Beautiful Mother-to-be

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By: Shahnaz Husain

Being pregnant changes every inch of us. A woman’s body goes through physiological, hormonal and glandular changes during this time, that’s because of the joy and excitement one goes through. Pregnancy brings mixed feelings. Along with the joy and anticipation, there can be feelings of fear and doubt. This is natural because pregnancy and the arrival of the baby mean many changes in the body and way of life.   The youthful figure changes and there is the fear that it may never be the same again. Pregnancy, however, is a natural physiological process.  It is much easier to accept the changes in a positive way if one can prepare in advance and take regular care of the skin, hair and body. In fact, it can be a time which you will always remember and cherish.

Many women find that their skin improves during pregnancy and takes on a healthy glow. This is due to hormonal changes. Some, however, may find that certain skin problems like blotchy patches, acne, dark circles or pigmentations. If there are any nutritional deficiencies, this may reflect on the skin, in terms of a pale and sallow complexion. To hide those spots and colour differences, you need to make sure you use the right lipstick, mascara, concealer and foundation that does not have any harsh chemicals.

A nutritious diet, adequate sleep and relaxation are essential for both beauty and health, especially during pregnancy. Staying healthy and eating right can go a long way towards making you feel beautiful during this special phase of life.

Pregnancy is a beautiful journey, but many mommies are always conscious of what they should wear. By the time you enter your second trimester, most of your clothes will start feeling snug. Wear clothes that are comfortable, trendy, and accentuate your curves and changing body. Don’t over accessorize or overdo your outfits when you’re pregnant.

Get yourself a pair of good maternity jeans or a dress, a couple of tunic tops or kurtas, and a pair of maternity leggings.   Pregnancy fashion has a new spot in the industry. Baby bumps are cute, flaunt them.

Beauty cannot be far from fitness. Keeping good health will ensure that you have a smooth pregnancy with minimum complications. There are certain exercises that are recommended for pregnant women. Therefore, spend some time exercising every day but strenuous exercises are a strict no-no during pregnancy.   Light yoga stretches or a prenatal yoga session under expert yoga teacher once or twice a week can help you stay fit.

You can join maternity yoga meditation classes that are designed especially for prenatal, and get a chance to meet other expectant mothers and learn from their experiences.

Be mobile even if you feel like you are moving in slow motion. Too much sitting or standing can lead to backaches, overweight, busty as your gravity-centre may shift. Try to keep your hips and shoulders in line as you walk, and keep your back straight by tucking a pillow behind you when you sit.  When any discomfort occurs, don’t hesitate to consult an osteopath, acupuncturist, massage therapist or chiropractor who specializes in pregnancy.

A daily skincare routine should be followed, in keeping with individual requirements. If the skin is dry, it should be moisturized and nourished every day. Cleanse the skin twice a day with a cleansing cream or milk. Apply a moisturizing lotion and sunscreen during the day. At night, apply a good nourishing cream and massage the skin for a few minutes. Use outward and slightly upward strokes.  Wipe off the cream with damp cotton wool.

For oily skin, use a cleansing lotion. A scrub should be used two or three times a week if there are no pimples, acne or rash.  This helps to keep the pores free of hardened oil. A light toning lotion should be used to refresh the skin. It can be used several times during the day.

Chloasma or Pregnancy Mask is a common problem during pregnancy, in which the skin develops pigmented (dark) patches. Usually, they occur on the cheeks, or the highpoints, like forehead, nose and cheeks. The use of a sunscreen lotion is important, to provide protection from UV rays, which actually make these patches apparent. Try to avoid the sun, as far as possible, especially from noon till 3 p.m. This would help to prevent aggravation of the condition. It is a good idea to visit a beauty therapist and seek treatment. Facial massages and application of certain creams can help. If there is no acne or other eruption, the use of facial scrubs will also help to minimize the marks.

As a home remedy, add a pinch of turmeric to yogurt (curd) and apply daily on the patches. Leave it on for about 20 minutes and wash it off with water. Or mix together honey and lemon juice and apply on the patches daily, the same way.  The use of a facial scrub or cleansing grains, rubbing gently on the dark areas, will help.

The hormonal activity usually benefits the hair during pregnancy. Good nutrition and the vitamin and mineral supplements, prescribed by the doctor, actually help the hair to improve.  If there is any mental stress, however, this can reflect on the hair, by way of problems like hair loss. It is after the baby is born that hair loss can occur. In fact, post-pregnancy hair loss is almost routine. The hair may also begin to look dull and lifeless. There is no need to be alarmed about it. Once the hormones settle, the condition is usually checked.  Regular hair care during pregnancy goes a long way in minimizing problems.

Your regular care should include washing the hair, two to three times a week, with a mild herbal shampoo. Avoid using hair dryers, unless it is absolutely essential. Allow the hair to dry naturally as often as you can.  Weekly henna treatments also help to keep the hair in good condition. They also improve the appearance of the hair by adding body and shine. Weekly oil treatments are also needed. In fact, the oil may be applied the night before your shampoo. You should also consult your doctor regarding continuing vitamin and mineral supplements even after the baby’s birth.

What you must remember is that pregnancy is not a disease. It is a natural process. So enjoy the anticipation and the event. Along with daily external care, pay attention to your health. Feeling good will make you look good and looking good will make you feel even better. That is what beauty is all about.

No matter how nauseated and tired you feel, it is in our hands to make this wonderful journey of giving birth to a life, a wonderful and beautiful experience.

The author is an International fame beauty expert.

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