While pregnancy can bring some unpleasant side effects, there is also this occurrence called pregnancy glow that many women look forward to. This refers to the glowing and fresh look that many expectant mothers show on their faces while pregnant. This is caused by the physiological changes the body undergoes while expecting.

While Expecting Do All Women Experience Pregnancy Glow

Pregnancy glow is a real pregnancy symptom and can happen to a lot of moms-to-be. It is, however, important to take note that every pregnant body is different and not everyone has the same symptoms. Continue reading to learn more about pregnancy glow, why it is not a universal thing, and the skin changes to look out for while expecting. 

What is pregnancy glow?

Pregnancy glow refers to the appearance of radiant facial skin during pregnancy. It can give expectant mothers a flushed-face look, contributing to glowing skin. Signs include rosy or luminous cheeks, dewier skin, and brighter complexion. These changes are mostly attributed to increased blood flow and shifting hormone levels during pregnancy.

The glow happens at the start of the second trimester, which is weeks 13 through 28. This period is said to be the easiest or best trimester, where moms-to-be experience the fewest side effects and therefore feel more energetic and have fewer mood swings. This is when fatigue and morning sickness from the first trimester lessen or go away.

What causes pregnancy glow? 

Complexion improvements during pregnancy are due to the hormonal and blood flow changes while expecting. There is an increase in oil or sebum production, which moisturizes the skin and makes it look radiant. There is also an increase in blood flow and circulation, which can result in a brighter complexion.

Blood volume increases by up to 50% during pregnancy, which is needed to support your organs and growing baby. This leads to boosted blood circulation, which can make the skin appear rosy. Higher body temperature while expecting can also lead to flushing in some women. 

Do all women experience pregnancy glow? 

Unfortunately, not all women experience pregnancy glow. While all moms-to-be experience shifting hormones and more blood flow and volume, their effects on the skin vary. Some get glowing or more radiant skin, while others experience the opposite and have redness and inflammation, as well as acne, pigmentation, or itchy skin. 

Just do take note that not experiencing pregnancy glow does not mean that there is something wrong with your body or baby. Pregnancy glow, furthermore, doesn’t necessarily predict your baby’s gender. 

Skin conditions to look out for while expecting

Your skin type and complexion can impact the way your skin looks. The sad part is pregnancy hormones may disrupt your skin’s balance, resulting in unwanted side effects such as breakouts. Here are some issues that may appear due to pregnancy and what you can do to manage or take care of your skin. 


While fluctuating hormones can make the skin look shiny or dewy due to increased sebum production, it can also lead to breakouts. Excess oil can clog the pores, resulting in acne showing up on your face, neck, chest, or back. This is common while expecting, with studies suggesting that over 40% of pregnant women get acne. 

There are a few medications that can help manage pregnancy acne, but be sure to ask your healthcare provider first. Self-care is probably the safest way, which means washing your face twice a day with a gentle cleanser. Avoid astringents and facial scrubs, as well as excessive scrubbing or washing. 


Also referred to as chloasma or the “mask of pregnancy”, melasma is a form of hyperpigmentation triggered by shifting hormones during pregnancy. It appears as brown or grayish-brown patches on the forehead, cheeks, upper lips, and chin. Sun exposure can make this worse, so it is vital to limit yours and always wear sunscreen.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for melasma. There are, however, treatments that can help improve or lessen its appearance. It may also clear away on its own, starting a few months to a year postpartum, although it is not always a guarantee. You can also consider aesthetic treatments after giving birth or when you’re not breastfeeding anymore. 

These include:

For further reading: Your Common Questions About Melasma Answered

Stretch marks

Nine out of 10 women, according to research, develop stretch marks around the sixth or seventh month of pregnancy. Shifting hormone levels are said to contribute to the development of stretch marks. Your likelihood of getting them can also depend on a few factors such as genetics, skin elasticity, and how much weight you gain. 

A lot of products claim to treat or get rid of stretch marks, but not all of them deliver on their promise. The good news is these lines and streaks eventually become less noticeable over time. You can also consider professional microneedling or acoustic shockwave therapy when you’re not nursing anymore. 

Other pigmentation issues

Apart from melasma, other types of skin discoloration issues can also emerge while expecting. Moles, freckles, and other existing pigmentation can get darker. The same is also true for areas that were darker before pregnancy such as areola, nipples, armpits, inner thighs, and genital skin. You may also develop a dark line in the middle of your belly, called linea nigra. 

Shifting hormones are said to contribute to skin changes such as pigmentation. There is not much you can do to prevent hormonal fluctuations, but you can make smart decisions regarding your skin. These include wearing sunscreen every day, limiting sun exposure, taking folic acid, and avoiding hot baths and showers. Some of these pigmentation issues can also fade months after you give birth, but some may linger.

Taking care of your skin and body

Whether or not you experience pregnancy glow, it is essential to make sure that you are taking good care of your body and overall health when expecting. And as your skin can dramatically change during pregnancy, your old skin care regimen may not be so reliable anymore. You will need a routine that is safe for both you and your developing baby. 

Contact your OB or skin/aesthetic doctor for products that you can use and avoid while pregnant or nursing. And if you’re dealing with skin changes due to pregnancy or aging, we can help. Contact Cutis Medical Laser Clinics in Singapore today and book a consultation with our aesthetic doctor.

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