Skin Changes Experienced during the Second Trimester

By Joanne Stone, Keith Eddleman, Mary Duenwald

The hormones coursing through your body at soaring levels may make strange things happen to your skin. These changes don’t occur in all women, and if they do happen to you, rest assured they usually fade away after the baby is born.

[Credit: Kathryn Born, MA]
Credit: Kathryn Born, MA
  • You may notice a dark line, called the linea nigra, on your lower abdomen running from your pubic bone up to your navel. This line may be more noticeable in women with relatively dark skin. Fair-skinned women often don’t develop this line at all.

  • The skin on your face may also darken in a masklike distribution around your cheeks, nose, and eyes. This darkening is called chloasma or the mask of pregnancy. Sun exposure makes it even darker. Use a facial cream with sun block to minimize the effects of the sun on chloasma.

  • Red spots, called spider angiomas, may suddenly appear anywhere on your body. Press on them, and they probably turn white. These spots are concentrations of blood vessels caused by the high level of estrogen in your body. They’ll probably disappear after delivery.

  • Some women notice a reddish coloring on the palms of their hands. Known as palmar erythema, this coloring is another estrogen effect, and it, too, will go away.

  • Skin tags (small, benign skin growths) are also a common occurrence, although it isn’t totally clear why they develop. Fortunately, they, too, fade away or disappear after pregnancy. Because they’re likely to resolve in time, you don’t need to rush to the dermatologist to have them removed, unless they’re really bothersome.