For something that is not an actual physical health risk, stretch marks can be absolutely debilitating to some. They can make us feel uncomfortable with our own bodies leading to embarrassment, low self-esteem and in severe cases, even depression.
How to avoid pregnancy stretch marks is a question women have had for generations. Unfortunately, avoiding pregnancy stretch marks is not always possible for many women. The main contributing factor is genetics.
If you experienced stretch marks during adolescence, you probably will develop the marks during pregnancy. If your mother or a sister has stretch marks, there is a good chance you will too.
Now, absorbing this little bit of reality may be a little depressing at first, but it can lead to a healthy attitude towards stretch marks in the long run.
If you realize it’s out of your direct control, you can focus on healthy lifestyle habits that can make you feel wonderful, be great for your body and if you do get stretch marks, can do a lot to diminish their appearance.
How To Avoid Pregnancy Stretch Marks
Tip #1 – Preventing Stretch Marks With A Healthy Diet
When you first become pregnant, discuss with your doctor what a healthy weight gain is you. For most women, a gain of 25 pounds is sufficient.
Try to gain your pregnancy weight at an even pace. When weight is gained evenly, stretch marks are often eliminated.
Healthy eating is extremely important for any healthy lifestyle, but is it never more important than during pregnancy. Again, consult your obstetrician about your particular case.
However, a good overall guide is to follow the guidelines on the new “MyPlate” website furnished by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
When having meals, the USDA recommends making a quarter of your plate fruits and a quarter of the plate vegetables.
Furthermore, make sure to include plenty of whole grains in your diet and limit sodium intake as it encourages water retention, which has been known to aggravate stretch marks.
If your diet could use some improvement, now is a great time to start. Not only will you feel and look better, it will help your baby develop normally and you stand a better chance of avoiding pregnancy stretch marks.
Tip #2 – Avoid Pregnancy Stretch Marks With Exercise
Scientists have discovered that stretch marks can be minimized when blood circulation is improved. After consulting with your doctor, continue or start an appropriate exercise routine.
Even most pregnant women who have never exercised before should do at least 30 minutes of physical activity daily. During the last trimester, it may be necessary to limit the amount of high-impact exercise.
When exercising during pregnancy, it’s especially important to keep hydrated. Drink plenty of water and get lots of rest afterward.
Some great exercises for pregnant women include walking, hiking, biking, and swimming. Swimming during the last trimester is an especially nice treat as the water supports the weight of your baby belly and can be very relaxing.
During summer or winter when it’s too hot or cold outside to exercise, try exercising indoors on a treadmill or stationary bike. Even better, try signing up for one of the many prenatal fitness, yoga or pilates classes available for expecting mothers.
Classes are especially good since you get to mingle and compare notes with other expecting mothers and because you signed up, there is more motivation to go.
When expecting mothers exercise, there are other significant benefits besides avoiding stretch marks for both baby and mother. Some of these benefits include:
- a healthier heart and greater cardiovascular capacity for both.
- more nutritious breast milk.
- a healthier placenta that delivers more oxygen and nutrients to the baby.
- easier labor.
- easier to get back into shape after the delivery.
Tip #3 – Drink Plenty Of Water
During pregnancy, a woman’s water requirements increase. When growing a baby, a pregnant woman’s water demands increase due to the need for a larger blood supply, amniotic fluid, placenta, etc.
This can lead to dehydration often causing headaches, cramps, contractions and dry less-resilient skin.
When trying to avoid pregnancy stretch marks, expecting mothers should make a habit of drinking at least eight to ten glasses of water every day.
This does not include other beverages such as coffee, tea, milk or soda. Add an additional glass of water for each hour of moderate exercise. In dryer climates add a couple of glasses of water per day.
Drinking water will not only keep the skin and body well hydrated, but will help most pregnant women control their weight gain better.
If the weight gain is more controlled and moderate, there is an improved chance of avoiding stretch marks during you pregnancy.
Tip #4 – Moisturize Problem Areas Early And Often
Even though scientific evidence does not prove daily moisturizing helps women with avoiding pregnancy stretch marks, science cannot conclude that it doesn’t work either.
Something must be said for all those “old wives” tales that have been around for hundreds of years that support the use of moisturizers such as shea butter, cocoa butter, almond oil, vitamin E, etc.
If you decide to moisturize for stretch marks, apply your moisturizer of choice early in the pregnancy and apply often. Any benefit will come from consistent use.
Creams that claim to boost production or replace collagen in the skin should be researched for more information. These creams can be very expensive and usually there is no scientific evidence that supports the claims.
Or, if there are studies, these studies are small and tend to be funded by the maker of the product being studied.
That said, there are some creams such as TriLASTIN for stretch marks that have shown to be very good for prevention and have received excellent reviews from users of the product. See the Stretch Mark Cream review section of this site for more information on popular products.
Remember, every stretch mark case and every woman is different and daily moisturizing may work for you or it may not. However, moisturizing is an important part of any skin care routine and will leave you with soft great looking skin.
What Are Your Tips On How To Avoid Pregnancy Stretch Marks?
Do you have any advice on how to avoid pregnancy stretch marks? Is there anything else you could suggest or recommend others avoid? Share your thoughts in the comment box below and help others with avoiding pregnancy stretch marks. We’d appreciate hearing from you…