How do you prevent stretch marks during pregnancy?
Stay hydrated! The more water you drink the softer and more elastic your skin will be.
Moisturising with natural oils such as coconut, almond and rosehip are recommended for during and after your pregnancy.
Vitamin A can be found in many foods and has the nutrients needed to keep your skin healthy.
Manage your pregnancy weight gain by finding healthy alternatives for your cravings and staying active.
As a pregnant woman, it’s one of the things that plays on my mind the most (minus the labour of course) …. those totally natural but totally annoying stretch marks! Most of us have some already from rapid growth in our teens and/or fluctuation in weight, but there is something particularly daunting about pregnancy stretch marks – it’s yet another change to our bodies that we must accept. Like everyone I know who has ever been pregnant, I have constantly Googled “how to stop pregnancy stretch marks”, I’ve asked knowledgeable friends and family for tips, and I’ve bombarded my midwife with questions. And so, here are my findings:
The number one MUST-DO during pregnancy is to stay hydrated! The more water you drink, the more likely your skin is to stay soft, and soft skin (compared to dry skin), is proven to be less likely to develop stretch marks.
If you’re wondering how much water you should drink during pregnancy, then the recommend amount is approx. 6-8 glasses (1.2 litres) a day – this will of course vary for each individual and if you’re in a warm climate or having an active day then you should up this amount. It’s also best to limit the number of caffeinated drinks you have in a day as caffeine may increase risk of getting stretch marks.
Creams, Gels & Oils
Well-known brands such as Palmers Cocoa Butter and Bio Oil have been around for a while but the latest product to hit the market comes from Secret Saviours who are “a small team of mums and medical specialists who are passionate about helping women prevent stretch marks”. They recommend a stretch mark prevention pack which includes a Day Gel, a Night Cream and an Anti-Stretch Mark Band. The three products combined have been “clinically proven to reduce the chance of stretch marks appearing by more than 70%.”
Their products were recommended to me by a friend who used their prevention pack and only gained a couple of stretch marks throughout her pregnancy. I’ve been using Secret Saviours products since my 12-week dating-scan and I am now into my third trimester – so far, I have been lucky enough not to have gained any new stretch marks. What I can say for sure is that both the gel and the cream smell divine so it’s been a real treat integrating them into part of my daily routine. I have also found that the Anti Stretch Mark Band has provided me with great support to my lower back.
* If you’re interested in trying out Secret Saviours they are currently offering 20% off their stretch mark prevention packs until the 5th September 2017 *
As well as creams and gels, natural oils such as coconut, almond and rosehip are all safe to use during your pregnancy and are thought to have unique properties that help to soothe, heal and moisturise your skin. They are also great for use post-baby to help existing stretch marks fade.
As with most things body-related, what you eat can affect the way that you look and feel during your pregnancy. Having a healthy diet full of nutrient-rich foods is the best way to boost your skin’s health and keep your energy levels up. Vitamin A is particularly good for your skin and unprocessed foods that are packed with this nutrient are eggs, apricots, mangos, tuna, leafy green veg (spinach, kale and broccoli), and orange veg (carrots and sweet potatoes). I like to keep a stash of dried apricots and almonds (rich in Vitamin E) in my work draw as my go-to snacks!
Managing Pregnancy Weight Gain
As detailed by the NHS, stretch marks often occur because of rapid weight gain and so naturally pregnancy is a likely time for more to develop. Therefore, another way of preventing stretch marks, is to try and manage the amount of weight that you gain and more importantly the speed at which you gain it! This of course can be difficult, especially with all those brand-new food cravings! Initially I had daily cravings for chips (they had to be chips from a chip shop too!), so I know how difficult this can be. If you are craving more naughty food than usual, then try and pick healthier alternatives as your body might just be needing a specific nutrient. For example, if you crave chocolate your body is probably after a magnesium hit so try having some nuts or seeds instead.
Staying active during your pregnancy is also another way to manage weight gain. My job pretty much involves sitting down all day so when I get home I like to stay active by walking the dog or doing some housework. Again, I know being active can be hard at times – a couple of weeks ago I had a bout of what the midwife said was probably Braxton Hicks and I was told I had to take it easy (it got me out of the hoovering for a week!) So, from now I am trying to stick to just a bit of light walking every day.
And there you have it! These are the best tips that I have discovered for preventing stretch marks during pregnancy. Of course, even with trying all the above options, it may be the case that you and I end up with stretch marks anyway, and I’m totally cool with that – well, I’m trying to be! As my sister (a mother of 2) said to me the other day, “my stretch marks are kind of cute, they remind me of what I’ve accomplished…. anyway, they fade over time and it’s worth it.”