[Physiological skin changes during pregnancy]

Presse Med. 2003 Nov 29;32(38):1806-8.
[Article in French]


A NATURAL PHENOMENON: Pregnancy is a period of hormone, immunological, metabolic and vascular changes. Modifications of the skin, mucosa and integuments are therefore physiological. The modifications are in pigmentation, but also affect nevi, the connective tissue, vessels and appendices. Modifications in pigmentation exist in more than 9 pregnancies out of 10 in the form of local melanosis. Melasma, also know as the 'pregnancy mask' or chloasma, is fairly rare. These disorders in pigmentation are also observed in black-skinned women. Changes in nevi (darker brown colour, increase in size) occur in around 15% of pregnancies. MODIFICATIONS IN CONNECTIVE TISSUE: Characterised by vergetures, affecting 60 to 90% of women, appear between the 6th and 8th month of pregnancy and for which there is no satisfactory treatment. Vascular modifications are generally proliferative and due to estrogen impregnation that affects the arteriolar and venous systems. Stellar angiomas are present in 50 to 70% of Caucasian women. Bilateral palmar erythema may also be associated with these angiomas. Varicose veins and varicosities of the lower limbs induced by excessive venous pressure are frequent, as well as oedema (salt-water retention, increased capillary permeability). MODIFICATIONS IN THE APPENDICES: These concern the activity of the sweat glands, the size of the sebaceous glands (Montgomery tubercles), the nails and hair growth.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Connective Tissue Diseases / etiology
  • Connective Tissue Diseases / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Nail Diseases / etiology
  • Nail Diseases / physiopathology
  • Pregnancy / physiology*
  • Pregnancy Complications / etiology*
  • Pregnancy Complications / physiopathology
  • Skin Diseases / etiology*
  • Skin Diseases / physiopathology
  • Skin Physiological Phenomena*
  • Skin Pigmentation / physiology