When I was pregnant with my daughter, one of the things that I was concerned about, was stretch marks. Every thing that I have heard and even science had proved that I would get them, no matter what I do. As you probably already know, Stretch marks are hereditary. So if your Mom got stretch marks while pregnant, you will get them to. it has been reported that more than half of all pregnant women will get stretch marks.
Well, in my family, My mom all my aunts, and both my older and younger sister got a ton of stretch marks while pregnant, so I thought I would for sure get them. But these did not stop me from trying to prevent them and I am happy to disclose to you that I broke this cycle in our family, I did not get any stretch marks anywhere in my body during my first or second pregnancy.
So let’s look deep into why this stretch marks happen and what did I do to avoid them.
What are stretch marks and how do they form?
Stretch marks are long, narrow streaks, stripes, or lines that develop on the skin. They occur when the skin is suddenly stretched and are extremely common. There is very little medical evidence confirming the effectiveness of current treatments for stretch marks.
Before stretch marks begin to emerge, the skin can appear thin and pink. It may also feel irritated or itchy. The marks initially develop as wrinkly, raised streaks that can be red, purple, pink, reddish-brown or dark brown, depending on skin color. The streaks eventually fade and flatten and tend to change to a silvery color over time. Stretch marks may gradually become less noticeable, but this can often take years.
The skin consists of three key layers. Stretch marks form in the dermis, or middle layer, when the connective tissue is stretched beyond the limits of its elasticity. This is normally due to rapid expansion or contraction of the skin, which causes the dermis to tear, allowing deeper layer of skin to show through.
How to prevent stretch marks?
Yes, stretch marks are preventable and I say this purely from my own experiences.
As I already mentioned I had the gene in me to get stretch marks. Also you are more prone to getting stretch marks when you gain weight quickly. When I was pregnant with my daughter I gained over 50 lbs, which is little less than half of my normal weight, and I gained it very rapidly, despite all my efforts to slow down my weight gain.
Below is a list of things that I did while pregnant, which I believe had a huge impact:
If you have been reading my blog posts , you know that I stay as far away from processed foods as possible. My daily nutrition includes plenty of whole real foods like fruits and vegetables.
You probably heard the advice that while pregnant you should eat for two!! I believe that is the worst advice one can give any pregnant women. No one one should eat more than what their body needs. If you are not hungry, you shouldn’t eat. This eating for two causes rapid gain weight which is one of the reasons behind getting stretch marks.
Also stop eating whatever you crave for. Find alternative whole foods to satisfy your cravings for processed foods. I remember when I was pregnant with my daughter I craved a lot of sweets, like Ice cream and candies ( I was never used to eating candies before my pregnancy), so I made sure to have plenty of fruits like watermelon and grapes ready to eat in my fridge to satisfy this craving. with my son I was craving more of salty and crunchy treats, which I satisfied with salad, and crunchy veggies like cucumbers with sprinkles of salt or carrots.
Staying hydrated is very important regardless if you are pregnant or not. However, while pregnant, you need even more water because you have increased hydration needs. Getting more water can help you both internally and externally. To make the most of its elasticity, your skin should be properly hydrated.
I know it is tempting not to drink water to save yourself from one more bathroom trip, but that one more bathroom trip so worth it. Drink plenty of water, I personally drink about 100 Ounces of water every day. I have a 17 OZ insulated bottle water that I refill constantly during the day and take with me every where I go.
Drinking more water, not only helps you with preventing stretch marks, but also helps with constipation, which is one of the other issues that pregnant women have to deal with.
Keep your skin hydrated:
There are plenty of safe and natural oils that you can use on your stomach, thighs, hips, breast, pretty much all over your body while pregnant.
I used various natural and organic oils during my both pregnancies, so I don’t have a specific favorite one. In fact I don’t know how effective using oils alone, without following a good nutrition and drinking plenty water, would be. The reason I say this is because, I gave my younger sister the same exact oil that I used during my pregnancy to use while pregnant, and she still got a ton of stretch marks!!!! But it doesn’t hurt to keep your skin soft and moisturized.
Exercise is great for your pregnancy any way you look at it. It can help with your circulation, blood sugars, and it’s beneficial for your baby.
By exercise I don’t mean go for crazy vigorous training. Walking for 30 minutes a day is a good start. There are tons of prenatal workouts that you can do at comfort of your home with very minimal equipment and space. Just do a Google search and you will get plenty of options for free or to purchase. you can also go to prenatal yoga or Pilates classes or hit the pool.
With my first pregnancy, I used to go for long walks, but with my second pregnancy I did more mixture of strength training, cardio and yoga at home.
I truly believe that you have a chance to prevent stretch marks, if you eat right, stay active and drink plenty of water. Don’t stop trying to take care of your body, just because all the odds are against you. If I did it, I am sure everyone else can do it too.
Stay happy and healthy