Pregnancy Skincare and my 20 weeks bump update

One of the most annoying things about being pregnant is that everyone feels entitled to tell you what you should or should not be doing.

Some of the most bizarre things I was told throughout my first pregnancy was to stop riding a bike because it would instantly induce labour (I was week eleven) and to stop wearing my skull t-shirt because mothers should only wear symbols of love and flowers, otherwise the baby would be scared away.

Which one is safe, which isn't?
Which one is safe, which isn’t?

These things are easily identified as complete nonsense, but there are others that concern more sensible areas like skincare or food, and these are more difficult to judge.

Now please keep in mind that while I am a physician myself, I am no obstetrician, so I will tell you what I think and what I do. Please talk to your own doctor and do what feels right for you.
Just keep in mind that most obstetricians have no major in skincare and will most likely have only a vague idea of AHA/BHA and nail polish…

You are not allowed to dye your hair
Hair dye, especially bleach based one, can be harmful to the baby if it is absorbed into the body in larger quantities. The amounts necessary to do harm are not reached if your scalp is intact and you stick to highlights/lowlights and the like.
I don´t dye my hair at the moment for other reasons, but throughout my first pregnancy I waited until I was in my second trimester and went on with business as usual.

You should stick to all organic products
Going all organic is always a good option, and I think it is common knowledge that many of the products we use contain stuff (fragrance, preservatives) that isn’t the best.
But again, the amount you incorporate while using the products (always given that your skin is healthy) is too small to do harm to the baby. Most of the stuff we should avoid gets stored in your fat cells anyway, so just shunning it while pregnant will make no difference. It is there in your body already.
Some women feel better when using more gentle or more organic brands, and I wholeheartedly support that. But don’t be afraid of harming your unborn if you keep your regular moisturizer.

No BHA/Retinol throughout pregnancy
Now that is a tricky one, mainly because many companies selling these products will tell you that you are not allowed to use when pregnant on the packaging.
Vitamin A taken orally (prescription strength acne medication) can cause severe congenital deformations in the unborn and you should by no means take it while pregnant. There is no proof (and no studies) that topically applied Retinol has the same effect. I personally doubt that there is enough absorbed through the skin to do harm, but better be safe than sorry.
Salicylic Acid itself, a BHA, is absorbed through the skin when applied topically. But against common misconception it is safe to use through the early stages of pregnancy (even orally as pain medication). Towards the end of pregnancy I´d stop using it, as it can increase blood loss while giving birth and lead to premature closure of the Ductus Botalli in the baby, a circulation part it needs for oxygenation.
I still use my AHA/BHAs and will continue up until the eight month, but I will not introduce a retinol into my skincare just yet.

Don´t paint your nails
Again, the bad stuff that is in the bottle is what raises concern.
I think it is important to use an acetone-free polish remover and maybe opt for one of the 5-free brands, but overall I keep painting my nails.

But again, this is what I do and safely did throughout my first pregnancy. Do what feels right for you!

Huge belly (and Essie "For the twill of it" on my nails)
Huge belly (and Essie “For the twill of it” on my nails)

Now into a little bump update:
I just finished week 20 and while the belly is getting bigger, I still feel very good.
So far no reflux, no swollen ankles, no stretch marks and no sickness.
Frequent trips to the bathroom, yes, and much easier exhausted than before pregnancy, but other than that I feel quite like before.
I had no weird cravings, just an increased appetite for salty foods (Chinese pot noodles!) and compared to my first pregnancy I haven’t gained that much weight. Almost none throughout the first three months and now in moderation, adding up to a total of 4 kgs so far.
This is a little less than I “should have”, but baby is growing like it should, so I don’t worry.

My obstetrician isn’t quite as happy though. She put me on early maternity leave, mostly due to the work I do and the lack of down-time I get. I really tried to be better about taking a step back, but I seem to be a lost cause at taking breaks.
Still not sure about how I feel being at home from now on…

Oh, and we know the gender by now:
This time around, we are having a boy!

I hope I didn’t bore all my non-pregnant readers to death and I promise it will be back to beauty as usual in the next post!

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