What is the pregnancy glow?

You’re pregnant and people keep telling you how great you look! Welcome to the pregnancy glow. We look at the science behind the phenomenon.

5 min read

What is the pregnancy glow?

You’re pregnant and people keep telling you how great you look! Welcome to the pregnancy glow. We look at the science behind the phenomenon.

5 min read

Is the pregnancy glow real?

Pregnancy is an amazing time for your body. Not only is it capable of growing a tiny human, but it can nourish that baby from the moment of conception all the way through to weaning. This is helped by the rush of changing hormones that flood your body from the moment you discover that you are pregnant. These hormones can come with some added side-effects, including an even more beautiful and glowing you.

You may be asking yourself at this point if all the old wives’ tales about pregnancy are true or not. Well, some things can luckily be explained scientifically, and the pregnancy glow is one of them!

What’s the science behind the pregnancy glow?

You’ll be glad to know that the pregnancy glow is very real and is caused by several incredible physiological changes going on inside your body. Though some women have difficult pregnancies, with many experiencing a difficult first trimester due to morning sickness, by the time you head into your second trimester you should start to feel much better. Not only are the early signs and symptoms of pregnancy such as tiredness, the need to pee all the time and nausea abating but you’ll suddenly find you have more energy and enthusiasm for things around you.

What does the pregnancy glow mean for you?

The outward signs of these hormone changes are that your skin looks plumper, more hydrated and glowing. You may have flushed cheeks that make you look really healthy. Previous skin problems may clear up suddenly, leaving you smooth-skinned.

When does the pregnancy glow start?

Most women start to notice the pregnancy glow as they head out of the tricky first trimester and into the second. Some women find that they glow for the whole nine months, others will find this change happens over a shorter period. It is important to remember that there is no set time frame for your own pregnancy glow.

Does everyone experience a pregnancy glow?

For some women, pregnancy can be tough and there can be reasons why they feel less than glowing. Severe morning sickness or even Hyperemesis Gravidarum (a very severe form of sickness through pregnancy) can leave you feeling low; some women find that pregnancy hormones make skin conditions worse, not better.

Some may even experience skin break-outs for the first time. Other women may have increased pigmentation on the skin of their face and abdomen – called the mask of pregnancy. It’s all a matter of luck and genetics, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t feel great all of the time—and if you do, enjoy it!

What are the causes of the pregnancy glow?

Several important changes in your body contribute to the pregnancy glow:

  • Your pregnancy hormones help retain moisture in the skin, leaving it plumper and wrinkle-free

  • Skin secretes more oil, leaving it glowing

  • Skin cells renew more frequently, so no grey, tired skin cells

  • You have more blood than usual in your body – yours and baby’s - leading to pinker cheeks

  • Increased blood volume also makes lips appear fuller

  • You retain more hair than usual, giving you luscious locks

Can a pregnancy glow reveal anything about the baby’s sex?

Some people will tell you that if you are carrying a girl, you will have great skin (but bad morning sickness). Others will tell you the same thing - but say you are expecting a boy. Sadly, there are no ways to predict your baby’s sex from pregnancy symptoms, whether you have a pregnancy glow or not, so the only real way to find out your baby’s sex is at a scan – or when they are born!

This content should not substitute medical advice from your personal healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for recommendations/diagnosis or treatment.
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