You’re having a baby… and with the joy of those words, probably the second thing most women think of are stretch marks.
Stretch marks are a common part of pregnancy, most women have them. During pregnancy, your body grows so quickly that the elastin in your skin just cannot keep up, your belly, breasts, hips and butt can literally stretch beyond your skin’s elastic limits. When skin stretches rapidly, the collagen and elastic tissues which support the skin break, and that results in stretch marks. Usually stretchmarks will start popping up around the 6th or 7th month when baby starts growing rapidly.
Stretch marks are actually scars which form deep within the skin layer. Between 70 to 90 percent of women develop stretch marks during pregnancy. As you gain weight, your stomach gradually stretches further causing the appearance of stretch marks. Stretch marks usually range in color and might be red, pink, purple or silver in appearance. They mostly appear on the stomach, chest, hips, buttocks and thighs.
We’ve come a long way in accepting and even embracing our mamma stripes. They are now seen as a badge of courage, a sign of what total bosses we are… yet, I think if most women could choose, they’d rather not have any!
5 Ways to Prevent Stretch Marks During Pregnancy
Stretch marks are common during and after pregnancy due to the rapid changes the body experiences. They can even show up AFTER pregnancy as your body gets back to its normal size. Although stretch marks are not harmful to our health, they can be really annoying and can destroy a woman’s self-confidence. Stretch marks can’t necessarily be avoided but there are effective ways to reduce your probability during pregnancy.
1) Stay Hydrated
Drinking enough water helps the skin stay soft and hydrated. When the skin is hydrated it is better able to manage the massive changes going on. Water is the best fluid to drink during pregnancy. It is recommended that you drink at least 8 cups of water every day during pregnancy to help your skin stay hydrated and soft.
Staying hydrated not only helps keep your skin supple but also helps in other aspects of your pregnancy; like preventing urinary tract infections, relieving headaches and constipation and also helps keep your energy constant.
During pregnancy, you try to limit your intake of caffeinated beverages like coffee among other things, they increase your risk of developing stretch marks by dehydrating you. If you can’t do without coffee (I certainly couldn’t), make sure you balance out your fluid intake with a lot of water and other caffeine-free fluids.
2) Eat Plenty of Fruits and Vegetables
Collagen and elastic fiber in the skin are essential to keep quickly growing skin from breaking. The stronger the skin’s elasticity is, the less likely the skin tissues are to break , thus preventing stretch marks. Stretch marks can form when the body lacks proper nutrition. The skin needs a variety of nutrients, including vitamins A, C, E, zinc and silica to stay strong and healthy. It is highly recommended that you eat plenty of fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins and minerals which helps build strong collagen. Vitamin C is also a very important antioxidant that helps protect your skin tissues from damage.
3) Get Consistent Exercise
Exercising regularly helps you maintain a healthy weight. One of the most helpful things you can do for yourself to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy is to maintain a healthy weight. Weight gain during pregnancy is inevitable. Remember, stretch marks happen when your skin stretches too quickly due to rapid weight gain. Exercising regularly helps maintain a healthy weight during pregnancy.
Exercise also improves circulation, which keeps the skin healthy and capable of stretching as you grow. As a bonus, regular exercise helps avoid swollen veins and ankles.
4) Moisturize with Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is the perfect solution for moisturizing your skin while pregnant – completely natural, and no worries about hidden toxins like parabens that could affect your growing baby.
It absorbs easily and deeply into the skin and eliminates dead skin cells. It contains vitamins E and fatty acids which helps protects the skin from free radicals, too much sunshine, pollution and harmful toxins.
Coconut oil helps keep the skin hydrated and elastic. The more elastic your skin is, the more likely it is able to manage dramatic weight loss or weight gain and the less likely you will get stretch marks.
Massage your skin with coconut oil immediately after taking your bath until it is fully absorbed into your skin, make sure you concentrate on your belly, breasts, hips and butt. You can do this as often as three times a day, for 24-hour hydration without worrying about side effects because coconut oil is purely natural.
5) Exfoliate Using a Hydrating Scrub
I always recommend to my clients both pregnant and looking to get pregnant, that they develop the habit of using a hydrating body scrub several times a week. When you use a scrub (Clean Beauty Swiss’ Lavender Vanilla is perfect) you increase circulation to the skin’s surface. This increased circulation brings fresh oxygenated blood to your skin, increasing collagen and elastin production.
After your pregnancy, as you try to get your body back to normal, you will undergo even more changes to your skin. Try using Clean Beauty Swiss coffee scrubs – they are the perfect complement to post baby skin care. In the event that stretch marks have appeared, know that coffee based scrubs are known to erase them!
The caffeine in coffee increases circulation which in turn reduces the appearance of stretch marks. By increasing the circulation and increasing collagen and elastic production, your skin can heal the tears in the skin’s tissue and with time those annoying stretch marks will be invisible.