Stretch marks, every pregnant woman’s worst fear. Pregnancy is such an amazing thing but the “special badges of honor” are not. With my first pregnancy, I was so worried about stretch marks that I lathered myself in cocoa butter and any other oil I thought would work. There are millions of home remedy lotions that promise to keep the stretch marks away, but do they work? I have found that the best strategy for preventing stretch marks starts with a healthy diet. I still love my lotions but here are a few tips to help prevent stretch marks!
2010 study showed skin elasticity improved with a diet higher in saturated & monosaturated fat, fish oil supplements, and increase intake of antioxidants.
Diets higher in fats increase elasticity because maintenance of collagen and elastic fibers requires fat. Also, diets that contain healthy protein will also support growth and maintenance of collagen and elastic fibers. Fish oil, which is high in omega-3 fats, is used because it helps push omega-6 to omega-3 ratios into optimal range. This has an anti-inflammatory effect that helps reduce free radicals and help keep the skin firm. You can also get your omega-3 fatty acids by eating fish such as salmon or herring, avocado, and flaxseeds.
Vitamin C aids in collagen formation. Vitamin A helps with the development of skin cells. Vitamin E helps body create more Vitamin C. With the help of these antioxidants, your body is able to counter the effects of free radicals by protecting the skin and keeping it elastic. Foods high in Vitamin C include oranges, berries, and bell peppers. Some foods high in Vitamin E are seeds, nuts, and avocado. Lastly, foods high in Vitamin A include spinach, kale and liver.
Maintaining a healthy diet will not only help prevent stretch marks, it will also help control weight gain. Rapid weight gain increases the chances of getting stretch marks. Along with a healthy diet, exercise will help with controlling weight gain. So dance around, go for a swim, or take a walk with a friend in hopes of preventing stretch marks!
Drinking enough water throughout the day helps keep your skin hydrated. This keeps your skin supple and less prone to stretch marks. Regular intake of water helps flush out toxins and increase the elasticity of your skin. It is recommended to consume 10 cups of water a day.
Use the lotions you love! Personally, I love the Palmer’s cocoa butter lotion for stretch marks. I used it with my first pregnancy and now with the second. There is something comforting about the smell when I’m pregnant. I also use Bio-Oil. The combination worked before, so I’m hoping it works with the second!
While there are no guarantees when it comes to knowing for sure you will prevent stretch marks, knowing you did everything you could will help give you a piece of mind. If you do end up with stretch marks, just know you created a life! You gave a piece of yourself to help bring that beautiful baby into this world and that’s amazing. So embrace the marks and never let anyone make you feel bad about it.