As wonderful and heart-warming new motherhood is, there can be some less than lovely side effects including thinning hair, tired, spotty skin and stretch marks. But thankfully there are plenty of ways you can look glowing and well rested – even when you feel anything but!
What’s this? You spent your pregnancy loving your thicker hair and now baby’s here you see clumps of it in the shower every morning.
‘Very few hairs shed during pregnancy so hair looks fuller and more lustrous in pregnancy, says hairdresser Paolo Lai from Neville Hair & Beauty (Miranda Kerr’s a fan).
‘This is due to raised oestrogen levels but post-birth they drop back to normal which can cause rapid hair loss.’ Don’t be surprised if you find the odd grey too: ‘Hormonal changes in pregnancy and increased stress levels can cause grey hairs,’ says nutritionist Henrietta Norton (wildnutrition.com).
‘Your demand for zinc is also higher in pregnancy and it’s been found that eating zinc-rich foods, like pumpkin and sesame seeds and lamb, can slow the grey.’
Are you ready for a scary fact? ‘Mother can accelerate facial ageing by up to five years,’ says cosmetic doctor Dr Michael Prager, ‘and the results typically show when your baby is six months old.’
Prager says this is due to plummeting levels of the hormone progesterone after birth. ‘Collagen levels also drop after birth (collagen is the building blocks of skin and give it bounce and firmness).’
And that’s before you throw in sleepless nights and no time to moisturise. Lastly, sugar has been shown to speed up skin ageing by breaking down collagen. So get your sweet cravings from chopped fruit and Greek style yoghurt instead.
‘Stretch marks are estimated to affect up to 90% of women during pregnancy and are notoriously hard to treat,’ says Jill Zander founder of Jill Zander Skin Rejuvenation Clinic (www.jillzander.co.uk).
‘They’re caused by thinning and a loss of elasticity in the deeper layers of skin. In pregnancy they may be raised red lines but after the birth they tend to flatten out and become shiny, purplish streaks.’
Jill recommends applying body creams or oils twice a day during and after pregnancy, especially around the bust, stomach and hip area.
Products to ease your post-baby beauty blues: