Think of your stretch marks as battle scars from the front lines of pregnancy. Stretch marks occur when your skin expands to make room for your baby. Though very elastic, the sudden expansion could cause tears in the many layers of skin, leaving scarring in the form of raised lines. The marks can be a red, pink, or purple, and while they may fade after pregnancy, there is no way to completely get rid of them.
Though there are no proven ways to prevent stretch marks, there are some things you can try to lessen their severity while pregnant:
- Stay out of the sun! Sunbathing strips the moisture from your skin, leaving it unable to bounce back after trauma-like pregnancy tears.
- Drink lots of water. Hydrated skin is healthy skin. In addition, try to stay away from salt and caffeine, which soak up moisture leaving your skin susceptible to tears.
- Stock up on protein, antioxidants and healthy fats. Healthy foods keep your skin’s elasticity intact, making it less likely to tear. Make sure to get recommended amounts of fortifying vitamins and minerals, including A, C, E, and zinc.
- Keep exercising to help regulate your weight gain.
- Get a prenatal massage. Massage improves circulation, which aids in the production of new skin cells.
- Monitor the speed of your weight gain. Intense weight gain in a short amount of time stretches the skin too quickly, resulting in tears and scarring.
- Over-the-counter creams. Popular creams like cocoa butter and Bio Oil keep your skin hydrated and soft. Natural remedies like wheat germ oil and aloe vera also help to keep skin elastic.
Now, if you already have stretch marks here are some things you can try:
- Over-the-counter creams. What cocoa butter, Bio Oil and TriLastin (and other stretch mark creams) can do for your pregnant belly they can also do for your post-baby belly. When treating stretch marks, you’re treating damaged layers of skin, so any extra moisture helps.
- Prescriptions available from dermatologists. Glycolic acid and Retinol are the most popular and can be successful when used together.
- Laser therapy. This is the most proven way to reduce the appearance of stretch marks, but it’s also very expensive and usually not covered by insurance, as it’s considered a cosmetic surgery.
It’s completely natural to be worried about stretch marks, but if you happen to get a few try to not make a huge deal about it. Nearly every pregnant woman has them (doctors estimate that at least half of pregnant women will get stretch marks). Believe us, once you see your baby, a few little red marks on your abdomen won’t matter nearly as much.