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Secret to a glowing look during pregnancy

Beauty By Naomi Mruttu

ALSO READ: Childcare tips on returning to work after maternity leave

The beautiful experience of pregnancy can take a toll on your mood, energy, health and appearance. Your legs are aching, your skin is stretching and changing, you feel bloated and fatigued. Here are some tips on how to feel beautiful, confident and relaxed.

1. Eat with your looks in mind
Even though you may crave less than healthy choices, try to stick to a diet filled with fresh fruits and vegetables and lean protein. Foods rich in antioxidants will keep your skin looking healthy. Some supplements such as Vitamin A, are not advisable during pregnancy. However, eating Vitamin A rich foods such as eggs, carrots, fish and dairy will help to keep the skin looking supple and young.

2. Managing stretch marks
Heredity plays a role in stretch marks therefore if your mother had them, you’re more likely to get them. Although you cannot prevent stretch marks, you can minimise their appearance and growth. Use oils or lotions that contain Vitamin A and E which are good for supporting the skins structure. These include coconut oil, Shea butter, cocoa butter, and carrot seed oil. You may also mix in a few drops of essential oils such as wheat germ oil which is rich in Vitamin E, or rosehip oil, which is rich in fatty acids and healing nutrients. Many of the essential oils are rich in antioxidants which help to repair and protect the skin, and are therefore good for stretch marks. However, ensure that you confirm which oils are safe for use during pregnancy and lactation.

3. Beauty sleep and relaxation
To look and feel your best, ensure that you relax and rest whenever possible. Pregnant women need at least eight to ten hours of sleep every night. Rest is important to thwart eye bags and dark circles. Use lavender essential oil to help you relax and lull you to sleep. Baths with Epsom salts and essential oils help to relieve aches and pains. If you can, continue with your exercise routine as this will energise you and improve the appearance of your skin.

4. Dry itchy skin
Stretching skin tends to be itchy and dry. Try to eliminate drying soaps and skin products that contain alcohol. Use natural soaps and natural skincare products because whatever you put on the skin, is absorbed into your body. To keep your skin well moisturised, add some Vitamin E oil, lemongrass oil, or lavender oil to your lotion, mix well and use. It is important to keep your whole body well moisturised, not just your belly.

5. Skin pigmentation
Often, changes with pigmentation are among the most pronounced during pregnancy. Dark patches might develop on your face or on other areas of your body such as your inner thighs. Although these skin changes aren’t preventable, they can get worse with sun exposure. Stay in the shade when you can. If you must be in the sun, use plenty of sunscreen.

6. Skin breakouts
If you do break out, remember that these skin changes will most likely resolve themselves within three months of giving birth. Wash your face with a mild cleanser twice a day and keep your hair off your face. Use an oil free moisturiser and avoid oily make-up.

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