How to Prevent Stretch Marks

So, you’re pregnant, congratulations! You’re mind is probably flooding with a million different questions and concerns. Relax, pregnancy is one of the most beautiful and exciting times in a woman’s life; however you may not feel quite so beautiful when you’re battling a few of pregnancies many downfalls, including the dreaded stretch marks.  

Most first time mothers ask, “How can I avoid stretch marks?”

The answer:

Unfortunately, there isn’t a whole lot you can do. 50-90% of all pregnant women will get them. However, they usually show up in the later half of pregnancy. The majority will appear on the lower abdomen, but may also appear on the thighs, hips, buttocks, breasts and even the arms.

Stretch marks are one of the most feared things about pregnancy, especially for a first time mother. Stretch marks are not painful, but may be a little itchy. A good lotion can help with the dryness and itchiness of the skin, but no matter how hard you try or how much you spend, it’s not likely that this will prevent stretch marks.

Many mothers will swear by specific creams and lotions. The truth to the matter is, you’ll either get them or you won’t. There are some traits you should know that may play a part in whether or not you get stretch marks, and there are a small number of things you can do to try to prevent them, but nothing is guaranteed to work.

Your genetic history is the biggest factor in whether or not you’ll have stretch marks during your pregnancy. If your mother or sister had them, chances are, you will too. A large study found that more than 50% of women with stretch marks had mothers with stretch marks.

In addition, if you have a darker skin complexion, you are more likely to get stretch marks. In a mixed race study, nearly 78% of women with darker complexions developed stretch marks during pregnancy, while approximately 45% of lighter skinned women developed them.

It’s also been found that as you get older; your skin becomes more supple and soft, making it better able to stretch. If you are an older mother-to-be, then you are less likely to develop stretch marks. So, waiting to start your family may not have been such a bad idea!

Undoubtedly there is a direct connection between the amount of weight gained in pregnancy and the occurrence of stretch marks. It’s essential to eat a healthy, and balanced diet with a wide range of foods, not only for the development of your growing baby, but also to assist with keeping your weight gain within the recommended scale of 25 to 35 pounds. It’s important to focus on eating the correct foods rather than how much weight you are gaining. If your weight gain is controlled with steady weight gain and not any sudden large amounts of weight being gained at once, your skin will be allowed to stretch at a steady rate as well, without any unexpected surprises.

In addition drink plenty of water. Keeping hydrated is as important for your overall health and well-being as that of your baby’s. It is also significant for healthy skin.

Be sure to take your prenatal vitamins as recommended. This is another way to ensure proper nutrition. Prenatal vitamins are great for your hair, skin and nails, not to mention the benefits your unborn baby receives.

Again, there’s no proof that any of the creams, lotions, salves and oils that claim to prevent stretch marks really work; although it may help with the itchiness. However, as stated before, many moms will swear by them. Other things I’ve heard works (and I say “heard” because these are things I tried personally and still got the dreaded badge of pregnancy – stretch marks!)

Some women say to keep your skin generously moisturized throughout your entire pregnancy and even into your recovery until you are back to your pre-pregnancy weight. Many claim that the oils and creams specifically marketed for stretch mark prevention are great for helping the elasticity of your skin.

The other thing that is supposed to work is increasing the circulation to specific areas. Some mothers suggest using a wash cloth to massage the areas where you may be just starting to get stretch marks and the areas that are prone to stretch marks. For me, personally, this only helped with the itch factor. It was a great way to semi-scratch without tearing up my skin.

Just remember that stretch marks are very common during pregnancy. And though they may be very noticeable while pregnant, they will fade in time.