For many women, stretch marks are part and parcel of pregnancy. The numbers vary, but anywhere between 50 and 90% of pregnant mamas will end up with these pink, purple and reddish tiger stripes across their abdomens. Chalk it up to genetics, weight gain and a few other factors, but take heart: there are a few ways you can stack the odds against stretch marks during pregnancy.
First, a little technical information. Stretch marks, or striae gravidarum, are the direct result of skin that experiences excessive stretching. Good luck avoiding that during pregnancy! As your belly grows to accommodate your baby, your skin has to stretch as well. And while it has some elasticity, rapid weight gain can simply be too much, too fast. When that happens, the dermis, or the middle of the skin’s three layers, pulls apart, breaking up collagen bundles. The result? A striating scar in lovely shades of pink, red and purple. Over time, these vibrant marks will fade to silvery or white, but as the term “scar” implies, they are permanent. Odds are high that if your mother has stretch marks, you’re likely to get them as well.
The very best defense against pregnancy-related stretch marks is to keep your skin hydrated to ensure it’s at its maximum elasticity. Here’s how you do it:
• Stay Hydrated
Keep your skin supple by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Adding a pinch of Celtic sea salt to your water is an easy way of getting essential trace elements that aid in hydration plus a host of other benefits. It may mean more time in the bathroom, especially as your baby grows, but it’s worth it!
• Eat with Purpose
This can be difficult if you’re plagued with morning sickness, but foods rich in Vitamin E and C (almonds and sunflower seeds, spinach, avocado and citrus are all good sources) all help your skin form collagen, which is necessary for skin elasticity. Vitamin C in particular is an antioxidant that can help protect your skin from damage. But a nourishing diet will do more than merely benefit your skin– keep your growing baby in mind when you’re choosing what to eat.
The benefits of exercise during pregnancy can’t be overstated. From higher energy levels to better sleep patterns, prenatal exercise can positively affect your pregnancy and your recovery afterward. When it comes to preventing stretch marks, exercise improves circulation, which keeps your skin elastic and with a greater capacity to stretch as it grows. Plus, you’ll reduce your chances of swollen ankles and varicose or spider veins.
• Topical Treatments
Beyond diet, hydration and exercise, there is a lot of evidence supporting the use of topical treatments applied to your belly. A high quality oil like our very own Intensive Stretch Mark Oil is designed to activate skin renewal thanks to botanical extracts and oils that are touted for their healing properties. From rosehip seed oil for improved elasticity to borage seed oil for moisture and smoothness, these ingredients were chosen specifically to minimize the appearance of existing stretch marks and help prevent new marks from forming. The earlier you begin rubbing it in, the better, so establish a nightly ritual. The mere act of rubbing your belly is a lovely way to bond with your growing baby for you and your partner, and you’ll be encouraging better circulation as well.
Following these steps will not only give your skin a fighting chance against stretch marks. It’s also a great way to stay proactive for a healthy pregnancy and easier recovery.
Tags: Rosehip seed oil, stretch mark oil, stretch marks