The skin in pregnancy

J Cutan Med Surg. 2002 May-Jun;6(3):236-40. doi: 10.1177/120347540200600308. Epub 2002 Apr 15.


Background: Physiologic skin changes are common during pregnancy due to a temporary shift in hormonal, metabolic, and immunologic factors. Physicians may mistake normal skin changes in pregnancy as pathologic change within the skin, and so an appreciation of the common and less common skin manifestations will assist in appropriate patient care.

Objective: This review highlights the normal physiologic skin changes in pregnancy, which include pigmentary changes, changes to the hair and nails, alterations in glandular activity, vascular and hematological changes, cutaneous tumors, and mucous membrane changes.

Conclusion: Physiologic changes to the skin in pregnancy can be complex and confusing. Pregnancy can be a stressful time for women so it is imperative that physicians be aware of the normal skin changes during pregnancy in order to prevent unnecessary investigations and treatments.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy / physiology*
  • Pregnancy Complications / diagnosis*
  • Pregnancy Complications / pathology
  • Skin / pathology
  • Skin Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Skin Diseases / pathology
  • Skin Physiological Phenomena*