Glowing skin and luscious hair aren’t the only surprises you get during pregnancy- it comes with some unwanted skin issues as well and stretch marks are one of them. So, what exactly makes these battle scars appear? Even though stretch marks aren’t limited to just pregnancy, they are quite common during the second trimester of pregnancy, and some women get them during the third trimester. Stretch marks occur when the skin undergoes rapid expansion or contraction as a result of weight gain or weight loss. As you progress through your pregnancy, your weight will change and this will bring about changes in your body in the form of stretch marks. These marks usually appear on the belly, thighs, hips and breast areas.
What causes stretch marks during pregnancy?
Stretch Marks during pregnancy are caused by multiple factors, the first being change in hormones. As you start moving into your second and third trimester, your belly grows to accommodate the baby and this rapid growth stretches skin causing stretch marks. Along with the growing belly, rapid weight gain/loss, dehydration, low vitamin counts, dry skin are other reasons that cause stretch marks during pregnancy.
How to avoid stretch marks during pregnancy?
There is no magical cream for pregnancy marks that can completely remove stretch marks. However, you can surely minimise their appearance when they start to appear on your skin. Working on the underlying causes – skin thinning, lack of elasticity, weight gain or loss, etc. can help reduce the chances of stretch marks appearing on your body during and after pregnancy.
Here are some tips you can follow to prevent and reduce the appearance of stretch marks:
Avoid rapid weight gain or loss
Keeping a check on your weight during pregnancy is not only the key to having a healthy pregnancy but will also help you prevent stretch marks to an extent. A gradual weight gain during your pregnancy in accordance with other factors such as your height, age and other conditions can ensure that it is easier to manage your weight after pregnancy as well.
Follow a pregnancy diet that’s both healthy and skin-nourishing
A balanced diet rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and protein will keep your skin healthy and nourished. Fresh vegetables, fruits, seeds and nuts and lentils and eggs should be part of your diet to ensure that you get adequate nutrition. The right amount of Vitamins C, D, E, Protein and Zinc will ensure your skin remains healthy.
Use Stretch Marks Oil
A natural stretch oil that is rich in natural oils can deeply nourish the skin and increase its elasticity which can reduce the chances of occurrence of stretch marks in the first place.
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The Moms Co. Stretch Oil is enriched with 7 natural oils and Vitamin E to deeply nourish your skin from within and help improve its elasticity. The oil also helps get rid of dry skin and itchiness. It is a soothing oil that helps reduce stretch marks.
Price: INR 393
Keep the area moisturized
The easiest thing that you can do to keep stretch marks at bay is to keep your skin moisturized. But you have to ensure that whatever product you are using is chemical free, natural, has no nasties like sulphates, parabens etc. and provides deep nourishment.
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The Moms Co. Natural Body Butter is made with Shea and Kokum butters that help deeply moisturise the skin and provide 24 hour moisturisation. The body butter helps reduce stretch marks and improves skin’s elasticity.
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Include vitamin C in your diet
Vitamin C increases the collagen production and improves skin elasticity. Broccoli, Orange, Papaya, Strawberries and yellow peppers are good sources of Vitamin C. Make sure that you include it in your diet during pregnancy, since Vitamin C improves skin elasticity it will help reduce pregnancy stretch marks.
Soak up some vitamin D
Spending some time in the sun early in the morning will help your body produce Vitamin D. According to researchers the best time to soak Vitamin D is between 10 Am – 3 PM. Salmon and eggs are good sources of Vitamin D. Similar to Vitamin C in this aspect, Vitamin D helps increase skin elasticity too and thereby reducing stretch marks.
Eat foods rich in zinc & vitamin E
Zinc improves skin healing and reduces inflammation and turns out to be essential in reducing pregnancy stretch marks. Add fish and nuts to your diet to maintain zinc levels. Vitamin E on the other hand promotes skin regeneration and protects from damage. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, nuts and seeds such as almond, peanuts and sunflower seeds are good sources of Vitamin E.
You need to drink a good amount of water to ensure your skin doesn’t dry out and continues being moisturised. Avoid caffeinated drinks and drinks high in sugar content as they are harmful for your body and tend to dehydrate the skin.
Yoga and light exercises help your body get healthier, build better stamina during delivery and keep your weight in check. Speak with your doctor and take their advice before starting an exercise routine.
Avoid sun and pollution
As you sail through pregnancy, exposure to dust, harmful UV rays from the sun and pollution suffocates your skin. Fresh air is good for your skin and more importantly good for your baby.
Treat while they appear naturally
Using natural body care products to treat the stretch marks as soon as they appear can help reduce their chances of getting worse. Add a nourishing stretch marks oil to your skincare regime to deeply moisturise your skin and reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
A proper skincare routine is essential to reduce and prevent stretch marks. When choosing natural skincare products, look for the following ingredients
- Shea Butter
- Cocoa butter
- Rosehip oil
- Sea buckthorn oil
- Almond oil
- Jojoba oil
- Wheat germ oil
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
These ingredients are essential to deeply hydrate and moisturise your skin and prevent itchiness, dryness and stretch marks, especially in the later stages of pregnancy. Mom care products specially curated with such rich ingredients in the form of body butters and oils keep dryness and itching at bay while keeping your skin moisturised. These ingredients are also known to help with stimulation of collagen production and support skin regeneration and elasticity which helps reduce stretch marks.
Shea butter for stretch marks works as an excellent moisturiser and anti-inflammatory agent. You can massage this rich butter onto your skin as soon as the initial signs of stretch marks show up or find natural skin care products that have the Shea Butter and Cocoa Butter as the main ingredients along with moisturising oils. The Moms Co.’s Natural Stretch oil and Natural Body Butter work together to give the skin 24-hours moisturization, reduce dryness, itchiness and stretch marks.
- Natural Stretch Oil is a non-greasy combination of 7 powerful oils which soothes itchy, dry skin! Use this twice a day – once in the morning and once in the evening.
- Natural Body Butter brings together the goodness of Shea and Cocoa butters to keep the skin moisturised for 24 hours and promote skin elasticity which keeps stretch marks in check. Apply this at night before going to sleep.
Together, the Natural Stretch Oil and Natural Body Butter work to stimulate collagen synthesis, promote skin elasticity and skin regeneration – all of which help reduce stretch marks, dryness and itching.
Both of these products are completely natural, toxin-free and can be used for stretch marks during or after pregnancy. Massage it gently onto the stretching body parts like the stomach, hips, breasts for effective results.
You sure have come to realise there are many ways to keep stretch marks in check- be it through diet or by using a moisturising stretch mark cream. While it’s difficult to get rid of stretch marks completely, regular use of moisturising creams and oils can help reduce their appearance.
Do stretch marks get worse with each pregnancy?
You may wonder if you will have stretch marks in the subsequent pregnancy as well? Ofcourse! All the above causes will surely exist during your next pregnancies and so do the stretch marks. Genetics, Hormones, Skin type and its elasticity all play a role in the formation of stretch marks. If you have got stretch marks during your first pregnancy, you are most likely going to get it during the successive pregnancies.
While most women are likely to experience stretch marks during their first pregnancy, having stretch marks during the second pregnancy depends on a number of factors such as age, hormones and weight gained during pregnancy. At the end of the day, it is important to ensure that you gain weight slowly and steadily during pregnancy. Not only is this good for your overall health, it will also help reduce stretch marks. If you are planning on having more than one baby then plan your pregnancies well and take your doctor’s advice as this can give your body time to heal after childbirth. You can also consult a dermatologist and discuss various treatments available to reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
Pregnancy is a beautiful journey and stretch marks are like the post cards that will serve as a souvenir. Stretch marks products might help ease the process, soothe your skin and prevent new ones from appearing but they can’t be removed completely. But don’t stress too much about them, at the end of the day your health and that of your baby are more important.
Does everyone get stretch marks in pregnancy?
About 90% of pregnant women get stretch marks however the probability of having them also depends on your genetics. If your mother or sister has stretch marks then chances are you will have them as well. Your hormones and weight also play a role in how you will get stretch marks.
However, with some simple precautions and good skincare routine during pregnancy, you can navigate your way through pregnancy without ever worrying about stretch marks removal!
What trimester do pregnant women develop stretch marks?
Pregnant Women get stretch marks during the late second trimester to the beginning of the third trimester as this is the time when the skin around the belly stretches the most.
Are you more likely to get stretch marks in the second pregnancy?
Most women usually get stretch marks during their first pregnancy. However, stretch marks can appear during the second pregnancy as well if the belly stretches more than the first pregnancy.