Stretch Marks And Pregnancy

Stretch marks are common among pregnant women.  However, they are not limited to those who have been pregnant.  Stretch marks can occur in obese children or adults, in adolescents who have a sudden growth spurt during puberty and body builders and athletes who do constant exercises.  Stretch marks happen when you gain a lot of weight fast.

Stretch marks are separations of the outer layers of skin caused by the overstretching of underlying layers.  Stretch marks are red when they start and gradually fade to a light silvery color.  They may also be itchy in the beginning.   The areas most commonly affected by stretch marks are the hips, breasts, abdomen,  buttocks and thighs.



For pregnant women, heredity may play an important role in determining who will and who will not have stretch marks.  Unless you were born with stretchy skin, if your mother developed stretch marks chances are you will have stretch marks too.  There is no sure remedy for stretch marks.  They may fade some after delivery.

There are a few tips that may help you avoid stretch marks when you are pregnant.

  1. Avoid gaining excessive weight in a short period of time. Gaining weight gradually will reduce your chances of getting stretch marks.
  2. Engage in regular exercise which will help tone your muscles and keep your skin firm. Consult with your health care professional to determine what exercises are safe for you to do during your pregnancy.
  3. Keep hydrated. Drink plenty of water, herbal tea and eat watery fruits and vegetables.
  4. Maintain a healthy diet including foods that will nourish your skin. Skin nourishing foods are rich in antioxidants, contain Vitamin A and Vitamin E and omega 3s.
  5. Wear a supportive maternity bra to avoid stretch marks around the breasts.

There are some things you can do to help your skin when you are pregnant.  It may help if you massage either vitamin E or olive oil on the abdomen area from the start of your pregnancy.  After a shower massage it liberally over any stretch marks.  If you skip a shower one day then wash the area using a cloth, dry as usual and apply the oil.  Ideally, moisturize your skin both in the morning and at night.

To increase circulation, wear a glove and massage your skin.  You can use body oil, coconut oil, almond oil, flaxseed oil, cod liver oil or Vitamin E oil for a daily massage after your shower and before going to bed to sleep.  Pure lanolin which comes from oil produced by sheep may work well on your skin.

If your skin is itching where it is stretching you should add more moisturizer to the area.

Massaging cocoa butter into the skin will help keep the skin supple and may reduce stretch marks.

If you want to make your own stretch mark cream mix one-half cup cocoa butter, 1 teaspoon wheat germ oil, 1 teaspoon apricot kernel oil, 1 teaspoon Vitamin E oil and 2 teaspoons grated beeswax.  Heat the mixture until the cocoa butter and beeswax melt.  Then stir well and store in an air tight container.