You expect to see masks at a Halloween party, a day spa and masquerade balls. I certainly never expected pregnant women to get them.

Most ladies anticipate skin changes during pregnancy — stretch marks and linea negra are common to many mamas–to–be. The "mask of pregnancy" that some women experience while expecting is another visible condition particular to pregnant women.

To learn more about the mask and what you can do about it,


As defined by the American Pregnancy Association:

"Mask of pregnancy" is also referred to as melasma and chlosma. Melasma causes dark splotchy spots to appear on your face. These spots most commonly appear on your forehead and cheeks and are a result of increased pigmentation. When you become pregnant your body produces more hormones, which causes an increase in your pigmentation. Nearly 50% of pregnant women show some signs of the "mask of pregnancy."

While I did not develop the dark spots on my face while pregnant, my girlfriend had melasma with her birth control pills and again with her pregnancy. Similar to the APA recommendations, she found the best way to avoid the darkening of the spots was to wear high SPF lotion and stay out of the sun.

Like many other conditions, the mask typically goes away once baby is born and hormones return to normal levels.