Pregnancy is such a special time for each woman! Time filled with emotional, psychological and physical changes. So many new questions and concerns arise, but today I want to talk about stretch marks and how to prevent the appearance of these.
Why stretch marks are happening?
1. Genetical predisposition - if your mom, sister, grandma had these you are more likely to get stretch marks too, especially if you have already developed some in your adolescence or as a result of putting/loosing weight.
2. Women with darker skin tones are more prone to develop stretch marks, but it could be also just the fact that stretch marks are more visible on darker skin.
3. Rapid weight gain and stretching takes a toll on your skin which leads to the appearance of stretch marks.
Steps to prevent stretch marks:
- drink lots of water - hydration is essential for our skin
- get moving: go for a daily walk (at least 30 mins), do pregnancy yoga, pilates and swimming - this is the time you more than ever need exercising, rather than sitting in front of the TV (considering it is a normal pregnancy without complications). Exercising will deliver good blood flow not just to your baby but to every cell of your body and skin, which in effect is great for preventing stretch marks.
- vitamin C (internally) - this vitamin helps skin to heal. Include a lot of dark green vegetables and citrus fruits in your diet, take a complex of vitamins suitable for pregnant women.
- healthy eating - it is easy to fall into the trap that we need to eat for two. Truth is you don't not really need that many additional calories and your metabolism will slow down (so nutrients can be better absorbed). Eat balanced diet with good nutritional value (piece of cake is neither healthy nor of the great nutritional value). Sticking to a healthy diet during pregnancy will help to put weight gradually and it is the best way to avoid stretch marks.
- moisturise properly - skin that stretches is usually really itchy, your belly bump will need heavy duty moisturiser to nourish the skin and prevent itching. You want to be very careful what you put on your skin at this precious time. You need to make sure products you use are safe for pregnant women, are natural and organic, and contain high quality ingredients!
I have made a list of natural oils and butters that have the best moisturising capabilities and are considered safe to use during pregnancy. You can use these as a single use product, mixed together or made into a DIY balm:
1. Organic Rosehip Oil - stimulates the production of keratin, essential for skin.
2. Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil - packed with vitamin E and D.
3. Unrefined Shea Butter - fantastic heavy duty moisturiser with a high concentration of fatty acids and vitamins A, E and F. However it is a bit hard to apply due to its consistency. Mix it with any other liquid oil from this list for easier application.
4. Organic Sea Buckthorn Oil - one of my favourite oils packed with antioxidants and essential fatty acids, however it has a very bright deep orange colour, which means you cannot use it undiluted. Mix a few drops of sea buckthorn oil with any other oil or butter from this list.
5. Organic Lavender Infused Oil - there are mixed opinions about using essential oils during pregnancy, I personally decided to avoid these during the whole pregnancy and used infused (macerated) oils instead. Herbowski Lavender Oil has been extracted in Organic Virgin Olive Oil, it doesn't need to be diluted, has a fantastic scent and well known healing properties.
6. Organic Calendula Infused Oil - another fantastic herbal oil, which is a safe option for pregnant women.
7. Unrefined Cocoa Butter - Cocoa butter helps to increase blood circulation to the skin, which then lightens stretch marks. It's a hard butter, so has to be melted over bain-marie and mixed with any other oil from this list or made into a DIY balm for application.
8. Vitamin E - you can add additionally 5% of non-GMO vitamin E to any of the oils or butters on the list, it is an antioxidant and great for skin.
9. Organic Unrefined Coconut Oil - is a rich source of fatty acids (including lauric acid) and vitamin E.
There is no magic pill or cream (yet!) on the market that will give you a 100% stretch mark free results, however following steps described above should minimise the appearance and amount of stretch marks and in many cases avoid these all together.
Would love to hear your methods and natural treatments to prevent stretch marks, please comment below!