Pregnancy (cont.)

Stretch marks, skin changes

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During pregnancy, you might have:

Stretch marks are red, pink, or brown streaks on the skin. Most often they appear on the thighs, buttocks, abdomen, and breasts. These scars are caused by the stretching of the skin, and usually appear in the second half of pregnancy.

Some women notice other skin changes during pregnancy. For many women, the nipples become darker and browner during pregnancy. Many pregnant women also develop a dark line (called the linea nigra) on the skin that runs from the belly button down to the pubic hairline. Patches of darker skin usually over the cheeks, forehead, nose, or upper lip also are common. Patches often match on both sides of the face. These spots are called melasma or chloasma and are more common in darker-skinned women.

What might help:

  • Be patient — stretch marks and other changes usually fade after delivery.

Swelling

During pregnancy, you might have:

Many women develop mild swelling in the face, hands, or ankles at some point in their pregnancies. As the due date approaches, swelling often becomes more noticeable.

What might help:

  • Drink eight to 10 glasses of fluids daily.
  • Don't drink caffeine or eat salty foods.
  • Rest and elevate your feet.
  • Ask your doctor about support hose.

Call the doctor if:

Your hands or feet swell suddenly or you rapidly gain weight — it may be preeclampsia.

Urinary frequency and leaking

During pregnancy, you might have:

Temporary bladder control problems are common in pregnancy. Your unborn baby pushes down on the bladder, urethra, and pelvic floor muscles. This pressure can lead to more frequent need to urinate, as well as leaking of urine when sneezing, coughing, or laughing.

What might help:

  • Take frequent bathroom breaks.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
  • Do Kegel exercises to tone pelvic muscles.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/14/2014

Patient Comments

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Pregnancy - Describe Your Experience Question: Please describe usual or unusual experiences had with your pregnancy, food cravings, morning sickness, edema (etc.)
Pregnancy - Signs Question: How did you find out you were pregnant?
Pregnancy - Morning Sickness Question: Did you suffer from morning sickness during your pregnancy? What helped relieve your symptoms?
Pregnancy - Heartburn and Indigestion Question: Did you have heartburn or indigestion during your pregnancy? What helped to relieve symptoms?
Pregnancy - Stretch Marks and Skin Changes Question: What skin changes did you notice during your pregnancy? How did you treat them?

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