A woman’s body goes through many changes during pregnancy. Having a baby even affects your hair, skin and nails. You may notice several differences—some good and some not so good. Many of these changes are due to swings in your hormone levels. Things often go back to normal once your baby is born. In the meantime, you may go through some of the following changes. Differences in Hair Growth The upside: Your hair may seem to grow faster during pregnancy. It may also feel thicker. Normally, about 90% of your hair is growing at any given time. The other 10% is at rest for a time before it sheds. Hormone changes during pregnancy cause your hair to stay longer in the resting phase. You don’t lose as much hair each day, making your hair seems fuller and thicker. The downside: The beneficial effects of pregnancy on your hair begin to fade after you give birth. In fact, about three months after delivery many women lose more hair than usual due to falling hormone levels. Hair growth usually returns to normal about six months after delivery. In addition, sometimes hair grows in unwanted places during pregnancy. You may notice new growth on your face, chest, belly and arms. This stops after delivery. Skin Changes The upside: Up-and-down hormone levels during pregnancy also affect your skin. Pregnant women are often described as having a glow. It’s not entirely clear why your skin may seem brighter. One theory is that surging hormones boost oil production, which adds shine to dry skin. Your body also produces more blood during pregnancy. This increased circulation may make your skin look rosier. The downside: The surging hormones that increase your skin’s oil production may cause some women to develop acne. This can happen even if you’ve never had problem skin before. Pregnancy can also lead to: Melasma—dark patches on the skin. During pregnancy, your body makes more melanin, the pigment in your skin that gives it color. The dark patches may appear on your face, breasts or thighs. They usually fade after delivery, but it might take years for them to vanish completely. You can prevent these spots by shielding your skin from the sun. Use sunscreen and wear a hat. More visible veins. Your body makes more blood during pregnancy. This can cause small veins to show up on your skin. Some people call these spider veins. You might see them on your face, neck and arms. Also, the extra weight you carry during pregnancy can reduce blood flow to your legs. This may cause the veins in your legs to look blue and become swollen and sore. Those are varicose veins. Veins also may show up on your vagina. When they show up in your rectum, they are called hemorrhoids. These problems usually improve after delivery. Stretch marks. These reddish lines may appear as your skin stretches to accommodate your growing belly. You might also see them on your buttocks, breasts or thighs late in pregnancy. Creams don’t get rid of stretch marks, but these lines may fade over time. Changes in Fingernails The upside: Some women find that their nails grow a lot faster during pregnancy. The downside: Pregnancy may cause your nails to become brittle and split or break more easily. You may also notice white spots. Your nail strength and texture should improve after you give birth.