Stretch marks…you either love them or hate them. Who am I kidding? I have never met a woman who loved her stretch marks! Seriously, have you? As much as we pretend to have pride no one really likes them. But have you ever thought about what exactly are stretch marks? I haven’t until recently. Did you know that stretch marks are small scars?
Hormonal changes or the skin growing too fast, causes it to stretch, then tear (ouch!) and then repair itself. When the skin repairs itself, as it heals, it creates tiny scars that unfortunately show up on the top layer of the skin. That is how we get those trademark tiger stripes that lets the world know we have arrived as Mama Tigers!
Our skin has the amazing ability to stretch like crazy! Have you ever looked at your yourself in the mirror and think, “wow! How is my belly this big?” I do it almost weekly in awe. Pregnancy hormones like cortisol and estrogen reduce the effectiveness of fibroblast in your skin, which reduces the collagen and elastin (side note: this is why women are concerned about the loss of collagen and elastin in their face *wink wink*) that gives our skin the stretchiness to keep us looking youthful and bouncy. Is it good to be bouncy? In this case, yes we want our skin to be bouncy!
So how can we prevent these tiger stripes from completely taking over our belly? Well, I’ve been told my many well-meaning mamas that stretch marks are genetic so there is nothing we can do to completely 100% prevent stretch marks, but there are a few ways to help reduce the appearance of stretch marks. I’ve been lucky enough to come out of my first pregnancy with very minimal stretch marks. #ThankYouJesus
Here is what I did to come out almost stretch mark free!
Eat a healthy diet
Eating a healthy diet is seriously the best prevention and cure to so many of our common bodily issues. So it’s no surprise that eating a healthy diet can and will prepare your body and skin to be more elastic and help prevent stretch marks.
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, dairy, lean proteins like chicken, fish, beans, and plenty of oatmeal and whole grain. I love to eat overnight oats several mornings throughout the week. Easy to prepare in batches the night before and it taste yummy cold or warmed.
Finally, a prenatal vitamin is great to make sure you are getting the extra nutrients your body needs as it serves as the home for your baby.
During my first pregnancy, I was working full time and working out five days a week and was concerned with getting enough nutrients into my body for my growing baby, so I drank a daily superfood shake that was so nutrient dense that it has the ingredient equivalent to six superfood salads. It is so yummy and easy to blend or shake on the go. I highly recommend adding a daily nutritional supplement to your diet as well.
Hydrate your skin 2x a day
The best advice I can give to prevent stretch marks is to START EARLY. The earlier the better. I started hydrating my skin as soon as I found out I was pregnant at around 8 weeks. I would rub a hydrating lotion and oil all over my belly, hips, thighs, and breasts twice a day every single day until the day I gave birth. I mixed the oil and the lotion together like PB & j and went to town on my body which made my belly greasy. It would then seep through my nightgown to my husband’s dismay. LOL…sooo keep that in mind while applying. Despite the greasiness, I gave birth to my daughter with very minimal stretch marks. See photos below.
This time around, I am currently 25 weeks pregnant and I am still using the same oil, but I decided to swap out the lotion and try a hydrating body butter from Momma.Vida, an all-natural product made with real ingredients. I mix the body oil and body butter together and rub it all over my body. This mixture has given me the softest belly ever and it smells so good!
Apply a stretch mark prevention oil
Another good way to avoid getting stretch marks during pregnancy is to use a stretch mark prevention oil or cream. Now, I did not use any of specific prevention creams during my first pregnancy, but if you want to take extra precaution using a stretch mark prevention cream or oil with avocado peptides, beeswax (not the kind in your ears), shea butter, pomegranate, and baobab is highly recommended.
Exfoliate Skin Weekly
Lastly, a relaxing way to prevent stretch marks is to exfoliate your skin weekly. Very similar to exfoliating your face, you can set the mood and give yourself a full body treatment. Draw a bubble bath, light some candles, have hubby watch the kiddos and relax. Exfoliating removes the dry and dead skin that may prevent your moisturizers and creams from penetrating to the lower layers of skin. If these great stretch mark creams cannot penetrate your skin, then what is the point? Exfoliation also promotes the growth of new skin cells which can help keep your stomach, hips, thighs, and breasts soft, supple, and stretch mark-free. You can use a brown sugar body scrub or a spin brush!
I wish I had a magic wand and could make every mother experience the beauty of pregnancy without the stretch marks but I can’t. Instead, I can tell you that no matter how many or how little stretch marks you do have or will get, remember your stretch marks are proof that you are a fearsome tigress of a mama who created, housed, and brought life into this world. Your stretch marks signify the strength your body used to create your miracle. Each mark will remind you how lucky you are to hold your baby in your arms, smell their sweetness, and whisper to them, “I love you.” They may not be the prettiest, but they are yours. I will be ok with having my whole body covered in stretch marks if it meant I get to spend eternity being my babies’ mother. I hope you feel the same.
Share your experience with stretch marks below. What have you used? What are you currently using?
With peace and love,
Advertiser Disclosure: Nicole Vasco is a member of affiliate marketing programs and may receive a commission in exchange for promoting products and services.