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Seeing those two pink lines on the pregnancy test kit can elicit a wide range of emotions all at once – happiness, surprise, anxiety, relief – the list goes on! A new chapter in life now awaits you as your body will start changing to accommodate a whole new life inside you.
Some of these changes change your perspective about yourself for the better, and some might bother you a little. So many women find stretch marks during pregnancy to be a cause of worry and we understand why. Aesthetically, you may have never had your skin stretch throughout your life, and this change, although natural, can take some getting used to.
You’re definitely not alone if you’d like to find ways to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy. Let’s look at what causes them, and if and how they can be prevented. And if you’ve already got them, let’s find out what you can do about them.
What Causes Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks are tiny scars located in the skin’s middle layer or dermis. These scars are visible in the top layer or epidermis. They form when hormonal changes or rapid weight gain stretch the skin beyond its ability to restore itself.
The skin has the amazing ability to stretch and adapt because of its collagen and elastin fibres. But when stretched too far or too quickly, it can cause some tearing. After this happens, the body will immediately start working on healing the newly developed scars. But, despite the body’s natural defence mechanisms, small scars do show up when everything is healed. You’re left with those shiny, stretch marks.
Tips for Preventing Stretch Marks During Pregnancy
While skin is expected to stretch during pregnancy, it is possible to prevent the volume of stretch marks that appear on your body. It’s important to tend to skin that is prone to stretch marks early, even before they even appear, and daily. This is crucial because stretch marks are more difficult to clear once they have already formed. So, we recommend that you start putting these tips into practice as soon as you know you are expecting.
1. Hydrate Your Skin
A good way to reduce stretch marks when pregnant is to keep your skin hydrated. Apply a natural skincare oil like Bio-Oil to your belly, thighs, and hips at least twice a day. Bio-Oil contains ingredients like mineral oil, Vitamins A and E, and plant extracts which help keep the skin soft and supple. This allows your skin to grow and expand without tearing and forming stretch marks.
Make sure you choose a moisturising oil, cream or balm that is safe for pregnant women and proven safe for the mother post pregnancy. As per a safety assessment by a qualified toxicologist, Bio-Oil has been classified as safe to use by pregnant and lactating women. You can apply the oil after your shower to enhance your skin’s potential to prevent stretch marks.
2. Eat a Balanced Diet
Nutrition plays a vital role in the development of stretch marks. By choosing to eat whole foods, like fruits and vegetables, you might be able to ward off some stretch marks. Remember, stretch marks form due to rapid weight gain. As whole foods tend to be lower in calories, your body will have the nutrients it needs to work in top-notch condition while having a less dramatic weight gain. While weight gain can’t be prevented (you are carrying a baby after all!), you can still work to keep it within healthy limits. Also, foods like nuts and seeds are good to incorporate during this time as they are full of healthy fats that keep skin’s elasticity high!
3. Regularly Massage Your Skin
Moisturisers like stretch mark oils and creams hardly take a few minutes to apply. But if you take out just a few extra minutes to massage these products into your skin, you can enhance your body’s capacity to prevent stretch marks. Bio-Oil is the only product clinically proven to prevent stretch marks and scars. It has won 419 skincare awards in more than 25 countries. So, massaging Bio-Oil’s Skincare Oil into the stretch mark-prone areas will help soothe and calm the skin, improve blood circulation, and help renew the skin. Massage with gentle pressure in small circular movements for best results.
4. Exfoliate the Skin
Ensure you gently exfoliate your stomach, hips, and thighs once per week. Exfoliation is as important as moisturising the skin to prevent stretch marks. It helps remove dead skin from the upper layers of the skin and allows new cells to form. It also improves blood circulation. To exfoliate, dry brush your skin with a soft-bristled body brush followed by a warm shower. You can even use a loofah to scrub your body while having a shower.
5. Drink Enough Water
While you hydrate your skin from the outside with a moisturiser, don’t forget to also hydrate your skin from the inside! Water helps keep the skin hydrated and helps it cope with the strain of stretching. Drink about six to eight glasses of water per day during pregnancy. Also, avoid caffeinated drinks and drinks that have high sugar content, as they tend to dehydrate the skin.
How to Reduce the Appearance of Stretch Marks Post Pregnancy
While most stretch marks fade away naturally on their own, there are a few ways to make them even less noticeable. Slowly and consistently resuming physical activity after giving birth will not only help you lose the baby weight but may help repair your stretch marks. You need not limit yourself to only one kind of exercise. You can even consider walking, yoga, dancing, or swimming as these will tone and strengthen your muscles, which, in turn, helps to tighten stretched skin and promote faster healing.
Continue using an effective oil such as Bio-Oil, which is dermat recommended and is also known to cure uneven skin tone, dry skin, wrinkles and fine lines, to massage the areas where you’d like to see a difference in the appearance of stretch marks.
As much as you would like to see immediate results, it’s important to be patient. Even with the best of treatments, do know that stretch marks won’t disappear overnight.
Remember, your body is amazing for growing a life. Yes, the stretch marks that come along with pregnancy can be disheartening, but with some patience and care, you will see a notable difference.