Stretch marks suck! They really do! I am prone to them as I discovered during my teen years, yay… So when I found out I was pregnant, you bet your sweet bottom I was about ready to try anything to avoid getting any more of them. At almost 32 weeks into my pregnancy, so far I’ve been able to keep my skin intact, and here’s how.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!!!
Your skin needs moisture to stay flexible; if there’s not enough hydration, it’s like trying to stretch an old rubber band that’s been sitting in your junk drawer for the last few years. With the elasticity gone, it starts to crack and loosen to the point where it’s not the same shape as it once was. Yay, mummy tummy. This is a clear and obvious starting point, but if you’re drinking tons of water and still feeling thirsty, add a few drops of the darkest grade pure maple syrup and a pinch of mineral salt. This will help drive water into the cells, kind of like a super inexpensive, natural version of electrolyte water. *Tip* If you can taste it, you’ve used too much – you only need a few drops of the syrup and a pinch of salt.
Lubricate Your Skin From the Inside Out
Eating lots of good quality high fats like avocado, nuts, seeds, fish (approved kinds) and oils will help lubricate your skin from the inside. Adding flexibility to your cells will reduce damage when your baby starts taking up all the room in your womb, and your belly expands.
Take High-Quality Omega 3s
It’s a good idea to supplement with Omega 3s for baby’s developing brain and nervous system, but it can help your cells flexibility and reduce damage and inflammation. Be sure to get a high-quality Omega 3 that’s got a high dose of EPA and a good dose of DHA and is also 3rd party tested for contaminants. Here are my favorite ones I’ve used or am currently using in capsule and liquid forms. *Tip* To avoid those gross fish burps, I take it right before bed. Renew Life Super Critical Omega 3 in capsule form, Nutra Sea High Potency EPA and Genestra Super EFA Plus in liquid form.
Related Article: 5 Tips for Buying the Right Omega 3 Fish Oils
Avoid Bloating Foods
Limiting the kinds of foods that tend to bloat your tummy like cakes, pastries, bread and pasta (or whatever other triggers you have) will help reduce tension on your already expanding belly. Of course, indulge in these in moderation if you so choose, but if you’re consuming these foods on a regular basis and your belly is constantly bloated, the extra inflammation can wear and tear your cells.
Slow and Steady Weight Gain
It can be extremely hard to avoid those cravings for whatever foods that seem to tickle your fancy at noon, 9 pm or 4 am, but it’s so, so, so important when trying to avoid stretch marks to avoid packing on the pounds super fast! In high school my boobs went from Bs to E’s and then to G’s in College, I was living off of pasta, ice cream, and nachos, plus my hormones were all out of whack, so I was in stretch mark central. I learned fast that packing on as much as 20lbs in a hurry would induce tearing of my skin. I’ve changed my diet 1000 fold since high school, but pregnancy seems to make women think they can eat whatever they want. This is a time where diet is so critical, stretch marks aside, you’re growing a human! Nourish yourself as much as possible and if you still want that Nanaimo bar or ketchup chips after, then have-atter – but just make sure you’re eating a good quality diet at least 90% of the time. At least then, you’ll be less likely to eat the whole bag.
Get the Right Type of Oil for Your Skin
Lots of women use plant-based oils or mineral oils for their skin. But this is not doing much to combat the stretch marks. Vitamin E capsules can help, but varying your oils/lotions will help your skin stay flexible and retain elasticity much more efficiently. Plant and mineral oils tend to stay on top of your skin with very little penetration. The best oil I found and have used consistently is the Kalaya Naturals Emu Oil. Emu oil is one of the closest things to the oil found in our skin. It can penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin, providing more nourishment to the cells and protection against wear and tear.
Lock in the Moisture
Oils are good for morning and night on the belly, breasts or wherever else you’re expanding, but having a good body butter or lotion is a nice option to have to lock in that moisture or use for the rest of your body. Again, quality is key, but you don’t have to spend a ton to get that luxuriously soft skin. I prefer to support local, with simple, clean ingredients that won’t break the bank. After my shower and lubing up my tum-tum, I use Rocky Mountain Soap Company’s Body/Belly Butter or Kalaya Naturals Omega 3 Lotion. The Body Butter is great to have on hand because it’s so easy to apply, and bending over is not the most ideal to rub in a reach those lower legs, so the stick is very convenient. If you prefer lotions, I can’t say enough how much I love the Kalaya Brand. It has the emu oil in there already as well as a blend of other oils to help nourish and hydrate your skin. I did a review on it for my dry skin a few years ago as it was a game changer for me – and super inexpensive… and I was supporting a Canadian company – whoo-hoo on all fronts!
Consistency is Key
Slathering on the oils, lotions, and butters whenever your belly starts to itch (signs of skin expanding) is not the time to start. Prepping your skin early and staying consistent with applying products, drinking water, eating high-quality fats and taking your omegas will help your skin adapt to your body’s beautiful changes.