- The “pregnancy glow” is most likely caused by hormonal fluctuations, and skin that’s transformed with more oils and increased blood flow.
- However, not all women experience it.
- If women expect they will breeze through pregnancy, it can be a shock when they don’t, and even a source of shame.
- Two mothers told INSIDER what their pregnancies were like, and how it was all worth it in the end even if they didn’t “glow” throughout.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more.
Before Abi Wright was pregnant with her daughter, she assumed every woman gets a “glow” when they carry a child. She knew friends who had struggled with their pregnancies but, overall, she thought most mothers-to-be felt amazing.
“I thought that was just a few [who struggled] compared to most who waltzed through pregnancy,” she told INSIDER. “I think I just assumed I’d be one of those women.”
However, while Wright was generally healthy throughout her pregnancy, she didn’t feel great. Her morning sickness lasted a good five months, and she developed bodily swelling and insomnia.
“Being someone who is very physical and aware of my body I assumed I would really love being pregnant,” she said. “That’s what I wanted. But for most of the pregnancy, I just didn’t enjoy it, and I felt guilty for that. It’s supposed to be a huge part of your life and I couldn’t wait for it to be over.”
Vicky Oliver, a nurse from Hertfordshire, said her pregnancy with her daughter wasn’t “glamorous” either.
“My hair was the texture of Velcro, I had acne and permanently washed out, waxy skin,” she told INSIDER. “Someone even told me I wasn’t a good advert for pregnancy.”
Oliver also had symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD), which is where the pelvic joint becomes unstable because softened ligaments “can’t hold everything together very well,” she said.
“I was so jealous of everyone else’s pregnancy glow, but never mind,” she said. “All worth it in the end!”
While Meghan Markle and celebrities may look stunning while they show off their pregnant bellies in photos, it’s important to remember how much help they have, and that you don’t have access to every intimate detail of their lives.
Wright now works with women to help remind them their experiences are all normal, by building their confidence back up after pregnancy at her company Inspiring Margot.
Glowing or not, there is plenty that can go wrong in pregnancy. Wright said she had a miscarriage before her daughter was born, and she also knew family members and friends who suffered hyperemesis gravidarum, which is extreme morning sickness.
This is why Bonnie Roupé founded her app Bonzun, which is a virtual midwife that informs pregnant women of what their bodily changes and symptoms mean.
She told INSIDER she is giving power back to women, and hoping to ease the guilt and shame they may feel for struggling through the toll nine months of pregnancy can have on your body and mind.
“I think we have a view of pregnancy as being this magical time,” she said. “And if it doesn’t feel magical then there must be something wrong with you.”
According to Healthline, a “pregnancy glow” is something that goes back centuries, and it was previously believed to be caused by happiness.
However, more up to date evidence suggests it comes from hormonal fluctuations, increased blood flow causing a flushed look, and oilier, stretched skin.
“While every woman experiences hormone fluctuations naturally from pregnancy, this doesn’t mean everyone will experience pregnancy glow,” the article says. “If you don’t, it doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong. Instead, this could indicate that your skin reacts differently to what’s going on with the rest of your body.”
Neither Oliver or Wright felt like they were “glowing” during their pregnancies, but this wasn’t a problem after their children arrived.
Wright said if she were to give advice to someone who wasn’t having the easiest pregnancy, it would be that you won’t always love the experience, and that’s ok.
“At times you might even hate it and that’s OK too,” she said. “And, as cheesy at it sounds, I’d recommend watching the film ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting.’ There’s one character who calls out the perfect pregnancy, and every woman who claims to be having one. I loved watching it when I was pregnant.”
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