Our bodies go through so many changes during pregnancy. From swollen ankles, unexpected cravings, and a growing belly, many of us see our bodies change to the point of unrecognition.
For most of us, stretch marks are a point of concern. While there is nothing wrong with a few or a belly full of stretch marks (you grew a human, those marks are your tiger stripes!), many of us want to avoid stretch marks.
Remember that you don’t need to do this at all! Your body is beautiful no matter any marks and learning to love your body as it is is a remarkable journey to undertake.
However, for those who want to avoid stretch marks, let's take a look at what we can do! Keep reading to find out how to avoid stretch marks in pregnancy!
What are stretch marks?
Before we get into it, let's have a quick recap about stretch marks. Stretch marks, otherwise known as striae gravidarum, appear on your skin as indented streaks. These are red or purple when they first appear but will fade to a silvery color over time.
They often appear on the stomach, chest, bottom, thighs, and hips. They are often associated with pregnancy, although they can occur during puberty, weight gain, or any part of your life.
Unfortunately for some of us, we are more susceptible to stretch marks than others. If a family member has stretch marks, then you are more likely to get stretch marks. Don’t let this dishearten you, though! There are still things we can do to reduce the risk of stretch marks in pregnancy.
How to Avoid Stretch Marks in Pregnancy
There are a few different ways we can reduce stretch marks during pregnancy or any other time.
We will take a closer look at these now. We recommend combining a few of these measures to avoid stretch marks.
As with most things in your life, hydration is key! Drinking plenty of water will keep your skin hydrated and soft. Generally, soft and hydrated skin doesn’t develop stretch marks as dry skin does.
It is best to avoid or reduce your caffeine intake as there is a possibility it can increase your risk of stretch marks. If you do drink caffeinated drinks, balance it out with water and herbal tea.
Not only will your skin be hydrated and smooth, but drinking plenty of water will help in so many other aspects of your health.
Body moisturizers can also help to keep your skin smooth and hydrated. There is a link between cocoa and shea butter working to reduce stretch marks and the appearance of any stretch marks.
Using a moisturizer after your shower or bath will avoid dehydration and keep your skin soft. It’s also an excellent act of self-care; get yourself silky smooth and hydrated!
There are many moisturizers on the market that claim to target stretch marks, many being safe to use during pregnancy. Cocoa butter, as we mentioned above, is a great option. Look out for moisturizers or oils that include vitamin A and E.
Vitamin A is great for scarring, especially if you do develop some stretch marks. A retinoid cream can be helpful here. Be sure to speak to a professional before using these, especially during pregnancy. Vitamin E will also provide excellent hydration to your skin and can work against scarring too.
What about diet?
A lack of nutrition can cause stretch marks. Eating a range of foods that can boost your skin’s health can help. Look out for foods rich in vitamin C, D, E, zinc, and protein.
An excellent way to access these foods is to avoid processed foods and opt for a colorful diet. This does not mean you need to overhaul your diet, but adding a range of fruits and vegetables can go a long way to helping you!
Collagen plays an essential part in your skin. Collagen works to keep your skin strong and full of elasticity. Having strong and elastic skin will help reduce the risk of stretch marks in pregnancy.
Vitamin C will help the development of collagen in your skin. Vitamin C is found in many fruits and vegetables. Adding these to your diet will not only boost your health and allow you to have a healthy and balanced diet but will enable the collagen to develop too.
There have been studies that have connected low levels of vitamin D with an increase in stretch marks. It is worth noting that further research needs to be done in this area, but having a good level of vitamin D could help to avoid stretch marks.
We all know that the sun is a beacon of Vitamin D, so try and get outside for a nice walk or relax in the garden. Don’t forget your sunblock or SPF, though! You can also access Vitamin D through dairy products, bread, and cereal, where it has been added in.
Zinc is also an excellent nutrient for your skin’s health. Zinc can reduce inflammation and help in the wound healing process. There has been little proof that zinc can help reduce stretch marks, but zinc-rich foods will enhance your diet and keep your skin healthy.
Foods such as nuts and fish are rich in zinc and will make great additions to your diet. Just be sure these are foods that are safe for you to eat during pregnancy.
As you can see, we can do a range of things to avoid stretch marks during pregnancy. Taking care of your skin and your body during pregnancy is essential, and adding a range of fruits and vegetables will help your body and skin.
Healthy and hydrated skin will work to help prevent stretch marks during pregnancy, whether it's water or a luscious moisturizer, or both, your skin will thank you! Remember that there is nothing negative about stretch marks, and your body is beautiful no matter what!