No discussion on skin care during pregnancy would be complete without addressing the biggie….stretch marks.
While most Mums enjoy pregnancy, they‘re not so keen on the souvenirs that it leaves behind – particularly when faced with the distinctly mark-free, post-bump bodies celebrities are forever flaunting.
First of all, let me say that those bodies have probably been a) airbrushed, b) covered in make-up, or c) surgically enhanced!
In the real world, it is difficult to avoid stretch marks – around 70% of us will develop them as our pregnant skin stretches beyond its natural ability. However, the good news is that there are a number of things we can do to minimise their severity and appearance…and if we’re lucky, eliminate them altogether.
Natural Oils and Butters
As stretch marks are an issue that resonates deeply with pregnant women, hundreds of products have flooded the market that claim to keep them at bay.
Adopt a healthy scepticism as many of the stretch mark oils available are paraffin oil based – a petroleum derivative. Don’t believe me? Check the ingredients list, and try and make this a habit every time you buy.
Natural oils and butters are safest for soon-to-be Mums. When massaged into the skin, Jojoba oil can help improve its elasticity and reduce the likelihood of it becoming over-stretched. If those red-purple lines do sneak through, applying this same oil post-natally can help to smooth skin and reduce their appearance.
Shea butter is another great ingredient for taming stretch marks and one that many women swear by. As well as being highly-moisturizing, Shea butter also has a unique ability to reduce and heal scars.
Our Pumpkin & Pomegranate Stretch Mark System is bursting with a combination of Vitamins E & C, plus Omegas 3,5,6,7 & 9 protect skin cell structure and enhance elasticity, helping skin to stretch and bounce back into shape without showing signs of damage.
Feed your skin
A healthy diet is essential for smooth, supple skin.
Eating foods that are rich in Vitamins A, B, & C and Essential Fatty Acids (Omegas 3, 6 & 9) throughout pregnancy will allow your skin to stretch better and encourage the replacement of damaged cells with new healthy ones.
Nourished and conditioned skin is also more likely to ‘bounce back’ into shape after birth.
Monitor your weight
Although it’s a pregnant woman’s prerogative to eat whatever she likes, gaining weight too quickly can increase the likelihood of getting stretch marks and worsen their appearance.
If you have a healthy BMI you should expect to carry an extra 25-34 lbs – gaining 1-5 lbs in the first trimester, and 1lb a week from then on.
Moisturise inside and out
Dry skin is less elastic and so more prone to stretch marks. Keep it hydrated by drinking plenty of water and using a daily body cream that is high in those Essential Fatty Acids.
So that’s it for my pregnancy blog series.
Of course, I’ve only covered the tip of the iceberg – pregnancy affects women in different ways and what works for some may not for others.
Those nine months are among the most important in a woman’s life – remember to stay informed, open-minded, but above all…excited!