Surprise—I’m at 32 weeks and counting!
Now that I’m nearing the final stretch of pregnancy, I can’t deny the fact that carrying this soon-to-be bundle of joy has also taken its toll on my body. Though I have been lucky enough not to have experienced any major hitches (so far!), I still sometimes miss the freedom that comes with being a non-preggo—no offense, baby!

But being pregnant just means taking extra precautions, not just for your health, but also for the growing human inside of you. So, aside from being more conscientious about what you eat, drink, and do, there is a slew of beauty products with no-no ingredients that you should totally avoid. And this means putting on hold all the new—possibly harmful—beauty loot you’re dying to test drive.

On the bright side, many beauty brands are learning—even your favorite, tried-and-tested ones—that pregnant women require special products. And these brands have since churned out formulas that are pregnancy-safe: no chemicals and harmful ingredients that could pose a risk to a developing fetus.
Apart from these product restrictions, however, it goes without saying that pregnancy really affects your body in ways that you never thought it would! Besides the no-brainer weight gain, there’s the sleepless nights, morning sickness, skin discoloration, stretch marks, bloating, you name it!

But that shouldn’t be an excuse to let go and not care about your appearance. In fact, these days I find that the uglier and more tired I feel, the more determined I am to make an effort to look good. It actually works in turning my day around!

So if you’re preggo and need a little lift, keep on reading! I’ve listed 5 things you should expect when you’re expecting, plus my mommy-friendly picks for maintaining your gorgeousness all throughout your pregnancy. Good luck to us all!

1. ITCHY BELLY SYNDROME

A pregnant woman’s growing belly isn’t simply affected by heaviness or weight gain—it also means your once slim, taut stomach has now expanded (stretched, if you will) to accommodate a basketball. This expansion often leads to skin itchiness and dryness, which could then lead to stretch marks. Now, I know everyone’s first recommendation is to slather on a creamy tummy butter, but I say add extra TLC by starting in the bath with a super hydrating soap, too.
Right now, I like the Coffea Arabica Firming Scrub Bar by Ysabel’s Daughter (which was created by a Filipina in the US). Not only is the soap super-energizing on my skin, it’s also packed with antioxidants from arabica oil, plus Vitamin E, for a moisture-filled, anti-cellulite, stretch mark-reducing result!

2. NO MORE CHEMICAL PEELS

Though a lot of Filipinas are fond of whitening and peeling, one beauty ingredient that’s a major no-no during pregnancy is preformed vitamin A, like retinol, which in high doses can lead to birth defects. Retinol is found in a lot of peeling agents, as well as anti-aging products, so be sure to check the label before trying that latest skincare range. For my pregnancy, especially when discoloration started to appear on my face (most likely due to hormones), I opted for natural and organic facial scrubs to aid in exfoliating the skin. A good one to try is Marilou Bio’s Gommage Visage Exfoliant, which is retinol-free, ECOCERT certified organic, and simply translates to “exfoliating face scrub.”

3. MIND THAT MANICURE

As you’ve probably noticed in my column, I’m a certified nail polish addict and love getting my fingers and toes done. But sadly, some of my favorite polish brands are chemically-unsafe for pregnancy. That’s why it’s great to know that brands like Knocked Up Nails, Zoya, and Chanel have 5-FREE polish formulas. That means each bottle of lacquer is free from toluene, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, dibutyl phthalate (DBP), and camphor. In short, maternity-friendly.
My favorite shade at the moment is Knocked Up Nails’ Little Lilac Lovie. I take this with me to the nail salon when getting my tips ‘n’ toes treat! It’s a pretty pastel hue with great color payoff.

4. PREGNANCY GLOW? TRY PREGNANCY GRAY

Sleepless nights—yes, even before the baby’s arrival—have certainly been a regular occurrence for me. The insomnia causes dark circles and eye bags to appear in the morning, making me look extra haggard and tired, and more gray than glowing in the face.

To conceal this, I’ve turned to derma-based brand VMV Hypoallergenics (another brand made by a Filipina). Specifically, a pot of Skin the Bluff, a color-correcting concealer that’s not too thick but covers up my imperfections perfectly. I use the shade No More Blues, which looks like this:
No More Blues is a yellow-based concealer that counteracts the bluish, bruise-y color of darkened under-eye skin. And true to the name of the brand, it’s hypoallergenic, so it’s gentle on easily-triggered preggy complexions.

5. ACHY, BREAKY JOINTS

Carrying an extra few pounds and growing belly puts a lot of pressure on my back, knees, legs, and feet. I always find that it’s good to unwind at the end of the day, lift up those legs to prevent extra swelling, and spritz on my secret weapon: Zenutrients’ Muscle Mend Spray Oil: Organic, plant-based, and totally baby-safe, this botanical oil soothes tired muscles and promotes improved blood circulation. I particularly like that it comes in a spray formula—more convenient for when you can’t reach your feet anymore! (In case you find spray bottles messy, Muscle Mend also comes in a nifty roll-on format. Your choice!)

Selfies and flatlay courtesy by Lyca Puno-Roa