Pregnancy 101: How to Prevent and Reduce Stretch Marks

How To Prevent Stretch Marks

Pregnancy is a glorious thing, but it ensures a few “womp womp” moments when all you want to do is have your precious baby and be done with the whole “with child” thing. One of those moments? The first sign of stretch marks.

Maybe you’re doing your research now (gold star for you) in an effort to prevent any of those red lines from popping up. Or perhaps you’ve already got a few battle scars and want to stop others from occurring. Today we’re talking about how to prevent stretch marks and also how to reduce their appearance.

Tip #1: Oils and Creams Are Your Friend

Any skincare expert will tell you that whether you get stretch marks or not boils down to your genetics. Some people are predisposed to get them, others aren’t. With that said, there are steps you can take to reduce your chances of getting stretch marks.

The first step is to keep your skin extremely supple and soft. The softer your skin is, the more “pliable” it is. This becomes increasingly important during the final months of your pregnancy, where your baby grows at exponential speeds.

If you notice your skin is dry or itchy, it’s a sign that it’s not moisturized enough. Keep really rich creams and oils at hands length. Some options include: cocoa butter, coconut oil, almond oil and bio oil. Apply at least twice per day and any time you bathe.

Tip#2: Get Lots of Water

Consuming water flushes toxins out of your body, making your skin cells plumper and healthier-looking. Make sure you get your regular 8 glasses a day. You can also get more water by drinking non-caffeinated tea and eating veggies and fruits high in water content. Options include leafy greens, watermelon, other melons, squash, cucumbers and peppers.

Tip #2: Avoid Gaining Excess Weight

This one’s easier said than done, especially when all you want to do is eat a Twinkie with ketchup on it or chow down pancakes smeared with peanut butter. We get it. If we’re being matter of fact, though, excessive weight gain during pregnancy does contribute to stretch marks. Not just on your adorable baby bump or breasts, but also on other parks of your body, not limited to arms, legs or your back.

According to the Mayoclinic, the average healthy weight gain during a pregnancy varies depending on your current weight. Follow these guidelines as a general rule of thumb, but speak to your physician to get a more tailored number:

Pre-pregnancy weight / Recommended weight gain

Underweight (BMI less than 18.5)

28 to 40 pounds (about 13 to 18 kilograms)

Normal weight (BMI 18.5 to 24.9)

25 to 35 pounds (about 11 to 16 kilograms)

Overweight (BMI 25 to 29.9)

15 to 25 pounds (about 7 to 11 kilograms)

Obese (BMI 30 or more)

11 to 20 pounds (about 5 to 9 kilograms)

Tip #4: Stretch Marks Never “Go Away”

Don’t fall for any miracle product that promises it’ll remove your stretch marks. Without plastic surgery or other invasive procedures, those lines are there to say. That disclaimer aside, know this: your stretch marks will fade over time. The angry reddish/purple color will fade into a silvery white and they’ll become less indented in the skin.

Regularly using creams and oils that soften the skin will help reduce the intensity of your stretch marks. The richer the oil or cream, the better. Plain ol’ cocoa butter is a longtime favorite for a reason: it’s effective.

You can also employ the use of cosmetics to conceal your stretch marks. While there are probably only a few reasons you’d actually do so — say, maternity photos or heading to the beach and proudly showing off your bump — it does work. Use a foundation or concealer that matches your skin tone. If it has a bit of highlighter in it, even better. The shimmery particles will reflect light and diminish the signs of stretch marks.

This page was last updated on 06/2017
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