13 pregnancy-safe skincare products (because that glow doesn't always come naturally!)

Zits, dark spots and all kinds of other things do though.

13 pregnancy-safe skincare products (because that glow doesn't always come naturally!)
@ninaidea/Twenty20

When it comes to pregnancy, there's no telling what gifts those hormones will bestow upon you. From mood swings to morning sickness, they can wreak havoc on every single system. And your skin? Well, that's where things get even more interesting.

When you're pregnant, of course there's the glow everyone talks about. Unfortunately, hormone surges can also manifest as new and exciting skin issues like acne, dark spots, dry or greasy patches, dullness, redness or extra sensitivity. And while you may have a pre-pregnancy skincare routine in place, there's a good chance not everything you're currently using is one: suited to your newfound needs or two: safe for baby.

What skincare ingredients should you avoid during pregnancy?

Well, first and foremost, talk with your doctor about what's best for you. However, as a general rule you should nix the following:

  • Hydroquinone—A skin lightener that's used to treat dark spots and melasma. Research is limited and it's very easily absorbed, so best to avoid for now. As a pregnancy-safe alternative look for products with niacinamide and Vitamin C to help combat that "pregnancy mask."
  • Salicylic acid—Found in many acne treatments and peels, the jury is out on this one too. Some suggest that it's ok in small doses, but check with your doctor to determine what's safe for you.
  • Benzoyl Peroxide—Another common acne-fighter, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) suggests it's safe to use sparingly but consult your doctor first.
  • Retinoids—Topical retinoids like Avage, Differin, Renova, Retin-A, retinols, retinyl palmitate, and Tazorac should be avoided throughout pregnancy. Despite the fact that just a small amount of the chemical is absorbed via the skin, various research has revealed a link to birth abnormalities.

So if you're looking to revamp your skincare routine and switch to pregnancy-safe skincare that will tackle the hormonal woes, look no further than our top picks below!


Cleansers

Pleni Naturals Enzyme Cleansing Oil

pleni-naturals-enzyme-cleansing-oil

​This holy grail oil cleanser is EVERYTHING. The thick, honey-like formula (which emulsifies to a creamy consistency once you add water) is made with natural fruit oils including enzymatic papaya that cleanse, exfoliate and moisturize. Not only does it effortlessly take off every bit of make-up—mascara included—but it leaves skin feeling soft and supple. We love that it can also be used as a 10-minute mask for an extra dose of softness.

$48

CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser

cerave-foaming-facial-cleanser

This super popular drugstore cleanser is a gentle but effective way to wash the day off (or get it started!) It's formulated with three essential ceramides to help reinforce your skin's barrier and lock in moisture while offering protection from the elements. The addition of niacinamide and hyaluronic acid helps to improve skin texture and keep it looking fresh, plump and ready to glow.

$15.99

Tula The Cult Classic Purifying Cleanser

tula-the-cult-classic-purifying-cleanser

It's called the cult classic for a reason. Developed by a gastroenterologist, Tula's beloved skincare line harnesses the power of probiotics to achieve a healthy and balanced complexion, no matter what issues you're battling. Along with probiotics, this gentle but effective purifying cleanser soothes with natural ingredients like chicory and turmeric root, making it a great match for mamas-to-be who are dealing with breakouts and blemishes.

$28

Facial Oils

Sunday Riley Juno Face Oil

Sunday-riley-juno-face-oil

This obsession-worthy face oil is one you'll turn to long after pregnancy to recreate that mama-to-be glow. It's loaded with skin-soothing botanicals and antioxidants to instantly moisturize tired, dehydrated skin, leaving behind a healthy, vibrant complexion. If you find that oils leave you too greasy, stick to using them at night only. And given all the Vitamin E and Omegas it packs, it makes a great belly oil as well!

$72

Josie Maran Organic Moisturizing Argan Oil 

josie-maran-organic-moisturizing-argan-oil

A nourishing multi-tasker, Josie Maran's pure argan oil is great for hydrating skin and hair. A few drops all over your face will visibly hydrate and smooth, and if you're dealing with particularly flaky patches, spot treating works wonders. Additionally, your wallet will appreciate the budget-friendly trial size which IMO more brands need to offer. After all, what's more disappointing than dropping serious coin on something that doesn't agree with you?

$17

Non-Retinoid Serums For Brightening + Treating Discoloration

Sand & Sky Dreamy Glow Drops

sand-and-sky-dreamy-glow-drops

Forget Florida oranges—Australia is where it's at when it comes to natural Vitamin C sources. Australian skincare brand Sand & Sky leverages local heroes Kakadu Plum and Emu Apple to create their Dreamy Glow Drops—a bi-phase serum (which means it's got both oil and water) that sinks in instantly to deliver hydration (thanks to the addition of five types of hyaluronic acids), plumpness and all-over glow. The consistency is more water than oil, so it works fabulously under makeup and doesn't leave you feeling greasy or weighed down.

$55

Skinceuticals C E Ferulic

Skinceuticals best-selling serum is arguably the gold star of Vitamin C, recommended by countless dermatologists, beauty editors and skincare junkies like myself. The reason? Its efficacy is undeniable. The patented formula combines three powerhouse ingredients: 15% L-ascorbic acid, a super potent form of pure vitamin C that can help reverse sun damage and offers anti-aging benefits; 1% alpha-tocopherol, the pure form of vitamin E that works when paired with vitamin C to neutralize free radicals and replenish skin; and 0.5% ferulic acid, a plant-based antioxidant that protects the skin and enhances the benefits and stability of vitamins C and E. It's a great choice for all kinds of skin but works particularly well for sensitive complexions due to its higher PH levels which allows it to penetrate without disrupting the protective barrier.

$166

Ursa Major Brighten Up Vitamin C Serum

Ursa-major-brighten-up-vitamin-c-serum

A sheer serum with a soft, citrusy rose scent, Ursa Major's Brighten Up Vitamin C serum is a lifesaver for fatigued skin. It contains all-natural ingredients and none of the bad guys (sulfates, parabens, synthetic fragrance, etc), which is perfect if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. You'll find Ascorbic Acid Polypeptides delivering your Vitamin C kick along with Rose hip, Aloe and Edelweiss to intensify the antioxidant and hydration factor.

$55

Moisturizers

Volition Celery Green Cream

volition-celery-green-cream

Pregnant or not, this is one of my favorite moisturizers ever. The lightweight gel formula calms and hydrates skin without feeling sticky or greasy and blesses you with a perfectly plumped fresh face courtesy of hyaluronic acid—one of the most effective ingredients available for moisturizing. Like a blast of green juice for your face, it also packs natural hydration from produce superstars like celery and cucumber.

$55

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Cream Moisturizer

neutrogena-hydro-boost-gel-cream-moisturizer

Free from oils, dyes and fragrances, Neutrogena's super popular gel moisturizer is a favorite among many people with oily skin (including moms-to-be) because its gel formula is lighter than most moisturizers. It's formulated with the moisturizing powerhouse hyaluronic acid—a molecule our bodies produce naturally that acts like a magnet to draw moisture in. The result? Plump, gorgeous and healthy skin without breaking the bank.

$17.59

Exfoliating and Moisturizing Masks

Summer Fridays Overtime Mask

summer-fridays-overtime-mask

Two years in the making, Summer Fridays' Overtime mask was made with pregnancy in mind—or rather, formulated by a pregnant mind. Co-founder Lauren Ireland was pregnant during the development of this gentle exfoliating mask which uses vitamin-packed pumpkin and apricot seed powder to polish away dead skin and reveal that mama-to-be glow. Like the rest of their clean beauty products, it's free of sulfates, parabens, synthetic dyes and fragrances so you can feel good about making it a regular part of your routine.

$44

Youth to the People Superberry Hydrate + Glow Dream Mask

youth-to-the-people-Superberry-hydrate-and-glow-dream-mask

What's better than waking up with a fresh and glowy face? YTTP's hydrating overnight mask is powered by a proprietary blend of super ingredients like maqui, acai, prickly pear, goji berry, sunflower, moringa, and squalane to bring out your inner dewiness while you catch some (much deserved) zzz's. Even better? It smells like creamsicles.

$48

Pregnancy-Safe Acne Treatments

Peach Slices Acne Spot Dots

peach-slices-acne-spot-dots

Forget cell phones—pimple patches are the thing I wish existed when I was in middle school. These brilliant little miracles (otherwise known as hydrocolloid patches) adhere to brewing blemishes to not only draw out the yucky stuff and reduce inflammation without chemicals but also prevent you from picking at it. (#Guilty) While there are tons on the market today, these are my favorite because they include three different sizes in one pack.

$4.49

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

The HATCH Mama collection is everything your pregnant body needs right now

Their oil is the only thing that stopped my belly from itching as it grew bigger.

Conz Preti

Let me start by saying I'm not a fan of moisturizing. I hate being wet and sticky and after applying product to my body, I have to stand around awkwardly until I'm fully air-dried—a practice that is not compatible with having three kids under the age of 3. However, as someone who has carried three children in her body, I also know how much your belly needs hydration as the baby grows.

This was especially true with my second pregnancy. My belly popped way sooner (a thing that happens with subsequent pregnancies) and on top of that, I was carrying twins, which meant I became super pregnant super fast. My belly was itching constantly from the skin stretching (I checked with my doctor to make sure I didn't have Cholestasis) and there was no scratching in the world that could ease my discomfort. My doula recommended the HATCH Mama belly oil and changed my life. The oil is nourishing—but more important to me, quick-drying—so I could apply it all over my planet-sized twin belly and get dressed immediately after without having my clothes ruined nor stuck to my body. Because of how much I loved the oil, I tested other products, and let me tell you, they're all equally amazing.

Curious about the HATCH Mama collection? All of their products are non-toxic and mama-safe, designed to help pregnant people overcome the challenges unique to pregnancy. As their website claims, "from stretch marks to thinning hair, to sleepless nights, we're helping you tackle every prenatal and postnatal beauty issue head-on so you can continue to feel like the best version of you." I'm here for all of this. For the entire Hatch Beauty collection click here.


Here are my favorite products from HATCH Mama:


Belly oil

HATCH COLLECTION  Belly Oil

Intensely hydrating + fantastic at reducing the appearance of stretch marks and scars, this will be your favorite through pregnancy + beyond.

$58

Belly mask

HATCH COLLECTION  Belly Mask Set

Not only does it help to minimize the appearance of stretch masks + scars during pregnancy + postpartum, but there is a little non-toxic wink (and that's to you, mama.)

$42

Nipple + lip ointment 

HATCH COLLECTION  Nipple + Lip

Calming + soothing, this magic sauce is lanolin-free & made of tropical butters and super fruits. I'm not lying when I say you will not want to stop using this, even way after birth.

$28

Belly tattoos

HATCH COLLECTION  Belly Tattoos

A very rock and roll way to honor your bump. And non-toxic + plant-based at that!

$18

This article was originally published in March 2021. It has been updated.

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Motherly created the flexible online birth class moms need

The Motherly Birth Class is completely online, which means you can take the class at your own pace.

Taking a birth class is a pregnancy milestone. Whether you've been excited to take a birth class for a long time or have just recently decided that you wanted to take one, sitting down for that first lesson feels big—spoiler alert, this is really happening! But finding time for a birth class isn't as easy as it would seem.

We know new parents are busy (hello, understatement of the year). Between diaper changes, pediatrician appointments, healing from birth and the general adjustment to #newparentlife, the days can fill up quickly. But a lot of people are caught off guard by how busy pregnancy can be, too! That first trimester is so often full of symptoms—like nausea and fatigue—that can make previously easy or simple tasks exhausting. The second trimester begins and (usually) we start to feel better. But then our days get filled with planning out baby registries and deciding on questions like, "Where will this tiny new human sleep?" And before you know it, it's the third trimester—and, well, then you're in the home stretch. Plus there are so many appointments!

All this to say that we get how busy you are—and how hard that might make it to fit in a birth class.

And that's why we created The Motherly Birth Class. The Motherly Birth Class is completely online, which means you can take the class at your own pace.


Think you'll want to watch each lesson a few times over? Great!

Due date's next week and you need the option to take a birth class very quickly? No problem!

Like everything at Motherly, we designed this class with you in mind.

Taught by Certified Nurse-Midwife Diana Spalding (who also wrote "The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama"), this class is broken into 12 lessons—and you get to control how and when you watch them. We'll teach you about what your (amazing) body is up to in labor, how to decide when it's time to head to the hospital or birth center (or when to call your home birth midwife), what your options are for coping with pain and so much more.

When you sign up for The Motherly Birth Class, you'll get access to a downloadable workbook and meditations. Plus, you'll be invited to join our supportive private online community (where you can chat with the class instructor!)

Oh, one more thing: Your insurance or flexible spending account might even able to able to cover the cost of this class.

Pregnancy is wonderful—but it's a lot. You deserve a birth class that works for you and empowers you to have your best birth. Because vaginal or Cesarean, unmedicated or medication, birth is incredible. And you are the star of it all.

You've got this.

Sign up for The Motherly Birth Class today!

The Motherly Birth Class

pregnant-woman-looking-at-her-belly

Take our completely digital birth class from the comfort of your living room. We'll help you have your best birth—because you deserve it.

$79

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14 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

Keeping kids entertained is a battle for all seasons. When it's warm and sunny, the options seem endless. Get them outside and get them moving. When it's cold or rainy, it gets a little tricker.

So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of the best toys for toddlers and kids that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, many are Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these indoor outdoor toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.


Secret Agent play set

Plan-Toys-Secret-agent-play-set

This set has everything your little secret agent needs to solve whatever case they might encounter: an ID badge, finger scanner, walkie-talkie handset, L-shaped scale and coloring comic (a printable file is also available for online download) along with a handy belt to carry it all along. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Stepping Stones

Stepping-stones

Kiddos can jump, stretch, climb and balance with these non-slip stepping stones. The 20-piece set can be arranged in countless configurations to create obstacle courses, games or whatever they can dream up.

$99.99

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Sensory play set

kidoozie-sand-and-splash-activity-table

Filled with sand or water, this compact-sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$19.95

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Foam pogo stick

Flybar-my-first-foam-pogo-stick

Designed for ages 3 and up, My First Flybar offers kiddos who are too young for a pogo stick a frustration-free way to get their jump on. The wide foam base and stretchy bungee cord "stick" is sturdy enough to withstand indoor and outdoor use and makes a super fun addition to driveway obstacle courses and backyard races. Full disclosure—it squeaks when they bounce, but don't let that be a deterrent. One clever reviewer noted that with a pair of needle-nose pliers, you can surgically remove that sucker without damaging the base.

$16.99

Dumptruck 

green-toys-dump-truck

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyard or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? It's made from recycled plastic milk cartons.

$22

Hopper ball

Hopper ball

Burn off all that extra energy hippity hopping across the lawn or the living room! This hopper ball is one of the top rated versions on Amazon as it's thicker and more durable than most. It also comes with a hand pump to make inflation quick and easy.

$14.99

Pull-along ducks

janod-pull-along-wooden-ducks

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$16.99

Rocking chair seesaw

Slidewhizzer-rocking-chair-seesaw

This built-to-last rocking seesaw is a fun way to get the wiggles out in the grass or in the playroom. The sturdy design can support up to 77 pounds, so even older kiddos can get in on the action.

$79.99

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$79.99

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

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Extended breastfeeding just happened for me—and I'm in no rush to end it

My son is two and a half and still nursing, and it's what makes sense for us.

eclipse images/ Getty

When I became pregnant with my first child, I assumed that I would breastfeed. I also assumed that I would pump and give bottles. I even had all the bottles, a bottle warmer, and a bottle drying rack all ready to go. I made sure I got my pump before the baby came, so I was ready. But then, I actually tried pumping a couple of times and hated it. It was tedious, time-consuming, and not as effective, so nursing was the standard between my two children. It came naturally for me, and I found it the easier of the two options since I stayed home with them anyway. I was always there when they needed it.

I was able to breastfeed my first until she was two and a half, at which point, I was seven months pregnant with her brother. Between the hormones, being touched out, and being uncomfortable, I decided to fully wean her. It had been coming for some time because the clock was ticking on getting her to sleep on her own before the new baby came since we had been co-sleeping up to this point.

I cut night feedings first, moved her to her own bed, and then weaned her completely as I went along in my pregnancy. She still wanted to nurse to sleep, but I had to stop eventually because I was so uncomfortable. My body and brain could not take it anymore, but I'm proud I made it that far with her and that I nursed that far into pregnancy.

When my second child came around, my son, breastfeeding was not only easier, but I found myself here: extended breastfeeding.


He recently passed two and a half, which is where my daughter stopped, and he is still co-sleeping. He still nurses quite a bit, because his tummy hurts because of constipation issues. He still uses it to soothe and help him go back to sleep at night. He's getting too big to stay in our bed much longer, but I'm in no rush to wean him completely until he's ready.

Being able to stay home with them has definitely fostered the breastfeeding relationship. Cuddling is a huge part of it, too, and I'll continue to breastfeed until it makes sense to stop.

While my husband doesn't always agree with that philosophy and tells him that he's a big boy and can be done having milk, it's ultimately not up to him. I told my son that we would work through it together.

It is still an emotional connection thing, and at the same time, it still has benefits for him. He's still getting nutrients especially designed for him. He's still getting supplemental nutrition while he doesn't want to eat as much otherwise if his stomach is hurting.

My body has been doing this for a long time. I'm used to it. While I get touched out some days, I also know how helpful breastfeeding still is to help him settle down and how much he still appreciates it. I don't feel the need to cut him off quickly—both for his sake and mine.

I'm also painfully aware that this is probably my last baby. My breastfeeding journey, over five years in the making, will soon be over. As long as he is still getting the benefits and I'm not stressed over it, I'll let it continue on a limited basis. I know it will end soon—it has to. He will be growing up and entering the next stage before I know it. But until then, I'm going to cuddle my baby boy a bit longer. I'm going to let him nurse at certain times and in certain situations.

I never intended to do extended breastfeeding with either of them, but it just happened naturally. And that's okay. You need to do what makes the most sense and do what your intuition tells you is right for your family.

Parenting