Though there is no 100% guaranteed way to completely avoid stretch marks, there is a lot that expectant mothers can do to reduce the likelihood of having them develop. When it comes to stretch marks, there is an old adage that bluntly states “you either get them or you don’t” and as there are genetic factors at play, this is true to an extent. There are women out there who will take no preventative measures whatsoever and will not be left with a single stretch mark upon carrying their child to term. For the rest, however, it’s all about damage control.
Before we carry on, what’s important to remember is that stretch marks are incredibly common and will occur in approximately 90% of all pregnant women. Bearing this in mind, you should not feel bad or self-conscious if despite your best efforts stretch marks begin to appear. Just think of them as another one of the many exciting and terrifying things that occur to a woman’s body as a baby grows inside them. You may never have wanted them, but you can come to accept them (though it is easier to do so the less noticeable they are).
5 Simple Things That Prevent Pregnancy Stretch Marks
As stated previously, there is a lot that mums-to-be can do to help keep stretch marks at bay throughout their pregnancy, and these are just 5 examples.
Stretch marks are more likely to occur when a dramatic amount of weight is gained or lost in a relatively short space of time. Carrying out exercise may become more and more difficult as the months go by, however, doing so is perfectly safe and can also help relieve or manage other common symptoms of pregnancy; such as backache, fatigue, cramps and even gestational diabetes.
The most popular exercises for pregnant women include fast walking, swimming, aqua-aerobics, cycling on a stationary bike, yoga and pilates. Activities like horse riding, skiing, skating and any contact sport, on the other hand, are strongly discouraged. If you’re worried about exercising whilst pregnant, we’d recommend attending antenatal exercise classes, where you’ll be able to receive direct guidance from a personal trainer or sports professional.
If the trick to avoiding stretch marks is to try and put on weight slowly, eating foods that are low in the wrong kinds of fat is certainly going to help. Contrary to popular belief, a woman’s body does not actually need to consume any additional calories for the first 6 months of pregnancy, as the body simply adapts to allocate energy more efficiently. Having said that, increasing the amount of bread, pasta, fruit and vegetables consumed should help to ensure the correct balance of nutrients are being supplied to both mother and baby.
During the last 6 months, however, approximately 200-250 extra calories are required. These additional calories are the equivalent of 100g of chicken or a 50g packet of crisps, and as ever eating well is all about consistently choosing the healthier option. This is not to say you can’t indulge the occasional food craving. Pregnancy is not a 9-month punishment and in fact, there are occasions when a treat can be exactly what the doctor ordered. Basically, so long as you make the healthier choice 9 out of 10 times, you’ll be doing just fine. Make it 19 out of 20 and you’ll be doing even better.
Ask somebody to picture a baby in the womb and they’ll more than likely imagine a tiny person in the foetal position floating in a sac of water. This mental image is more or less correct, but you have to ask yourself where all this water is coming from and if the answer is not “all that extra water I have been drinking” then it’s the skin. Hydration is essential if a woman’s skin is to retain its elasticity and by not increasing water consumption, the body is given permission to take it from less essential areas.
Whilst having hydrated skin is desirable, it is much lower on the body’s priorities than ensuring a foetus is comfortable and protected, resulting in a reallocation of resources. Drinking 8 to 12 glasses of water a day will ensure there is plenty of water to go around, so the amniotic sac can remained topped up with fluid while the skin can receive as much moisture as it needs. In doing so, the body will be given the best chances possible in its fight against stretch marks.
Massage The Skin
Certain areas of the body – such as the belly, back, breasts, hips, buttocks and thighs – are far more prone to developing stretch marks than other areas of the body and require a little bit of extra TLC. Massaging the skin can help to improve blood circulation and accelerates healing by promoting the growth of new skin cells; thereby making it less likely for stretch marks to emerge. To get the very most out of a massage, a professional masseur or masseuse would undoubtedly provide the most effective service, but it is also possible to reap the benefits by self-massaging the skin or having a partner do it.
Stretch Mark Creams & Oils
There are a wide range of skin care product that have been specifically designed to protect skin against stretch marks, dryness and irritation. Whilst not perfect solutions, anti-stretch mark cosmetics can improve elasticity and condition the skin so that it can expand more comfortably. Capable of being used as part of a massage regime, a lot of stretch mark products contain shea butter or coconut oil thanks to their ability to stimulate the skin and keep it well-hydrated.
Free from petrolatum, parabens and sulphates, the Unity Pregnancy Collection Complete Duo Stretch Mark Cream & Oil contains both of these ingredients, as well as avocado oil, rosehip oil, sweet almond oil and Indian gooseberry extract. Containing the combined benefits of an anti-stretch mark cream and an anti-stretch mark oil, this luxury skin care product is easily absorbed into the skin and quickly begins to take effect. For those worried about pregnancy stretch marks, there are few products better suited to alleviating their concerns than those belonging to the Unity Beauty Essentials Pregnancy Collection.