who experienced postpartum night sweats and hot flashes were more likely to become depressed. Breastfeeding raises the risk, even more, due to the tremendous hormone fluctuations. If you experience any of these symptoms, talk to someone and tell your doctor. There is help and you don’t need to face it alone.

Don’t worry about the night sweats but if you experience other symptoms such as fever over 100.4 º, foul-smelling vaginal discharge, large clots or bright red bleeding for more than three days after delivery, infected looking stitches, severe cramps, or red, swollen breasts, call your doctor. These can be signs of serious complications.

Also if you feel depressed, or just anxious, talk to someone you trust and keep your six-week checkup and discuss any concerns with your doctor.

Dealing with night sweats may not be pleasant, but you can take heart in knowing that your body is doing exactly what it is supposed to be doing. Isn’t that a wonder!

Hair loss after birth – the untold secret of motherhood

Hair loss after birth – the untold secret of motherhood

Like all other moms, I counted down the days until my son was born. Not just because I was excited to meet my little guy, but I could finally look forward to feeling normal again and kiss the aches and pains of pregnancy goodbye. Little did I know that the consequences of having the surplus of hormones during pregnancy suddenly disappear after birth would only bring on a new set of problems.

Hair loss after birth and post pregnancy hair loss treatment

HAIR LOSS AFTER BIRTH

It started out with my husband complaining that my hair was clogging up the shower drain more often. I put this down as me losing my summer curls, not having much time to worry about how enjoyable his showers were while I was on the bed fighting with my new-born to breastfeed. Eventually it got to the point where I was sweeping up mounds of hair from my bedroom floor after brushing or drying my hair every morning. This is when I started panicking. So, I did what any normal person would do and called on Doctor Google. I know this is usually terrible advice and leaves one convinced they have some form of rare and dreaded disease, but for once it actually left me hopeful.

I found many, many other moms out there who were all going through the same thing – they all started losing copious amounts of hair in the first few months after giving birth. What it boils down to is pretty simple: hormones.

CAUSES OF HAIR LOSS AFTER PREGNANCY

Outside of pregnancy, our hair grows at different rates. 85-95 percent of your hair will be growing while the left over 5-15 percent is in resting stage. Your hair falls out during resting stage. During pregnancy the growing stage of our hair is extended due to an increase in estrogen, which is why we experience minimal hair loss and have thick and fabulous locks. Once our baby is born and this extra dose of estrogen disappears, our rate of growth goes back to normal and we are left with a lot more hair in the resting stage – hence the increased hair loss.

HOW TO PREVENT HAIR LOSS AFTER BIRTH

There really isn’t anything you can do to prevent this. Some moms say that taking extra vitamins helped them, while others get fed up and chop off their hair for a new ‘mom-cut’. As frustrating as this might be, it is only temporary. Your hair should return back to normal by your baby’s first birthday.

I carried on with my postnatal vitamins and went for regular haircuts and pretty much just waited it out (and promised to not clog up the shower drain each day). Keeping up with vitamins B, C, E and Zinc can only do your body good and some moms say this actually helped reduce the hair loss.

DEALING WITH POST PREGNANCY HAIR LOSS

It can be really stressful having to deal with something like this while you are getting used to motherhood, but remember you are not alone. Look to other moms for guidance and support when you feel a little hopeless and remember your body will always bounce back – it just takes a little bit of time.