Stretch marks… we all dread them….and many of us believe there is nothing we can do to help prevent them. We believe they are genetic. You either get them or you don’t. You either have elastic skin or not. Although I do think genetics play a big role, I know there are things that can be done to help prevent stretch marks during pregnancy. Some people’s skin may naturally be more stretchy than yours but if you are genetically predisposed to stretch marks (like me!) I have good news for you!!
There are several ways to help your skin gain more elasticity and thus have better stretch during pregnancy. This results in less or no stretch marks! Although my family history suggests that I should have gotten many stretch marks, I went through two pregnancies (one where I went almost a week over with an 8lb 11oz baby) and came through both with only one teeny tiny, not even noticeable stretch mark above my belly button.
|40 weeks and an exited big sister!|
There’s hope for you too! Here are some tips to help your skin gain elasticity and help prevent stretch marks:
Drink lots and lots of water – keep your body and skin hydrated! Water helps detoxify your body and keeps your skin cells plump, which makes your skin healthier and more likely to bounce back from the stress caused by stretching. It is recommended that you get 8-12 glasses of water each day.
2. Vitamins and Minerals
It’s important to take a good prenatal vitamin while pregnant but it’s imperative to eat a healthy diet to get vitamins and minerals from food sources as well. Make sure you also eat lots of healthy fats to help your skin have the most stretch possible. Avocado, nuts, fish, etc. are good sources of healthy fats.
Here are some important vitamins and minerals to be consuming:
- Foods containing zinc, which is used in the production of collagen. Eat lean poultry, yogurt, and cheese.
- Foods containing vitamin C, which forms collagen and cartilage. Eat red and green bell peppers, kale, broccoli, citrus fruits, and tomatoes.
- Foods containing vitamin E, which protects skin cell membranes. Eat nuts, seeds, avocados broccoli, and collard greens.
- Foods containing vitamin A, which repairs skin tissues. Eat carrots, sweet potatoes, mango, squash, and red bell peppers.
- Foods containing omega 3s, which keep cell membranes healthy and make your skin glow. Eat fish, fish oil, walnuts, eggs and oysters.
3. Gain weight gradually
Try to gain your weight slow and steady. This will help prevent your skin from stretching too quickly. Stretch marks often happen when you gain a lot of weight, fast. If you follow your doctor’s guidelines for gaining weight gradually, rather than putting on your pregnancy weight all at once, you greatly reduce the chance that you’ll end up with stretch marks.
4. Keep your skin oiled
There are many natural products you can use (such as coconut oil) but when I was pregnant I lathered myself daily with Bio-Oil and LOVED it!! I began applying it around 12 weeks with both pregnancies. Sometimes twice a day but usually only once, just before bed time. It’s oily and I didn’t want to ruin my clothes so I would put it on just before I got into my pajamas. I would lather a heavy coat of that stuff on each night and it made my skin so soft and smooth. I truly believe this was the product that helped me the most! It can be found at most grocery or drug stores. Whether you decide to go with Bio-Oil or a natural oil like coconut oil, I believe oiling your belly and lower back may be the most important step of all in preventing stretch marks! Also, Bio-Oil can help reduce the appearance of existing stretch marks too so don’t be afraid to use it if you already have some!
I want to end by saying that, while most of us would rather go through a pregnancy with no or few stretch marks, many women do get them. You may feel bad about stretch marks you have but try to remember what beauty those scars represent. You carried a life inside of you, what an amazing miracle! A few battle scars are worth the wonderful prize at the end. You are beautiful no matter what!