Pregnancy can be a roller coaster ride; one day you feel completely elated by the prospect of motherhood, and the next upset and frustrated by your ever-growing body.
From swollen ankles and a bloated face to your expanding waistline and itchy dry skin, a pregnant body can sometimes lead to the pregnancy blues. So while you might revel in being pregnant, you might not be enjoying feeling pregnant.
Don't worry though, help is at hand! Dr Marilyn Glenville, a leading UK nutritionist who specialises in women's health and author of The Natural Health Bible For Women, has compiled some top tips to give all mums-to-be a much-needed beauty boost…
Relax to the max
Massage can really help relieve the aches and pains associated with pregnancy. "Make sure you choose organic massage oils which are safe during pregnancy and contain no harsh chemicals," says Dr Glenville.
And remember that while you can spend a fortune on expensive creams and oils, exercise is the ultimate feel-good factor. "Try pregnancy yoga and swimming to keep you fit, healthy and supple. By gaining a healthy amount of weight will also help keep the skin strong so it can’t stretch too much too quickly!''
Hydration, Hydration, Hydration
Drink a good two litres of filtered water each day as this will hydrate the skin and hair. Dr Glenville advises, "it is best to avoid caffeine and carbonated drinks which can have diuretic properties which deplete us of vital vitamins and minerals. It's also best to avoid concentrated fruit juice which can increase blood sugar and insulin which can alter skin colour and appearance.''
Get the gloss
Use natural, organic shampoo if possible. "Most shampoo and hair treatments contains chemicals like benzoates and parabens and sodium lauryl sulphate which can all leave the hair lack-lustre as they strip the natural oils from our hair.''
Avoid nail varnish. "It can damage the nail bed and make them weaker in the long term," says Dr Glenville. "Always wear gloves when doing housework to protect them!''
Treat your Feet
On average mums-to-be gain 12.5kg throughout their pregnancy, just over a third of this weight comes from growing baby, and taking the brunt of this extra weight are their poor feet. Treat yourself to a pedicure and a foot massage in a spa/salon or try a bit of home-pampering. Rope in a friend or partner to for a bit of indulgence, or take a leaf from Denise Van Outen's book and try the Carnation Footcare's Pedi-Roller to help soothe those tired, swollen feet.
Back to the rescue
Extra weight during pregnancy also puts an added strain on back muscles. Take time to stretch out your back and have some much needed me-time in the process.
Brush it out
Daily moisturisation and regular body brushing helps keep the skin looking at its best, especially during the winter months, and can help boost circulation in the body.
''Make sure you are eating a wholesome diet consisting of fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts and seeds, oily fish and lean protein. Organic is always best to minimise chemical consumption for you and baby," suggests Dr Glenville.
"Try to eat a ‘rainbow’ diet which is full of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables (raw also to retain nutrients) including sweet potato, broccoli, mango, blueberries, tomatoes and peppers. The more vibrant the colour, the more antioxidants contained, which are natural components within these foods which have a protective effect on our skin and make it look healthy and glowing'."
Zinc is the word
''Zinc is essential for skin, hair and nails and can get used up rapidly when under stress. Eat plenty of brown rice, pumpkin seeds and oats''. You can increase your zinc intake with a supplement such as BioCare's NutriSorb Zinc Plus Ascorbate.
Give your diet a boost
''Taking good quality specific nutritional supplements during pregnancy are a great way to give you that extra support that sometimes diet alone cannot provide.
"A good pregnancy multi vitamin and mineral such as NHP Ante Natal Plus and a high quality fish oil like NHP Omega 3 Plus are recommended during pregnancy. Ante Natal Plus contains all of the nutrients from folic acid and beta-carotene through to the B vitamins and zinc to really look after the developing baby and your skin, hair and nails. The Omega 3 fish oil is important to balance hormone and provide moisture for healthy skin, hair and nails."