19 Feb How Can I Avoid Getting Stretch Marks?
Mums, you are not alone, stretch marks are very common in pregnancy with as many as nine out of 10 pregnant women experiencing the same thing… and yes, we can once again blame the pregnancy hormones. Your body is constantly changing to accommodate your growing baby and with a surge of hormones the middle layer of your skin no longer binds well with the other layers of skin, resulting in slight ridges that characterise stretch marks.
How do I limit these effects?
- Try to gain weight slowly and steadily during pregnancy by eating a healthy diet that includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, seeds, and nuts. These foods all contain nutrients that help keep your skin healthy. Omega-3 fatty acids help the skin stay supple. Many cold-water fish contain omega-3, including salmon, herring, mackerel and sardines (fish is fantastic, but pregnant women should also avoid fish that is high in mercury). If you cant stomach fish there are many great vegetarian sources of omega-3 which include chia seeds, flaxseed, walnuts and soybeans.
- Keep your body hydrated, water is your friend! Make it a daily routine to drink up to eight glasses of water a day! We know.. This means quite a few trips to the loo, but hey now you’re getting some exercise in there too!!
- On that note, try to exercise regularly, even if it is a light form of exercise (going for a walk, cooling off in the pool with a couple of laps or joining a preggy pilates class), exercise not only increases blood flow to the skin, which can help the skin rebuild itself, but can avoid weight gain in the future. Remaining at a healthy weight can reduce the risk of excessive skin stretching.
- Some doctors and therapists suggest rubbing vitamin E oil on to stretch marks. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that is used in many skin creams, including stretch mark creams. Although these creams can make your skin more supple, unfortunately they won’t be able to stop stretch marks completely. This is because it’s not just your top layer of skin that will stretch, the underlying layers stretch too and anti-stretch mark creams can’t reach these underlying layers.
- Along with other vitamins, vitamin D is essential for healthy skin. You can get your daily or weekly dose of vitamin D from a few minutes laying in the sun, or taking a stroll outside while getting some exercise and soaking up the sun! If you are worried and don’t want to expose your skin to the sun, another alternative is taking Vitamin D supplements.
- Limit or try to avoid steroid creams for itching. Steroid creams or corticosteroids, which usually contain cortisone, may weaken skin’s collagen and result in stretch marks. But if the itching is too much to handle and you do decide to go this route ensure that you consult with your doctor first.
We know sometimes it can be difficult, but try not to be too hard on yourself! Your body is changing, stretching and accommodating that ever growing belly. Try to love the skin you’re in!
Also remember… You are growing a baby!!!
Something small to look forward to is by the time your baby reaches about a year old, your stretch marks will fade gradually and become paler and less noticeable.