Its official; youre expecting! The home pregnancy kits positive and youre ecstatic. A babys on the way and everything must be perfect. Maternity outfits to be bought, a gender neutral room to be painted! As the good news spreads, theres heaps of advice coming your way. You mustnt travel on scooters, sniff lemons to get rid of morning sickness, the lists are infinite. But theres one fact that most people overlook, Stretch Marks.
At first, the adorable baby bump features on every Instagram post but come month seven or eight, red maternity stripes zigzag their way across your tummy! Fortunately, they won't stay so vividly hued forever. After the delivery they do diminish to a less noticeable, slightly lighter-than-your-skin-tone shade.
Here’s everything you should know about stretch marks and how to reduce them:
What causes stretch marks?
Generally, women gain about 30 pounds during the nine months of pregnancy. Since your body is growing at a much faster pace than your skin can keep up with, elastic fibres just beneath its surface break, resulting in deep red or purple lines, that fade over time. Now, the not-so-great news is that contradictory to most marketing gimmicks, no mommy balm, oil or cream can prevent these bands of parallel lines.
Eat your way to finer looking lines
However, if historys taught us well, there are ways to reduce the appearance of these running-streaks. A healthy diet is super important. Foods packed with Antioxidants help nourish and protect skin. Incorporate dark green vegetables like spinach or broccoli, and colourful fruits and berries for natural fibre. Seeds and nuts have healthy fats that improve skin tone, while fish contains essential Omega-3 for a glowing complexion. Vitamin A repairs cell tissue, so be sure to binge on bell-pepper, carrots, papaya and mangoes. Incorporate Vitamin C rich foods such as guava and parsley to boost collage formation.
Exercise is necessary
Low impact regular exercise is a must because it helps retain the skin retain elasticity by improving blood circulation. Simple stretches, yoga, and pilates train the body in uncomfortable positions, increasing your threshold for pain during the actual birthing process. Kegel workouts are also recommended to strengthen the pelvic muscles and control urinary inconsistence. Care should be taken to put on baby weight in balance, as most often drastic weight gain increases the chances of more stretch marks.
Rub your belly, daily
Women also need 15 mg Vitamin E daily to keep their bodies healthy during pregnancy. So, topical applications from the first trimester itself boosts skins elasticity. While it can be orally administered, studies show women who consume higher dosages have increased risk of giving birth to infants with congenital heart defects. Thus play it safe, plus theres no better feeling than having your partner rub lotion on your growing belly.
Last but not the least, moisturize daily to keep those love lines at bay. Hydrate your stomach, sides, lower back, thighs and legs. Regular creams won't penetrate the skin deeply enough and since your expanding abdomen is more prone to dryness and flaking a naturally-occurring oil like Coconut, works best to replenish and restore cell growth. Cocoa Butter and Shea Butter are other emollients that aid in stimulating the skin renewal process from within. Bio Oil and Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Massage Cream For Stretch Marks are tried-and-tested products you should use.
And when you hold your bundle of joy in your arms, embrace your new avatar and wear your lines like badges of honour.