While pregnancy and the miracle of childbirth are an undoubtedly a blessing, there certain realities that your changing body may encounter which may not feel as joyous. One such example – stretch marks. Any time your body goes through dramatic and rapid changes in weight and shape, there can be a risk of the collagen that makes up your skin becoming overstretched. As a result, faint scars or stretch marks, can develop. There is also a role played by genetics, so if you’re one of the lucky girls like me who has seen them on your mother, you may be at a higher risk yourself. Fortunately, I’m currently at 37 weeks and haven’t noticed any as of yet. I attribute that at least in part to my daily routine, and also to good luck. While stretch marks may never be entirely avoidable, there are several strategies such as the ones below that you can utilize to try to increase your chances at success. I hope you enjoy my tips, and I promise to keep you all updated on how they are working for me after baby Saylor arrives!
While exfoliating may be part of your regular skin-care routine, you may not have thought to include your new baby bump as well! This can help with removal of dead skin cells from the surface so the softer, smoother cells from below can take their place. My routine is to exfoliate 2-3 times per week, and I make sure to include both my face and my body. It’s an essential part of how I plan to keep my pregnancy glow long after my bump is gone.
Raw Cocoa Butter!
I got this tip from one of my girlfriends who is a mother of two and swore by this as the way to she avoided developing any stretch marks. I purchase my raw cocoa butter from Amazon, and it usually arrives in a large block, which I chop into smaller squares that I rub onto my skin directly. Your body temperature will melt it onto your body and give it a nice sheen. Your skin will may feel oily afterwards so if you are choosing to do this during the day you may want choose darker clothes. Personally, I do this is every night before bed. In addition to my belly, I also make sure to include my sides, breasts, and thighs, as they are also vulnerable to stretch marks. Sticking to this routine has been crucial to my avoidance of stretch marks so far, and the chocolatey smell is also an added bonus!
Collagen is the key protein that makes up your skin, and I take a collagen supplement daily. They come in several different forms (pills, powders, etc), and I found a delicious option on Amazon. It’s a coffee creamer collagen that I use to flavor up my daily cup. As always, before starting any new supplements, it is important to consult with your physician first – especially during pregnancy.
DO NOT SCRATCH YOUR SKIN!
As your skin expands during pregnancy there are times when it can feel extremely itchy. Whatever you do… DO NOT SCRATCH! Instead, try rubbing the raw cocoa butter or a stretch cream lotion on the area until the itching subsides. Incessant scratching can irritate the skin and may even cause scarring and or worsen the severity of stretch marks.
This is a huge one! Stretch marks may be more likely to form with more rapid changes in weight/size as compared with more gradual increases. If you adhere to a healthy and consistent diet, you may be able to increase your weight in a more slow and steady fashion. This can negate the effects that rapid weight gain may cause on your skin. Believe it or not, this same strategy can apply to your post-baby weight loss. When baby has arrived, take your time getting back your pre-baby body. You will certainly need plenty of energy to take care of your new little one and starving yourself is never a good option for you, your skin, or your baby!
Be kind to yourself!
Pregnancy is beautiful, no matter what cosmetic effects it can have on our bodies. Just remember that you are a super hero who created a beautiful, tiny new person. Stretch marks or not, always remember to be proud and confident. We should all strive to be supportive and loving towards other women, as well as ourselves, and never be judgmental.