There is a social media campaign doing the rounds which was created by two moms. Their #Loveyourlines Instagram
account is devoted to "celebrating real women, real bodies, and real self-love
It has over one hundred thousand followers embracing their imperfections. And we certainly salute them.
Along with many other new mothers, they have stretch marks on their bodies from giving birth and are proudly showing them off as their “battle scars”.
Why does being pregnant lead to stretch marks?
- Inside, you are busy creating your baby and helping it to develop and grow.
- Outside, you have to make allowances for a rapidly changing body shape. This can put tremendous strain on your skin.
With 70% of all pregnant women developing stretch marks, it is hardly surprising that this social media campaign has hit a nerve.
But it doesn't have to be that way
Often stretch marks are hereditary. For example if your mother and your sister had stretch marks, then it is highly likely you will too.
However, there are several things you can do to minimize their appearance or prevent them altogether...
How to prevent or treat stretch marks
1. Start moisturising your skin on a daily basis from the moment you discover you're pregnant. Your skin will need as much elasticity as it can get. Start a program of taking care of your skin as early as possible. And don't stop - keep moisturizing your skin right from the first trimester until well after you have given birth and returned to your pre-pregnancy weight.
2. We always recommend the natural route and preventing and treating stretch marks is no exception
. Oils that are specially formulated for stretch mark prevention and stretch mark removal will help enhance collagen production and support the dermis, keeping the skin intact, despite all that stretching, while guaranteeing a greater chance of preventing and/or eliminating those stretch marks – gently and naturally.
3. Stretch marks are caused by rapid skin stretches so any physical exercises that tone the underlying muscles (such as swimming, sit-ups and abdominal crunches) will help them fade.
4. Drink lots of water as staying hydrated is not only good for you and your baby, it's also good news for your skin which will be in better shape to stretch gently.
5. Limit your weight gain to no more than the recommended amount of 25 to 35 pounds. Such a weight gain should be as gradual as possible to let your skin stretch at a steady rate.
6. Good nutrition is vital for your developing baby but also contributes to the strength and health of your skin. Just the regular intake of plenty of fresh fruit, herbs and of course vegetables can improve the skin dramatically by increasing the objective markers of skin health.
7. Your diet should include foods rich in zinc such as nuts and fish as well as those high in vitamins A, C and D such as carrots, citrus fruits and milk and those foods rich in protein such as eggs. Don’t forget to eat avocados whenever you can.
8. Use a brush or wash cloth to massage the areas such as the breasts where you have noticed stretch marks or want to prevent them occurring. This will increase circulation to the area.
9. Keep on taking your extra vitamins. Vitamins E, A and D are particularly helpful to encourage good skin health. The effect of Vitamin E both internally and externally is thanks to its regenerative effect on skin, penetrating deep into the skin to stimulate the growth of new cells while replacing the scar tissue found under stretch marks.
10. Applying vitamin E will make the skin less likely to tear, significantly decreasing the chance of stretch marks. Although vitamin A is best known for its positive effects on vision, it is just as important to the skin with its stimulating effect on cell regeneration, improving the appearance of striae (stretch marks) and regulating epidermal (skin) cell growth. Vitamin D3 is necessary for new skin cell production and complements the function of vitamins A and E in the regeneration process of the epidermis as well as being an important all round “feel good” hormone.
Following these treatment steps will help to ensure that you don't have to show off your “battle scars” after your pregnancy is over.