How To Prevent Stretch Marks During Pregnancy

how to prevent pregnancy stretchmarks

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7 Effective Tips To Prevent Stretch Marks During Pregnancy

Stretch marks are a super common occurrence in pregnancy and they become especially noticeable in the third trimester. What can you do to prevent or treat stretch marks during pregnancy? This post outlines some effective tips.

Did you know, 90% of all pregnant ladies get stretch marks? Are you worried about how to prevent stretch marks during your pregnancy?

Whether or not you get stretch marks during pregnancy has to do with your genetics, but it is also about skin elasticity. 

While we may not be able to do anything about genetics there are a few things you can do about your skin elasticity to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy or treat them once they start appearing.  

What are stretch marks and what causes them in pregnancy?

Stretch marks are long, thin lines that appear on the skin as a result of the skin suddenly stretching or shrinking. For instance, during pregnancy, as your baby grows, your skin will stretch in your midsection and possibly leave you with stretch marks. 

Other areas stretch marks are likely to appear include; thighs and hips, breasts, arms, and buttocks.

Most people will start noticing stretch marks in the third trimester of pregnancy although some may notice them earlier.   

Stretch marks are neither painful nor harmful, but they can make some people feel a little bit more self-conscious. It is also possible that given time, they may fade away on their own.

Some people like to refer to their pregnancy stretch marks as badges of honor which they wear proudly.  For others, stretch marks are an inconvenience and may even take a toll on their mental health.

Whichever side of the divide you belong to, your feelings are valid mama.  

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Products that can help you prevent or treat stretchmarks

 Don’t have time and just want to go straight to a quick list of products that can help you in preventing and treating stretch marks? Got you!

Here is a list of the top 5 products that come highly recommended by mamas. I personally used the Palmer’s Cocoa butter stretch mark and pregnancy skin care kit for my second pregnancy and I got minimal stretch marks. 

Apart from using products, you can work on your skin from the inside out to prevent stretch marks on top of the other benefits of the recommendations we have outlined  below. 

Read on.

Related: Must Have Pregnancy Items

7 Effective Ways To Prevent Stretch Marks During Pregnancy

1. A Balanced diet

A nutritious and balanced diet is essential for the growth of your baby. What you eat has a direct effect on how your skin will look.

orange and nuts - balanced diet to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy

The right vitamins and nutrients in your diet will go a long way in boosting your skin’s health and this can help you prevent stretch marks during pregnancy.

For example, vitamin C is responsible for strong and elastic skin, which prevents your skin from breaking. Oranges, lemons, and spinach are some most common sources of vitamin C. 

Vitamin B2 is found for example in meat and dairy products, and vitamin B3 is found in chicken breasts and liver. These are responsible for maintaining healthy skin.

Foods rich in zinc such as fish, lamb and pumpkin seeds, and walnuts play a key role in reducing inflammation and skin damage.

You can also talk to your OB-GYN about the best prenatal vitamins that you can take. You can check out my favorite prenatal vitamins here

2. Drink enough Water

Drinking an adequate amount of water cannot be over-emphasized. Experts recommend drinking eight to 12 glasses of water per day.

For some, this is easy, but for those of us who struggle with taking two liters of water per day; keeping a bottle of water with you at all times might help. This motivational bottle is an excellent choice to keep you sipping through the day.

Staying hydrated translates to you having softer skin. Softer skin is less likely to break, is less tight, and is less itchy. Flawless skin is not the only benefit you get from taking water.

Other benefits of drinking water include;

Remember not to substitute water with other beverages. For instance, caffeine which is a mild diuretic can increase the risk of developing stretch marks. But if that craving kicks in and you cannot help it – it is advisable to drink more water.

3. Rays of sunshine

Vitamin D from the sun’s rays helps reduce stretch marks by rejuvenating the skin.

woman soaking in sun's rays - ways to prevent stretch marks in pregnancy

If yours is an autumn or winter pregnancy, worry not, you can take the following foods that are rich in vitamin D;

  • Milk                                             
  • Yoghurt
  • Cereals

While soaking in the sunshine, caution should be taken so that you do not expose your skin to too much sunlight. Darkened stretch marks and premature skin aging can be due to direct sunlight.

If you are worried about the UV rays damaging your skin, you can enjoy the outdoors by wearing sunscreen.

4. Regular exercise 

While pregnant, a lot of the time you may feel like you do not have the energy to get out of bed and leave alone to do some exercise. However, exercises help with circulation and improve skin elasticity. 

group of women lying on exercise mats with their legs on balls. -

Collagen which is produced when you exercise is responsible for strong and elastic skin.

When stretching occurs slowly and progressively, the skin will not break-meaning no stretch marks.

Apart from preventing stretch marks, exercises will greatly improve your energy levels, the risk of developing varicose veins is reduced, and it just might be the answer to those swollen ankles!

Some of the exercises you can engage in during your pregnancy include; swimming, yoga, and walking.

Before engaging in any kind of exercise, consult with your health care practitioner.

5. Weight control

Stretch marks are a result of your skin being pulled too quickly; weight gain will cause this. 

With the help of a medical practitioner, you can monitor and control the amount of weight you gain during your pregnancy journey.

It is possible to give your body and the baby, the right nutrients while keeping your pregnancy weight in check. 

6. Gently massaging the belly

Oil massages help to increase circulation, and break down scar tissues.  Almond oil, vitamin E, coconut oil, and olive oil are some of the oils you can use to moisturize your skin.

happy pregnant woman

These oils will keep your skin hydrated and supple. They work by providing a layering effect on the skin leaving it hydrated and protected.

To fully benefit from this, moisturize two to three times per day for up to 30 seconds. It is advisable to do this from the time you find out you are expectant.

Pay special attention to areas you are more prone to developing stretch marks            

7. Stretchmark creams and lotions

Unfortunately, you might do all the above, and still, notice the appearance of stretch marks.  Mama all is not lost. If this happens early interventions might heal them, and minimize their appearance.

When looking for stretch mark creams and lotions, look out for any of the following key ingredients; cocoa butter, Shea butter, vitamin E, vitamin A, aloe, and sunflower.

Creams and products containing the following products should be avoided since research has shown they are harmful to your unborn child or your nursing infant:  retinol, parabens, formaldehyde, and phthalates.

Bearing in mind the Ingredients used, the scent, cost, and skin type, here are some of the most highly recommended creams and lotions by mums;

1. Bio-Oil

This is the mother of all creams. Apart from preventing and clearing the appearance of stretch marks, it also reduced scarring, blemishes, and acne.

2. Palmers Cocoa Butter Massage oil

What stands out with this cream is that it is cost-effective since it can be used to moisturize the whole body. It is absorbed well; hence your skin is well hydrated.

3. Mustela Maternity Stretch Marks Cream for Pregnancy

Plant-based ingredients make up 96% of this velvety cream. Using this cream will improve your skin elasticity hence preventing stretch marks. 

4. Burt’s Bees Mama Belly Butter Stretchmarks Cream

99% of its ingredients are natural. This butter is best suited for sensitive skin. It is absorbed quickly, and nourishes stretched skin.

5. Earth Mama Belly Butter

The main ingredients used are aloe and Shea butter. This cream relieves itchy skin and does not stain clothes. The thing I love about this Earth Mama butter is that it uses organic herbs and oils to naturally increase the elasticity of your skin and hence prevent stretchmarks during pregnancy.

6. Glow Organics 100 % Organic Belly butter

If you have a sensitive nose, this is for you. The natural ingredients used, create a subtle scent. It also soothes itchy skin. It is a great butter for increasing skin elasticity to prevent stretchmarks during pregnancy while leaving your skin firm.

Bottom line

The right diet, staying hydrated; keeping your skin supple, exercise and cream and lotions will go a long way to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy.

If you have existing stretch marks, hold your head up since these are a testimony of what your body had to endure to bring forth life.

The creams and lotions can help you fade existing stretch marks.

If it feels like these options are not working fast enough, give yourself time since stretch marks will eventually fade in six to twelve months.

Hang in there, you are beautiful.

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