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How to Avoid Stretch Marks During Pregnancy

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Most expecting moms want to know how to avoid stretch marks during pregnancy, and that’s totally okay! Nothing wrong with researching how to care for your skin and changing body during pregnancy.

 

So, let’s talk about it.

 

Can you avoid or limit stretch marks during pregnancy? And if so, when should we start the skin care routine and what exactly should we be doing?

 

 

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HOW TO AVOID STRETCH MARKS DURING PREGNANCY

 

Firstly, we need to acknowledge that stretch marks can be a normal part of your body making room for that sweet babe in your belly. And that’s a wonderful thing.

 

If you have them, embrace those stretch marks with pride, honor their purpose, and just know that the scars will fade in time.

 

And if you don’t have them and want to try to limit them or learn how to properly care for your pregnant belly skin, you’ll find some helpful tips in this article.

 

WHAT CAUSES STRETCH MARKS

 

The American Association of Dermatology defines stretch marks as a ‘type of scar that develops when our skin stretches or shrinks quickly’.

 

Some of the most common causes of stretch marks are:

 

– Rapid weight gain or weight loss

– Weight and hormonal changes during puberty

– Weight gain during pregnancy

– Rapid muscle gain from weightlifting

 

While there is certainly a genetic component to skin elasticity, weight gain and the rapid stretching of your skin also plays a big role.

 

So, if you learn how to take care of your skin during pregnancy, you can also limit (or completely avoid) stretch marks during the process.

 

TIPS FOR AVOIDING STRETCH MARKS DURING PREGNANCY

 

Here are a few things you can do to show some extra love to that delicate pregnancy skin!

 

DRINK MORE WATER

 

According to MayoClinic.org, our ‘skin is made up of three layers:

 

– the outer layer (epidermis)

– the underlying skin (dermis)

– the subcutaneous tissue.

 

If the outermost layer of the epidermis doesn’t contain enough water, skin will lose elasticity.’

 

Of course, we all know that water is important for our overall health. But it’s also important for our skin, since our skin is the largest organ of our entire body. Although there is little research to prove that drinking water improves the APPEARANCE of your skin, water is still doing it’s important work inside the body!

 

Part of our skin care routine during pregnancy should involve lots of water.

 

How much water should you drink? The Institute of Medicine recommends that pregnant woman drink at least 10 cups of water per day. So, get to chuggin’ mama!

 

We love this water bottle for staying hydrated.

 

TAKE YOUR VITAMINS

 

A prenatal vitamin is important but be sure to ask your doctor if including any other vitamins in your daily routine would be appropriate.

 

The below chart is from Women’s Health, concerning the daily nutrients that pregnant women need.

 

 Folic acid400 to 800 micrograms (mcg) (0.4 to 0.8 mg) in the early stages of pregnancy, which is why all women who are capable of pregnancy should take 400 to 800 mcg of folic acid daily. Pregnant women should continue taking folic acid throughout pregnancy.
Iron27 milligrams (mg)
Calcium1,000 milligrams (mg); 1,300 mg if 18 or younger
Vitamin A770 micrograms (mcg); 750 mcg if 18 or younger
Vitamin B122.6 micrograms (mcg)

 

Plenty of sunshine and Vitamin D are also essential during your pregnancy.

 

EAT A BALANCED DIET

 

These tips aren’t just helpful for preventing stretch marks – they are essential for your overall health and skincare during pregnancy!

 

Eating a balanced diet is more important during pregnancy than ever before. What you put into your body will be the main source of nutrients for your unborn baby.

 

So, fill that belly with healthy, vitamin-rich foods and limit the junk.

 

Eating a balanced diet also contributes to our next point.

 

GAIN WEIGHT SLOWLY

 

Remember that stretch marks are the result of rapid stretching of the skin.

 

Our skin is going to stretch during pregnancy, there is no getting around that. But if we can gain weight at a slow and steady, doctor-approved pace, then we can control the rapidness of that skin stretching.

 

Many people seem to think that “eating for two” means eating food for two full grown humans. Your unborn baby is itty-bitty and does not need the same number of calories that a full-grown human needs.

 

Knowing this, we can control our calorie intake and gain pregnancy weight at a slow and steady pace.

 

Always check with your doctor or midwife so that they can provide suggestions or help you manage healthy weight gain.

 

EXERCISE

 

If your doctor gives you the ‘okay’, make sure you are continuing your weekly exercise routine.

 

This will also contribute to your overall health and balanced pregnancy weight gain.

 

Some of our favorite pregnancy exercises:

 

– Brisk walking

– Squats

– Swimming

– Pregnancy yoga

 

 

OIL IT UP

 

My last and favorite recommendation – make sure you are keeping that skin moisturized with some kind of lotion or oil.

 

While there is no hard evidence that lotion or oil actually prevents stretch marks, there are plenty of success stories out there of mamas that were able to avoid stretch marks using all of these tips in this article.

 

Massage a pregnancy-safe lotion or oil onto your skin (especially your boobs, belly, thighs) a few times every day.

 

During my pregnancies, I lathered up with either Palmer’s Tummy Butter or virgin coconut oil twice a day. Literally from my neck down to my toes – oilin’ it up every single day! Gave birth to two babies (one of them being a 10-pounder) and didn’t get a single stretch mark.

 

Of course, it wasn’t the oil alone that helped me care for my skin, but a combination of all of these things listed above. If nothing else, the lotion or oil will help you avoid itchy, dry skin. And that is benefit enough!

 

Some other belly lotions and oils worth trying:

 

Burt’s Bees Mama Bee Body Oil

Bamboobies Belly Balm

Earth Mama Belly Butter

 

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

 

Taking care of your body and skin during pregnancy is well worth the effort. And if it can help you to limit or avoid stretch marks, that’s a nice little bonus!

 

Remember to eat healthy, get exercise, drink lots of water, and lotion up that skin every day! And at the end of the day, focus on the miracle of growing that beautiful baby and the joy that will come with it!

 

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