Excitement levels are running high - I only have six weeks left until my due date! How crazy is that? But before our baby boy arrives, I wanted to write one last pregnancy-related post about my experience of carrying a human bean in my belly for over 9 months. If you're not interested in preggo stuff - please click away now, I may be oversharing some details; I do however think it's important to have an open discussion among women about their different experiences and struggles. Knowledge is power!
|Baby bump at 32 weeks; photo by my talented BFF Mariya.|
Overall, I am very grateful to have had an easy, comfortable, and healthy pregnancy thus far. If you remember my two other pregnancy updates (announcement here
and gender reveal here
), right from the very beginning I've been feeling well and suffered very few pregnancy symptoms that can make a preggo's life a living hell. I have not had any nausea whatsoever, in general I have maintained good energy levels, I have been sleeping well (even with the frequent bathroom trips), I haven't had almost any digestive issues or swelling, no cramping or bleeding. I have had the most normal pregnancy imaginable - but not only has my well-being been great, more importantly, as far as all tests and scans go, the baby has also been doing great, growing and developing steadily and swimming energetically from one side of my belly to the other (especially at 3am in the morning ;)
I am stressing all this because I'm sure all women, especially of child-bearing age, have heard pregnancy horror stories left and right, be it from well-meaning family members or anxious friends. Personally, after hearing all these accounts and retellings, it almost seemed to me like it was impossible to feel well and enjoy being pregnant - like things were bound to go downhill at some point or another. I only knew of one friend whose pregnancy experience has been overwhelmingly positive - ONE! If you've been considering having a child (or children) some time in the future but are worried about how your body will handle growing another human; please don't be. There's no way to predict what your personal experience may be, and feeling stressed and anxious over it certainly won't make anything better. I don't think there's any guarantee one way or another - sure, it's good to keep in shape and practice healthy habits beforehand, but as to specific symptoms etc... We really can't know until we get there. I was in fact quite resigned to the fact that I may be feeling awful when pregnant, and I was also worried about being able to conceive due to some medical history I won't bore you with - but all of that stress and anxiety turned out to be completely unfounded and unnecessary. Pregnancy CAN be healthy, enjoyable and happy; let's all try to remember that.
Now in my third trimester, I have definitely started feeling... quite pregnant. As of my last doctor's appointment, I have gained approx. 25 pounds. My family and friends are kind enough to claim that it's all in the bump; I do feel like my belly is rather on the large size, and it protrudes a lot in the front (I like to call it a watermelon). I have gone up between 1-2 bra sizes (larger cup as well as band size) and I think my hips are somewhat bigger as well, but all things considered I think it's not too bad. Because of the size/ weight of the baby bump and joint-loosening hormones coursing through my body, I have been experiencing pain in my left hip/ inner thigh area, which is making walking increasingly challenging - but you know, living in NYC, I still do it anyway - and then silently curse myself for not taking a cab ;)
So far - knock on wood - I have not noticed any stretch marks anywhere on my body. I have not had any stretch marks prior to pregnancy either, but I also realize I may still get them mere weeks before delivery, so I guess we will just have to wait and see. As far as bodycare, I have been using lots of moisturizers on the bump & rump area every single evening after shower, sometimes in the morning as well. I also like to scrub and massage my body quite thoroughly in the shower using lots of body wash and a loofa to get some good blood circulation and exfoliate all those dead skin cells. I haven't personally experienced a lot of dry skin or itchiness, which I understand can be quite common. The eczema on my hands, if anything, has been a bit better than in the past few years.
When it comes to the actual products I've been reaching for, I have not bought a single anti-stretch mark cream or belly balm or any of those other lotions and potions geared specifically towards pregnant women. As far as I know, stretch marks are genetic anyway, and while moisturizing your body can go a long way towards minimizing them/ making them heal faster, there's no proven skincare ingredient to completely prevent them or have them disappear. So I didn't bother paying more just to have a product labelled for pregnancy, and instead have been using lotions I've already had in my stash, as well as my new favorite body oil, the Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Multi-Usage Dry Oil*
($45 for 100ml/ 3.3 fl. oz spray bottle at us.nuxe.com
, smaller sizes also available - the Limited Edition bottle in the photo looks full because it's my second one; my husband also uses it as a beard oil). It smells heavenly of sweet tropical florals and absorbs quickly into the skin, sealing in moisture. I have also been using the Prodigieux Shower Oil*
($15 for 200ml/ 6.7 fl. oz, here
) from the same range, which feels nourishing on the skin and gives excellent slip for shaving. It also makes my skin look very luminous thanks to all the luxurious golden shimmer :) I have tried using coconut oil as well but felt like it was a bit too heavy for me, whereas most regular body lotions are currently too thin/ lightweight. I think for me personally, body butters and oils are the way to go.
I haven't observed any major changes in my hair or nails. My nails have always been strong and they grow fast, and that hasn't changed. My hair also grows quite quickly, and since I haven't dyed it for over two years now, it's all healthy, shiny, sleek virgin hair. I do use good conditioners and leave-in sprays in my hair, but it's now quite long and I do not have any split ends - that's probably a first. In my photos, you may catch a glimpse of my baby bangs; I now have long baby hair growing on both sides of my forehead. I've also noticed a lot less hair on my brush after detangling or styling, but I wouldn't say my hair looks or feels any thicker or fuller than before. That may actually be a good thing - I'm hoping to avoid dramatic hair loss post partum.
As far as the skin on my face - which is probably the most important to the vast majority of women - I'm very happy to say that it improved in pregnancy. Prior to getting pregnant, I have struggled with acne for most of my teenage and adult life. I have noticed quite quickly - within the first couple of months - that I was getting a lot less breakouts and absolutely no cystic acne, which had been my biggest struggle in the past. Overall, my skin is now more even in texture and tone, but I think my sebum production is only slightly diminished - my skin type is still combination. It can get very oily on the T-zone, but we're also currently in the hot & humid summer season here in NYC, so I'm sure that contributes to the oiliness as well. To help with any congestion, I have been quite diligent about using chemical exfoliants on my face twice a day; you can read more about my current skincare routine here
The only acne/ skin texture I have been somewhat struggling with during pregnancy has been on my chest - and, uhm, belly. I had had congested pores on my chest before getting pregnant as well, but I feel that for the first 4-5 months, it unfortunately got worse. I just tried not to pay too much attention to it, made sure I was washing that area thoroughly every night and extended all of my facial exfoliants all the way down my neck and chest, and after those 5 months, it has pretty much all cleared up - either thanks to my efforts or just a spontaneous shift in hormones. But now that I've been acne-free, I have noticed a different issue - lots of tiny little skin tags all over my mid-section. They're so little that they eventually dry out and get scrubbed off anyway, but they're just... a bit strange and slightly annoying, especially if I mindlessly scratch one by accident. I do hope they go away post-partum :)
In terms of hyperpigmentation or melasma, which are also common concerns in pregnancy, I have not noticed anything out of ordinary. I am quite fair and naturally prone to freckles and hyperpigmenation anyway, so I have been making sure to apply lots of high SPF sunscreen on my face and chest (Mentholatum Sunplay SPF 50+ Super Block PA++++
, reviewed here
) as well as other exposed areas of my body (Neutrogena Sensitive Skin SPF 60+
) any time I go outside, and I try to limit my sun exposure as much as possible. So far, I don't think my existing dark spots have gotten any worse or that I have got a lot of new ones, although I am always somewhat more freckly in the summer - that's just hard to avoid completely with my coloring. Speaking of pigmentation, I do have quite a visible linea negra on my belly, but thankfully it's not super dark - just a tan color, pretty much exactly the shade of my freckles. I'm sure it will fade completely a few months after delivery.
In general, I have not been very particular about avoiding lots of specific ingredients in skincare (or even my food aside from the obvious ones like alcohol or raw meat). Sure, I've put away all of my retinol and salicylic acid products for the time being, but I haven't been scrutinizing INCI lists looking for ingredients some people deem toxic, or irritating to the skin. I pay a lot of attention to ingredients any time I shop for skincare anyway, so I feel like I've done my due diligence regardless of pregnancy. There's lots of fear mongering out there and many pregnant women make the decision to switch to natural/ organic/ green beauty products, believing they're much better for them and safer for the baby. However, reality is a little more complicated than that - especially that the natural beauty market isn't in fact regulated by law in the United States. What I'm saying is - just do your own research.
I think that's about all I wanted to say on this topic - please let me know if you have any questions by leaving me a comment. The gorgeous maternity photos I used to illustrate this post were taken by my talented best friend Mariya, who flew all the way from Seattle to spend a few days with me and give me the much needed female emotional support. Thank you, bae! Big thanks to Claire from the Land of Lorp
and Allison from 10am Beauty
for listening to my rants on Twitter and giving lots of helpful preggo/mama advice. And lastly, thanks to Nuxe for providing me with ample amounts of Huile Prodigieuse to smear all over my watermelon belly :) Just a few more weeks to go, you guys!!!
|Some of the K-Beauty brands & products you can score at the Peach & Lily Sample Sale.|
In completely other news, me and Kar Yi
are planning to attend the Peach & Lily 2nd Annual K-Beauty Sample Sale on Wednesday 8/24 at Stollway 250 W 39th St
(between 7th & 8th Ave). The sale starts at 8am and goes on until 10pm (or until supplies last) and I thought I'd share this event with you in case you're a fellow Korean Beauty lover. RSVP by emailing email@example.com - even if you're not quite sure you're coming yet, it doesn't cost anything to get your name on the list. The brands you can grab at up to 80% off include Be The Skin, Cremorlab, May Coop, Mizo, Kicho, Lagom, Shangpree, Dr.Dream, 24/7 and Lady&Skin. Peach & Lily recommend to get there as early as you can, and only carry your funds with you (cash & credit cards accepted) instead of a whole purse (I don't know how doable that will be for me though, lol). If you happen to be there around noon and see a heavily pregnant lady waddling about, please come over and say hello!
Disclaimer: Products marked with an asterix (*) were press samples I received from the
brands' PR for review consideration. I purchased everything else myself. All links
are non-affiliate. All opinions are 100% honest and
unbiased, no matter if the
products featured were purchased with my own monies or provided free of
charge. Thank you for reading!