Pregnancy is hard for so many different reasons that I’m not going to get into right now and, unfortunately, your body doesn’t just automatically go back to normal right after. There are even a lot of things that change the way your body looks that can be permanent. The best thing to do is embrace what can’t be changed and try & address what can.
Today I am going to talk about stretch marks. Not all stretch marks can be avoided. Sometimes it is hereditary, but there are definitely things you can do to help prevent the unnecessary ones. When I was pregnant with David I actually didn’t get any stretch marks. Currently, I am pregnant with my second (28 weeks) and still have no stretch marks. I am hoping to keep that up during this last trimester.
Before you tell me that I just have good genes, let me tell you about my sister who just had her baby and gained about the same amount of weight as I did with David. She got quite a bit of stretch marks on her stomach.
Now, I guess there’s always the possibility that she got the stretch mark genes and I didn’t, but I’m not going to take any chances. Instead I will continue to do what I did to prevent them with my first pregnancy because it worked.
First we need to look at the cause of stretch marks.
Stretch marks are caused when you rapidly gain or lose weight. Factors that determine whether you get stretch marks can be genetics, the amount of stress on your skin, and your skin’s elasticity.
In order to prevent stretch marks we need to address the issues that we can: stress on your skin & skin elasticity (we can’t do anything about genetics).
Here are some tips to address those issues and help prevent stretch marks!
How to improve Skin Elasticity:
- your skin needs to be hydrated for optimal skin elasticity. Aim to drink half your body weigh in ounces of water per day, more if you’re exercising.
- In addition to drinking more water, try eating vegetables & fruits with high water content like watermelon, canteloupe, oranges, salads, cucumber, etc.
- Lotion with Shea or Cocoa butter also do a great job of keeping your skin hydrated. Try to put some on every day, especially after showering.
- If your skin ever gets itchy, resist the urge to itch! Slather on some lotion instead!
- Remember stretch marks are also caused by rapid weight loss! So continue with the lotion after baby as well.
- Improve Circulation
- Do low impact exercises to help improve circulation. I love the elliptical.
- Strength training will also help you tighten your skin!
- Slow & Steady Weight Gain/ Loss
- When gaining weight during pregnancy, try to keep it gradual. This will give your skin a chance to grow so that it doesn’t need to stretch to keep up.
- When losing weight after pregnancy also keep it gradual. Not only is it healthier for your body, but it will give you skin time to tighten.
How to reduce Stress on Skin:
- Avoid overeating-it can lead to rapid weight gain, putting stress on your skin, causing the need to stretch to accommodate the added weight.
- While you’re “eating for two,” it’s really not necessary to double your food intake. During the 3rd trimester, it’s recommended to only increase your calorie intake by 500 calories/day.
- Continue to work out (unless otherwise told by doctor)
- This not only helps improve circulation like mentioned earlier, but it also helps to slow weight gain. Remember slow & steady wins the race!
- Eat foods rich in Omega 3’s & Omega 6’s
- Omega 3 & 6 promote healthy skin. Try adding fish, eggs, & nuts to your diet.
- Canola oil is actually very high in Omega 6. If I need to fry something I choose Canola oil every time. I personally prefer it to Olive Oil.
There you have it! These are the tips I followed during my first pregnancy and am following during my current pregnancy to help prevent unwanted stretch marks!
Check out my mommy tips page for some more pregnancy related posts!