Here's What Really Causes A Pregnancy Glow

From more frequent nausea to heavier breasts and mood swings, there are many physical and psychological changes that pregnant women go through. However, the raved-about pregnancy glow is what many women look forward to the most and it is usually one of the most visible signs of pregnancy. After the bump, of course. According to SkinPharm, it is at about 14 to 26 weeks into a pregnancy when expectant moms — and people around them — will notice that their skin becomes more luminous and their cheeks get a lit-from-within flush.


And no, it's not pregnancy brain making you imagine you're seeing it — that natural rosy glow is real. "Pregnancy glow is observed from the second trimester," Dr. Iren D. Hjellestad told ScienceNorway. "Some retain this glow all the way until giving birth." And there are valid medical reasons as to why your skin seems more radiant as your pregnancy takes its course.

What causes pregnancy glow

According to obstetrician and gynecologist Brandye Wilson-Manigat, the rosy glow that appears on a pregnant woman's face is a result of an increase in "blood volume, estrogen, and progesterone." Your body's blood production rises by around 50% during pregnancy, and pregnancy-related hormonal changes increase the amount of oxygen and nutrients that reach the skin, giving you a fuller-looking face and a more radiant complexion (via Self).


Additionally, during pregnancy, you perspire more frequently and your skin cell turnover increases, giving your cheeks a deeper flush and improving the smoothness of your skin. Frequent changes in hormone levels combined with the increased blood flow also make the skin produce more oil, contributing to skin looking shinier, according to SOG Health.

One downside, though? While pregnancy glow is a much sought-after "freebie" that comes with pregnancy, the increase in sebum production can lead to acne in some women.

Other perks of increased hormones during pregnancy

Pregnancy glow is not the only good thing that comes from increased hormones. Your hair becomes a lot thicker when a baby is on the way thanks to the influx of estrogen. According to Pregnancy Birth & Baby, the reason has nothing to do with your hair strands getting thicker. It's actually because they stay in the growth phase longer and shed less than usual, giving the appearance of lusher locks. 


Your nails, according to MedlinePlus, also grow faster and become more resistant to breakage. And if you experience plumper lips, you have pregnancy hormones to thank for that, too.

Pregnancy glow, thicker hair, and a fuller pout are common results of fluctuations in hormones during pregnancy. If you are experiencing these changes, enjoy them while you can. After delivery, your hormones will return to their normal level and those "freebies" will disappear.