Here’s the truth about stretch marks: they are not the end of the world. Yes, you read correctly. You came here thinking you were going to read how grotesque your body will be with a belly that looks like Google maps, but no. Stretch marks, while some may find undesirable, are often referred to as badges of honor, battle scars, and tiger stripes for very valid reasons.
Motherhood requires you to be a warrior, to grow and give birth to a child, then on a woeful lack of sleep, be a strong and compassionate mama for that same bouncy bebé.
We have no doubt you will be victorious because you know the absolute best version of yourself happens when your warrior goddess takes care of herself from the outside in and the inside out. Stretch mark prevention just happens to be a lovely fringe benefit of self-care.
What do we mean by “from the outside in and the inside out”? We mean that you deserve to feel good about yourself. (Not the “I just had a glass of wine” kind of feel good, but the “I am woman, hear me roar” kind.) This empowered confidence comes from serious SELF CARE. Self-care that will make you and your skin healthier and stronger, which can also prevent stretch marks.
Here are the 5 Unknown Tips for Natural Stretch Mark Prevention
Step 1: Balance your Body
Pregnancy skin care starts with providing your growing body with everything it needs to be its best. Of course, your baby’s health takes priority, and you’ve curbed bad habits like smoking and junk food. However, giving up the bad is just half the battle. You must actively seek healthy alternatives to make your baby grow and your body glow.
Balancing with healthy choices is easier than you think!
- The first step is to balance your food choices. Keep your diet high in collagen and elastin-forming nutrients like B2 (riboflavin), C, D, and zinc. Increasing these vitamins ensures your skin has enough reserves to weather the stretch mark storm. A few foods high in these nutrients are:
- carrots, sweet potatoes
- eggs, almonds
- broccoli, kale, spinach
- cantaloupe, oranges, berries
You can easily search for a more comprehensive list, but the simple fact is that if you eat a diet rich in fresh, colorful foods, you will feel and look healthier!
- The other end of this balance beam is to allow yourself to gain weight but at a steady pace. Stretch marks happen most often:
- in the 2nd trimester when morning sickness has passed and the temptation to give in to those crazy cravings begins
- in the last weeks before your due date when weight can come on very quickly.
Much like putting on a new turtleneck sweater, the key here is: gentle. If you jerk the turtleneck on over your head, you will rip the seams. The same is true for your belly. If you gain a lot of weight fast, you may “rip the seams”.
Remember that you only need an additional 300 daily calories during pregnancy. Eat, but focus on healthy, nutrient-rich foods. Gain, but keep that wonderful baby weight coming a little at a time to prevent your skin from being stressed to the point of tearing and leaving you with stretch marks.
Step Two: Bend and Breathe
Stretch mark removal is much more difficult than stretch mark prevention! And good circulation is one of the best ways to keep your skin’s elasticity at its peak. Simply put, you need to MOVE. Go for a walk every day. Take the stairs. Be more active. Sign up for a maternity yoga class. Thirty minutes of daily exercise:
- builds muscle
- boosts your endurance
- increases your metabolism
- improves your circulation – vital for healthy skin and stretch mark prevention!
Step Three: Brews and Bubbles
If the three rules of real estate are: location, location, location, then the three rules of pregnancy are: hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Water is best, but an herbal tea brew or bubbly sparkling juices are great on occasion too! Remember that coffee, black tea, and sodas are loaded with caffeine which is counterproductive.
For pregnant women, a minimum of 80 ounces of non-caffeinated fluids is recommended. That’s 10 full glasses of non-caffeinated liquids every 24 hours! A fully-hydrated body keeps your muscles and joints lubricated and your skin supple and moist, making it MUCH less susceptible to itching, acne, and stretch marks.
Step Four: Bask that Baby Bump
You got it – get some sun on your body. Studies have found a connection between stretch marks and a lack of vitamin D, and the most effective way for your body to utilize vitamin D is through the skin via the sun!
Now, we all know the damaging effects of UV rays, so we’re not recommending anything extreme here, but 20 minutes of sunshine on that belly (as well as arms and legs) can make a big difference in a healthy glow and stretch mark prevention!
Step Five: Brush and Butter
Directly taking care of yourself from the outside in may be the most crucial step when it comes to skin care. This entails dry brushing and generously using a good tummy butter (or a moisturizer of your choice.)
- Brushing, or dry brushing, can be done over your entire body, but during pregnancy, give special emphasis to the belly and thighs. If you don’t already have one, purchase a soft-bristle skin brush and brush 10 times in a circular motion over each area. Proponents of dry brushing claim that it:
- detoxifies your body by stimulating the lymphatic system
- exfoliates dry and dead cells to leave smoother, softer skin
- reduces the appearance of cellulite
- boosts your energy by improving circulation
All of which lead to – yep – better stretch mark prevention.
- Tummy Butter is the icing on the cake!
After everything else is said and done, the right belly butters, lotions, moisturizers are the bomb!
Not only do they help with prevention, but for those of you who are already affected, these can go a long way toward stretch mark removal. Always look for a product that:
- is cocoa butter based
- contains essential fatty acids
- is rich in vitamins A & E
Moisturizing with a thick, rich product will leave your skin radiant and fabulous, and just might make you feel like you can conquer the world. Or at least motherhood.