Pregnancy changes you as a person – emotionally, psychologically and physically. It is a journey of self-discovery as you sail through the nine months discovering instincts and emotions you never knew existed.
The most obvious physical change is the size of your belly and the resulting stretch marks.It is a beautiful feeling to know you have two hearts beating inside of you. But, a part of you secretly wishes to be able to have a baby without any of those irreversible changes and ugly marks!Well, you are not alone sweetie.
What are pregnancy stretch marks and why are they caused?
As your baby develops inside you, growing in size and meeting the fetal milestones,your womb makes more room for it to be comfortable. This results in a rapidly expanding uterus and lots of amniotic fluid to keep your baby cushioned and safely sealed inside. On the outside, this is most visible on the belly. The belly skin has a hard time keeping up with the pace of growth, and the elastic fibers in its supportive tissue snap, showing up as stretch marks.
Pregnancy stretch marks wouldn’t appear, if say, the skin were perfectly elastic; or the belly would grow at a slower, more controlled rate. When pregnant, a lot of us tend to make the mistake of eating for two, which leads to erratic and unnecessary weight gain. While you are ensuring you eat nutritious food, you put on weight on the rest of the body, causing the skin to stretch there as well.
Most commonly, stretch marks occur on the stomach, hips, thighs, upper arms and breasts. This is mainly visible during the third trimester, appearing as pink, purple or dark brown lines depending on the colour of your skin.
Eventually they fade out. Stretch marks are almost inevitable during pregnancy. 90% of pregnant women get these marks. Following are the main factors that predispose one to get them.
- Genetics plays a key role
- Size and number of babies you are carrying (for example if you’re carrying twins, triplets or more – forwhich, congratulations!).
Can stretch marks be prevented?
Honestly, not really, especially if you have it in your genes. However, if careful, you can successfully keep these unwanted appearances from taking away the joys of pregnancy.
The best time to prevent stretch marks are just when you are about to have them – this isat the very beginning of the third trimester. Here are a few tips to prevent stretch marks:
- Understand your metabolism and talk to your doctor about the vitamins and supplements that you should be taking along with your diet. For me, it helped to eat smaller meals at shorter intervals, along with light exercise for about twenty minutes every day.
- Drinking lots of water helps maintain the elasticity of the skin
- Curb the intake of diuretics like tea and coffee keeping the body well hydrated and the skin properly moisturized.
- This is also the time for tweaking your diet to include more zinc and vitamin C rich foods because they are responsible forskin elasticity and collagen production respectively (besides less stretch marks, you’ll have a glowing face too. Yay!).
- Pamper your skin from the outside too. Rubbing a moisturizing butter or balm that’s rich in Vitamin E can reduce the itchiness caused due to excessive stretching of the skin. Rub it on all those areas that are expanding the fastest. In fact, this can be a good family bonding time between papa, mama and baby-to-be.
How do I select a product that nourishes my skin while keeping my baby safe?
I got you, mama!
While choosing a moisturizing cream for stretch marks, it is best to keep away from chemical products because they run the risk of hiding toxins inside their beautiful bottles and deceptive prices. Look for something that has all natural ingredients, such as:
- Cocoa butter – extracted from the cocoa bean, cocoa butter is a natural vegetable fat loaded with vitamins A, B, C and E that makes it one of the best-known natural moisturizers for stretch marks.
- Sheabutter*–Rich in antioxidants, fatty acids and Vitamins D, E and F, Shea butter is a natural remedy for dry or inflamed skin as it not only boosts collagen production, but also locks in natural oils of the skin.
- Coconut oil – Remember your mother/mother-in-law telling you to apply coconut oil on stretch marks? She was right. Coconut oil contains natural fatty acids and lots of Vitamin E, which keeps the skin deeply nourished and supple. But be careful not to use refined coconut oil, go for the extra virgin instead.
- Jojoba butter –Its rich vitamin and mineral content prevents the loss of moisture by barricading the skin, quite literally! This is because jojoba butter makes a thin protective film over the skin and maintains its pH to keep it hydrated and elastic.
If you are already worrying about where you can source these from, how you can ensure the quality without getting fleeced or the sequence of applying them, here is some good news! Mamaearth, after the extensive research and personal experience has developed a deep moisturizing Body Butter.This is a “use-me-out-of-the-jar” type ultra-nourishing butter, especially meant for pregnant women and new mothers (just be sure to wipe the butter off before feeding your newborn).
It is the only MadeSafe certified brand in Asia. It has been dermatologically tested on sensitive human skin for allergic reactions in the best labs of Europe, and kept free from harmful chemicals like alcohol, parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, PEG & fragrances (if you want to know more about the harm these chemicals can cause, read here).
Richly blended with Cocoa, Shea and jojoba butter, the Mamaearth’s Body Butter is loaded with vitamin A, peptides** and milk protein – all of which catalyze collagen production and maintain skin elasticity, keeping it itch-free, smooth and extra supple.For best results, apply the butter on your skin and massage it until it gets absorbed.
So go on, scoop out a dollop of this all natural product and bask in the glory of mama-hood!