Dark circles under a woman's eyes is due primarily to genetics, but may also be influenced by other factors such as stress, allergies, medications or age. In addition, women who have never had circles might notice the skin below their eyes darkening after they become pregnant.
Dark circles around the eyes may appear if the diet lacks in essential vitamins and minerals. Women who suffer from severe morning sickness early in their pregnancy may develop these circles because of a nutrient deficiency.
Pregnant women commonly experience insomnia throughout their pregnancy, including difficulty falling asleep, trouble staying asleep and waking in the early morning hours, according to a study on sleep disturbances published in the journal "Sleep Research." An inadequate amount of sleep can cause pale skin, allowing the blood underneath to appear blue.
Called the mask of pregnancy, chloasma is a skin condition that women might experience from an increase in hormones during pregnancy. The brownish marks that may appear around the eyes, as well as on the forehead and temples, are more common among women with dark hair and pale skin, according to the March of Dimes.
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Pregnant women should use sunscreen with a minimum SPF 15 on their face daily to protect the skin under the eyes from further darkening. They also should take a multivitamin each day to ensure they are receiving proper nutrients. A cold compress on the eyes for five minutes three times a day may help to constrict the blood vessels and minimize darkening.
Skin darkening can be a sign of a serious problem, according to the March of Dimes. Contact your health care provider if pain, tenderness, redness or bleeding accompanies dark circles under the eyes.
A mother of three and graduate of the University of Texas, Mary Evett is the online pregnancy expert who contributes to AXS.com and CBS Local. Her passion for DIY projects is showcased monthly on the craft blog, My Crafty Spot. She is the author of the blog, Just Mom Matters.