What is Pregnancy Glow & What Causes It?

5th February 2022

We’ve all witnessed it happening before, people saying to a pregnant woman: “you’re glowing,” “pregnancy looks great on you,” and so on. It’s not uncommon for pregnant women to receive compliments that their skin is glowing. As a result, we have even coined a term for it – pregnancy glow. This has made many wonder what is pregnancy glow?

Not to mention, some have even questioned whether it is a real thing. Not to worry, though, it is not just a case of emotional joy; it is very much a real thing. There is scientific evidence to prove that various hormones and other changes to your hair and skin can result in a pregnancy glow. Let’s explore what a pregnancy glow is below and what exactly causes it.

What Does a Pregnancy Glow Refer To?

A pregnancy glow essentially refers to luminous skin or flushed cheeks, which give you a radiant look. When pregnant, you can expect the amount of blood within your body to increase by 50 percent. This makes your skin glowy and radiant. The enhanced circulation is often what leaves women with a radiant, flushed appearance.

When Do You Get a Pregnancy Glow?

Now that you know what is pregnancy glow, you are likely wondering when it occurs during the 9-month timeline. Well, there is no set time when pregnancy glow appears. However, it is usually the second trimester or the 13th week that it occurs. This is due to the significant changes that occur to the body during this time.

How Long Does a Pregnancy Glow Last?

While most women wish this were a permanent change to their skin, it is not. Unfortunately, the pregnancy glow goes away pretty quickly after you give birth.

What Hormone Causes Pregnancy Glow?

The hormones that cause your skin to look more radiant during pregnancy are progesterone, human chorionic gonadotropin, and estrogen.

Will Pregnancy Glow Tell Me The Sex of My Child?

We’ve all heard that certain things can indicate the sex of your child, like your food cravings, and it’s no different for pregnancy glow. Although some say it can determine the sex of your child, there is no research to back this up. Therefore, if you want to know the sex of your child before you give birth, it is best to find out at your ultrasound.

Does Every Woman Experience Pregnancy Glow?

Unfortunately, not all women will experience pregnancy glow even though they all deal with hormonal changes. However, don’t freak out – there’s nothing wrong with you if you don’t. This could mean that your skin reacts differently to what is happening with the remainder of your body. On the contrary, you may not experience a pregnancy glow but instead some other skin effects.

What Causes a Pregnancy Glow?

It is not unusual for pregnant women to experience a glow. The reason it happens is usually down to several factors. Now that you know what a pregnancy glow is let’s jump into what causes it below.

Enhanced Blood Circulation

An increase in blood flow can also equate to a glow which is typical for pregnant women. Most pregnant women will have enhanced blood flow, and this can result in clearer, brighter skin. This also means they have more blood in their blood vessels. This can make a lot of women look flushed.

Areas on the body with thinner skin may also look flushed—for example, breasts and the chest. Pregnant women’s bodies produce more blood due to the uterus and other essential organs requiring more to support the baby’s growth.

Hormonal Changes

The shift of various hormones during pregnancy, like progesterone, can cause pregnancy glow. This hormone causes the skin to produce more oil and, as a result, can make the skin look more radiant. Some of the hormones that can cause it include progesterone, human chorionic gonadotropin, and estrogen.

Hot Flashes and Heat Rashes

Feeling increasingly hot during pregnancy is not unusual in any way. Between the hormone fluctuations and the extra body mass, it is likely your body temperature will rise. While this means you are more susceptible to hot flashes and heat rashes, you will still enjoy your glowy skin since these issues create this effect.

The Skin Produces More Sebum

During pregnancy, our skin often produces more sebum as a result of these hormonal changes. Enhanced blood circulation can also cause the skin to produce more sebum. If you already have combination or oily skin, this may be even more the case for you. Although this can cause unwanted skin conditions like acne, the increased amount of oil is sure to give off a glow.

The Stretching of Your Skin

It is well known that when you are pregnant, your skin will stretch. This is because you have a baby inside you that has been growing for nine months. Not to worry though, this can also create that dewy glow you have been waiting for.

Current Skin Concerns

You may find that during pregnancy, your current skin concerns may get worse. For example, if you have the likes of psoriasis, eczema, and rosacea. Pregnancy can make these concerns more intense and the skin redder. However, thanks to the hormone fluctuations and the enhanced blood flow, you may still experience that pregnancy glow you have dreamed about.

How Else Does Pregnancy Affect the Skin?

As mentioned previously, not all women will experience the sought-after pregnancy glow. This can be due to their skin reacting differently to what is happening in their body. However, it can also be due to their skin experiencing different effects. One common skin concern which is at its height during pregnancy is acne. This is because the skin creates more sebum than usual. It can cause your skin to break out excessively and look somewhat shiny.

To combat this, it is essential to ensure you are carrying out your regular skincare routine. That means cleansing your skin twice daily. However, you may have to switch out your moisturiser and serums for products marketed for oily skin. You can also consult your doctor to identify the safest skincare products to use while pregnant.

Another skin concern that occurs only for pregnant women is known as ‘pregnancy mask.’ It affects several pregnant women and is characterised by brown spots on the skin. More melanin production than usual, and hyperpigmentation are the two typical causes of pregnancy mask. However, not to worry, it does go away once you have given birth and your hormone levels decrease. In saying that, though, the sun can make this condition a lot worse and something that stays after pregnancy. Therefore, it is crucial to wear your SPF daily.

In Summary

Pregnancy glow is considered to be one of the best effects of pregnancy. However, there is still a bit of confusion around what is pregnancy glow, its causes, and whether it lasts after you have given birth. It is one of many changes that occur to the skin during pregnancy.

What’s more, it is incredibly sought after. However, other skin conditions can arise, too, like acne and pregnancy mask. If ever in doubt, do consult your doctor about what skincare products are safe to use during pregnancy.

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