Skin, Hair and Teeth During Pregnancy

You may have heard people refer to the ‘glow’ of pregnancy, and be wondering when you’re going to get it. The glow generally describes the blemish-free skin and shiny hair some pregnant women experience, however there’s no guarantee that you will be one of the lucky ones. Not all women report the same changes, in fact some women complain that hormones have had the opposite effect on their skin, hair and teeth during pregnancy.

Skin during pregnancy
Some women find that the hormonal changes, fluid retention and increased blood flow of pregnancy lead to healthy-looking, smoother skin. If this is the case for you, enjoy it while it lasts.

Others find that the rapidly changing hormone levels cause an outbreak of spots and dry skin. You may find that you need to keep up a rigorous beauty regime during pregnancy to keep spots at bay. Remember that any changes to your skin will disappear once your hormones level return to normal following the pregnancy.

Some women find that their skin darkens during pregnancy. Also known as the ‘mask of pregnancy’, chloasma is the name of the condition that causes dark blotches to appear on the skin. The blotches most frequently appear under the nose, across the cheekbones and forehead. Most women find that the blotches disappear a few months after the birth, but some may never completely fade.

Hair during pregnancy
Increased levels of oestrogen lead to longer growth phases for hair follicles. In short, this means your hair grows longer, and falls out less. Many women report their hair thickening during pregnancy, a welcome change for some. It can take up to a year postpartum to lose all of the extra hair, although it will start to fall out a few months after the birth.

For those enjoying excess hair growth, this may also happen with your body hair. You may find yourself growing excess hair on your face, arms, genitals and legs. If the hair bothers you, you could shave, tweeze or wax to remove it, but avoid bleaching because bleach can be absorbed into the skin.

Nails during pregnancy
Some women find that their fingernails are stronger and healthier during pregnancy, but others report quite the opposite. Weak, brittle nails are a common pregnancy complaint. Your nails should return to normal after the birth, but in the meantime try to take care of your nails by using moisturising hand lotion and rubber gloves when washing up.

Teeth during pregnancy
The hormonal changes during pregnancy can lead to swelling of your gums and an increased risk of plaque on your teeth. This can lead to inflammation and bleeding of the gums. Your dentist will be able to help you with any gum problems, and can advise you on how to best look after your teeth during pregnancy. If you require any fillings or x-rays, your dentist may wish to postpone these until after the baby is born.

Have you noticed any changes to your skin, hair and teeth during pregnancy?

Written by Fiona, proud owner of a toddler, @fiona_peacock

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2017. All rights reserved.

Your Baby’s Pearly Whites

For months you’ve been enjoying your baby’s gummy smiles. But your baby has started drooling a little, and seems to want to chew on everything and anything. Are her first teeth ready to erupt?

Teething signs and symptoms

When your baby starts teething, you may notice the following:

  • Drooling
  • Biting
  • Sucking on hands
  • Irritability, fussiness
  • Wakefulness
  • Ear rubbing
  • A rash on the chin or around the mouth

When will my baby get teeth?

The lower central incisors are typically the first teeth to erupt – usually between 6 and 10 months. But your baby may show teething signs months ahead of that as the teeth start to push up through the gums. The top central incisors will show up between 8 and 12 months. And the remaining teeth slowly appear over the next couple of years, with the second molars coming in when your baby is 2½ to 3 years old.

What can I do about teething pain?

Those gums are sore! But pressure seems to make them feel better. Find one or two safe teethers that your baby really loves – they might be wooden, rubber or even cloth. Try gum massage – using a clean index finger, gently rub small circles all around baby’s gums. Freeze a wet washcloth and allow baby to chew on it, or put a baby spoon in the fridge to chill and give it to baby as a teether. Talk to your doctor about pain relievers – ibuprofen and acetaminophen may be useful for the worst bouts of pain but it’s best to consult a doctor first. Consider topical pain relievers, too.

How do I care for my baby’s teeth?

Even before those first teeth appear, you may want to use a washcloth or small piece of gauze over your finger to gently wipe baby’s gums after eating. The using a small, soft toothbrush and water only, you can clean the teeth as they appear. Be sure to brush the front and back of the teeth. You can slowly start using toothpaste as your baby gets older (start with just the tiniest smear and graduate to a pea-sized dollop of a gentle toothpaste when your child is around age 3).

Experts recommend scheduling your baby’s first dental exam between the ages 1 and 3 to check tooth development, with regular checkups thereafter.

Allow your baby a few sips of water after meals to wash away food particles. Don’t allow your baby to fall asleep with a bottle or sippy cup to prevent tooth decay. Breastfeeding to sleep, however, doesn’t need to be avoided, as the breastmilk doesn’t typically pool in the mouth in the same way.

Now that she has teeth, do I need to stop breastfeeding?

Many moms worry about baby biting the breast when feeding. When the baby is latched correctly, the tongue typically covers the lower gums and biting is unlikely. If baby falls asleep and lets go a little, he may try to recover by clamping down with his gums – and his new teeth. Paying close attention and removing baby from the breast when he is done actively nursing can prevent this from happening. Occasionally baby’s teeth will irritate the areola while nursing. Getting the best possible latch and changing positions often alleviates this problem.

When will my child start losing teeth?

Around age 6, your child may start losing their “baby teeth” – typically with the lower central incisors coming out first.

Fun Fact

Occasionally babies are born with teeth. Though very rare, these “natal teeth” have very little root structure holding them in place and are typically removed in the first couple of days after birth.

Written by Michelle, childbirth instructor, lactation consultant, and mother to 4 busy kids

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice.  All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2016. All rights reserved.

How to Avoid Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is surprisingly common in babies and young children. It is very important that you look after your child’s teeth. Baby teeth may only stick around for a few years but they have an important job to do. If baby teeth are lost too early thanks to tooth decay, the remaining teeth may move around in the mouth and this can cause problems for the erupting adult teeth.Tooth decay can be painful and expensive to treat. Though it is treatable, it is much better to avoid tooth decay in the first place. Here are some tips to help you avoid baby bottle tooth decay:

  1. Don’t use a bottle at bedtime

Your formula fed baby probably still has a bottle before bed and that’s fine. It’s important, however, to make sure that your baby doesn’t fall asleep with the bottle. This can cause formula milk to pool in the mouth and the sugars in the milk can cause tooth decay. Make sure your baby drinks her milk while she’s still awake and remove the bottle before she starts to drift off.

  1. Stick to water

Your baby needs breast or formula milk to aid growth and development during the first year of life (and potentially longer for breastfed babies). What your baby doesn’t need is fruit juice, cordial and fizzy drinks. These drinks contain sugar which causes tooth decay. To greatly reduce the risk of tooth decay, avoid sugary drinks. Even ‘no added sugar’ drinks can cause tooth decay. It’s best to stick to water. You may not love the taste of water, but your baby doesn’t know any different and so will probably be more than happy to drink plain ol’ water.

  1. Teach good dental care

As soon as your baby’s teeth appear, it’s time to start brushing those teeth twice a day. Use a toothbrush designed for babies and be gentle when brushing your baby’s teeth. If your baby seems hesitant, brush your teeth too so she can see that it’s something you do as well.

  1. Use a cup

Experts recommend that your child should lose the sippy cup by her first birthday. By the age of one, your child should be drinking from an open cup. This is better for your child’s teeth than a sippy cup. It might mean the odd spillage, but your baby will soon learn how to wipe water up with a cloth.

  1. Eat healthy

Healthy habits start young. To reduce your child’s risk of developing tooth decay, encourage your child to eat a healthy diet. Limit the amount of sugar your child consumes during the day. And remember, not all sugar is in sweets, children consume lots of hidden sugars throughout the day. For example, did you know lots of breads, jars of baby foods and jars of pasta sauce contain sugar?

Written by Fiona (@Fiona_Peacock), mother, writer and lover of all things baby related.

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2016. All rights reserved.