Pregnancy is an amazing miracle where you have a human life growing inside of you. It is nothing short of a miracle to think of the intricate processes that occur from fertilization to birth.
But as your baby grows strong and healthy, your belly and hips grow as well. Stretch marks are a common occurrence in pregnancy and many women would be more than happy to skip this glorious part of the journey. While you can’t always stop them completely, there are some tricks to help with stretch mark prevention.
Why Do We Get Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks occur when your skin is stretched past its limit. This stretching requires healthy skin with ample cartilage. The more times you stretch that skin out, the more likely you will get some marks. Think of a rubber band that has been stretched too many times, it just doesn’t bounce back like it used to. In fact, you often hear mothers saying they had no stretch marks from their first pregnancy, but as the number of pregnancies go up, the number of stretch marks go up.
Of course, genetics play a role as well and you can’t undo that. If you are wondering how your body will do, look to your mom and ask how she did with each of her pregnancies. You will likely follow the same pattern.
So what can you do?
Number one (and only the only real prevention) is to stay moisturized! Moisturized skin is healthy skin. If you google stretch mark formulas, notice that they are all creams, salves, or oils. This is because companies know that moisture is the best thing, despite their sometimes ridiculous claims.
Here are my Stretch Mark Prevention Treatments
- Water: 96 ounces per day to be exact. Water is vital during pregnancy for many reasons and stretch mark prevention makes it that much easier to get your daily quota. Hydrating from the inside out and is the first step in keeping your skin moisturized and healthy. Plump, healthy skin can stretch and rebound like no other so drink up.
- Cocoa Butter Massage Cream/Body Butter: I use both these products interchangeably, at least once per day. I apply from neck to mid-thigh, usually at night. Don’t forget to apply around the love handle area and towards the back. That skin will get stretched forward as your stomach grows.
- Coconut Oil: One of the best ways to hydrate your skin, I apply this every time after I take a shower. You need a very little to go a long way so you don’t need to feel like an oil slick to get the benefits.
- Cetaphil Cream: I like the one that comes in a big tub. I apply this any time I feel dry. Use it on your hands, feet elbows, and the belly!
- Bio-oil for stretch marks: This product claims to diminish stretch marks, but I use it with the cocoa butter to help with prevention. First apply the cocoa butter and follow with the Bio-oil. Use the Bio-oil from the belly to neck.
- Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream
- Trader Joe’s Organic Coconut Oil
- Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Massage Cream
I realize this is a lot of steps but make it easy for yourself. I have a 32 oz water bottle so I can drink a full bottle by lunch, my second by 2pm, and my third one should be gone by 7pm (so I don’t wake up too often to pee!). The Cocoa Butter and Bio-oil are now a normal part of my night routine. Put these on then brush your teeth while it absorbs. For the coconut oil, just keep the container in the shower and use it after you towel dry. The Cetaphil cream is easy to apply when (if) I feel dry at any time during the day. Usually my hands get dry and I will use the Cetaphil but purposefully grab some extra to rub on my stomach.
So there is my plan! I am almost 20 week in so we will see how it works out. Let me know if you have any interesting stretch mark prevention techniques I didn’t mention.