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10 Secrets to Avoiding Pregnancy Stretch Marks

Reviewed by James Brann, M.D.

Pregnancy Stretch Marks

Learn about tips to help with stretch marks in pregnancy.

One of the biggest fears of expectant mothers is not something people would ever dream would be an issue. However, unsightly stretch marks that mar a woman’s body permanently are definitely not something a mother-to-be looks forward to, and many feel they have no control over whether it happens or not.

What are stretch marks, exactly?

Pregnancy stretch marks usually appear on a woman’s belly, hips, and groin area as a natural mark from the skin stretching to adjust a growing tummy. While pregnant, these marks may first look like red streaks. Over time, they can appear darker than the natural skin color, or even silver.

Can anything be done to prevent these, or at least to diminish their appearance? Yes! But you must act quickly, and begin the beauty regiment as soon as you find out you are pregnant. You must stick to it and dedicate yourself to following through with it if you want to lessen the chances of getting stretch marks. Here are some things to do:

    1. Lather on the Butter: Hydrating your skin with moisturizer does wonders for your skin, especially for the areas where you have a greater chance of getting stretch marks. Slather on the cocoa butter, pure lanolin, bio oil, almond oil or shea butter at least three or four times a day, or as often as you think to do it! Cover your belly, butt, groin, legs and even your chest where breasts may also lose elasticity when they become enlarged. Read more about which lotions for pregnant bellies

    2. Eat skin-nourishing foods: Fresh fruits and veggies, avocadoes, fish and nuts also give you plenty of nutrients to help your skin stay supple. Choose hydrating fruits like watermelon, honeydew, and grapefruit, etc. Keep eating these things after you have the baby to make your skin bounce back to its original health quickly.

    3. Exercise: Definitely exercise, because this helps your skin, muscles, nerves and your entire body to remain flexible as your body changes.

    4. Gradual weight gain: Don’t start binge eating as soon as you find out you are pregnant. Gradually gaining weight is better than packing on a lot of pounds in a short amount of time. Your belly needs time to adjust to its new shape, and the baby does change your shape quick enough, especially during the last trimester when you gain the most weight.

    5. Go organic: Use organic products instead of over-the-counter commercial products. Many of these contain pesticides or sulfates, which can reduce elasticity or dry out your skin. Read the labels.

    6. Wash warm, not hot: When you soak in the tub (which is also great for your skin) or take showers, opt for lukewarm water instead of too hot or too cold. Pat your skin gently dry and lather on the butter!

    7. Exfoliate: When you exfoliate the dead skin cells, your new cells have a chance to rejuvenate quickly. Choose a special exfoliating sponge or brush made from natural fibers. Avoid doing this to your breasts due to heightened sensitivity.

    8. Remember sunscreen: When you do go outside – especially to the beach or anywhere your skin is exposed – use sunscreen. Choose at least an SPF 30 and do not stay out in the sun too long, as this can dry out your skin or make you more susceptible to sunburn.

    9. Stay within the “zone”: Ask your doctor how much weight is a normal increase and avoid going over that zone. Remember, expectant mothers only need an additional 300 calories a day during pregnancy.

    10. Drink more water: Staying hydrated keeps your body toxin-free and restores skin cells, which makes it healthier and able to adjust to the growing belly.

Although it is inevitable that your body will change after having a baby, there are measures you can take to proactively defer the damage done to your skin and body.

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