Moms know the importance of eating well in pregnancy and postpartum.  We know that the food we eat becomes the cells of our baby, the fluid in our shared bodies, and later, the milk our baby drinks.  What we aren’t often told, is that our skincare products matter, too.

Pregnancy often sends mamas into an unpredictable space with their skin.  They may have unexplainable rashes or blemishes.  Pimples become normal (alongside night waking).  Maybe the face wash you’ve used for a decade now causes you to break out in angry hives?  Or when you massage your belly with your standby lotion it gets inflamed and itchy?  Some mothers even grow new moles or skin tags.  Our bodies are shapeshifting as we lean into the role of motherhood and these signals from the skin shouldn’t be ignored. They are messages pointing us in the direction of safety and health, for us and our babies. 

 Focusing on simple, clean, organic skincare products can not only help ward off pregnancy-related skin issues before they become unruly but also helps ensure that baby’s not exposed to potentially dangerous toxins that might be hiding in the ingredients label. 

The skin is the largest organ of the body.  Many chemicals in skincare products are small enough to penetrate the bloodstream through the skin.  Phthalates, parabens, and triclosan, all commonly found in soap and other body products, are considered hormone disrupters.    It is safest to stay away from them during the childbearing years.  There is also a large body of information we just don’t know about the safety of certain products during pregnancy and postpartum because testing them on pregnant or nursing mothers would be unethical.  Your skin absorbs everything you put on your body, so skincare products need to be baby-safe.

Another thing to consider in pregnancy and postpartum is that the skin is used to depending on nutrients that are now delegated to the baby, leaving our skin crying out for healing restoration.  Our skin has to grow and stretch in a relatively short amount of time to accommodate for baby … and then change again after baby is born!  When thinking about it this way natural, healthy skincare becomes not only luxurious but vital.  Your skin deserves to be nourished.  It needs extra support. 

Paying attention to healthy skincare products - along with diet, movement, and sleep - is what will keep your skin radiant in pregnancy.  We all want that pregnancy glow!  But we are also up against the very real challenge of growing a healthy baby and all the uncomfortable nuances that can come with that.  Soothing and nourishing our skin is one small thing we can focus on with a large payoff.  Not only are we saving our baby from potentially dubious chemicals we are also emphasizing our own well being as mothers, a practice that only becomes more important after birth. 

Natural ingredients are imperative for a healthy, motherly glow.  From stretch marks, to swollen ankles, to sore nipples, and beyond: nutrient-rich, good-for-you skincare is possible.  You deserve it.

By: Elisabeth Mitchell

Writer, Doula, and Postpartum Mental Health Advocate

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