Birthing Ayurveda: Week 20—How To Care For Your Stretching Belly
Welcome to Birthing Ayurveda, where we follow one woman's pregnancy experience week by week—from a positive home pregnancy test all the way to delivery.
I shifted into the twentieth week this week, and I can say that my belly is noticeably getting larger. After yoga class one day, my brother and sister-in-law looked at my belly and exclaimed, “Woah! Your belly grew over night!” It really did seem to be so, since over the week several people, including my brother-in-law, my husband, and yoga teacher all commented on how much bigger my belly is.
This was a bit of a relief to me since many people barely noticed that I was pregnant until the last few weeks, unless I wore a tighter shirt. But Charlie (what we call the baby) is right on point and will grow at an even faster rate over the next several weeks.
Charlie is just about three-fourths of a pound (300 grams or so) now, but despite how tiny that may seem, the amniotic fluid around Charlie and the uterus is significantly larger. The uterus now reaches about the level of my belly button (a landmark week for uterine size).
It makes my belly itchy and uncomfortable. Nourishing the skin and its tone with daily abhyanga certainly helps, and the moisture eases the itch.
But that began to be barely enough for me, so over the last several weeks I started using Beauty Balm on my belly. This balm is made with a nourishing and moisturizing base of ghee, olive oil, and beeswax. It also has herbs that really rejuvenate and support natural tissue rejuvenation, like ashwagandha, shatavari, and vidari. I had heard many other moms loving the ritual of spreading this on their belly when pregnant, so I decided to give it a try. So far my skin has the same look and feel as my non-pregnant belly (except being a bit more taut). It also is not itchy throughout the day, and I love being more in touch with this part of my body.
Here are more tips for your skin while you are pregnant.
Most women (especially the vata folks out there) will enjoy overall healthier skin during this time because of the nurturing qualities of Kapha that is so dominant during pregnancy. But as blood and hormones continue to build, some pitta type skin reactions may develop, particularly during the third trimester. We will explore those a bit more when I get there. Until then, enjoy and relish your pregnant beauty and support your natural glow with these recommendations.