You may not be able to prevent acne during pregnancy, but you can take steps to minimize breakouts. Pregnancy can exacerbate acne or cause it to erupt for the first time, although some women may find that pregnancy actually clears it up. Due to hormonal shifts during pregnancy, you may develop acne while you’re carrying the baby or right after your child is born.
Acne occurs when sebaceous (oil-making) glands inside the pores ramp up their oil production. The oil mixes with dead skin cells and other debris to clog pores where bacteria can thrive. Certain hormones -- including the ones that fluctuate throughout pregnancy and during the postpartum period -- trigger these changes in oil production.
You can't do much about those hormones, but there are ways to help keep the acne under control. These include washing your face gently twice a day with a mild cleanser that removes the oil without making your skin too dry, and cleaning items like phones that come into contact with your skin. Be sure to tell your doctor before you use or take any medications for acne, though, even remedies you find over-the-counter. Many ingredients and prescription medicines for acne are not recommended during pregnancy.