Tips for staying stretch mark-free in pregnancy



I’m not saying I don’t have stretch marks. Those suckers showed up on my thighs at the ripe old age of 12 simply from the changing body of adolescence.

But no one wants to add to the striped menagerie during pregnancy. They may be unavoidable, simply due to genetics, skin type, or the variables of pregnancy. But through one and half pregnancies I have been able to avoid belly stretch marks. Maybe I am just lucky, but it’s possible that the tactics I am using could be helpful to future pregnant women looking to avoid this most dreaded of permanent body art.

1. Dry Body Brushing: I have been a fan of this process for years. Before each shower I do a quick dry body brush using a Hydrea Brush which takes less than a minute. Dry body brushing has been tauted for years as an effective method for reducing cellulite, buffing away dead skin, boosting circulation and lymphatic drainage, and ultimately ridding the body of toxins. Models like Miranda Kerr swear by it for removing stretch marks. I’m not saying it will remove them, but so far it has helped to keep new ones at bay. Learn more about the technique and benefits here.

2. Move. Exercising consistently will help keep your muscles toned and your skin tighter. And, of course, gaining less weight during your pregnancy will lessen the amount that your skin stretches. But, hey, I gained 50 pounds with my first pregnancy so I’m certainly not preaching low gain numbers. I do think the Pilates in my first pregnancy helped keep things together and allowed me to bounce back rather quickly, and I am sure that CrossFit will keep me in even better shape.

3. Lotion Up. Everyone and their grandmother has a prescription for moisturizing belly to prevent stretch marks. Cocoa butter, shea butter, coconut oil, and many more have been used for centuries with varying results. I have pretty much tried them all and found a few favorites:

Pai Pomegranate & Pumpkin Seed Stretch Mark System: Natalie Portman relied on Pai Pomegranate & Pumpkin Seed Oil to keep her skin sretch mark-free throughout her 2011 pregnancy. Pai’s product duo also contains high concentrations of Camellia oil — the wonder ingredient both Victoria Beckham and Kate Winslet used to prevent stretch marks during their pregnancies. If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me!

Nine Naturals Vanilla + Geranium Regenerative Belly Butter: Crafted from rich, organic emollients like broccoli seed oil, shea butter and cupuaçu butter, each ingredient is packed with restorative omega fatty acids and works deep within your skin’s connective tissue to dramatically improve elasticity, control stretch marks and fight itchiness.

Spoiled Mama Tummy Butter for Stretch Marks: This was the salve of choice for my 2009 pregnancy. Pure cocoa butter blended with organic rosehip oil, organic tamanu, and kukui nut oils, which contain Vitamin A and E, and high amounts of essential fatty acids. Together they promote collagen and elastin levels to increase cell regeneration. This results in firmer skin with greater elasticity and helps defend against pregnancy stretch marks.

Paige Wolf is a Philadelphia mom and author of Spit That Out! The Overly Informed Parent’s Guide to Raising Children in the Age of Environmental Guilt. This post is adapted from her blog, Spit That Out!

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