8 Easy ways to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to purchase anything through them, there is no extra cost to you. I simply make a small commission from the sale which allows me to keep this site up and running. Thank you for supporting Struggles of a Fit Mom!
8 EASY WAYS TO PREVENT STRETCH MARKS DURING PREGNANCY
Discussing how to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy can be a sensitive subject. Some mamas wear them with pride as their “badge of motherhood” while others choose not to talk about them at all.
Personally, I feel a little more confident talking about stretch marks because I am now in my second trimester of my third pregnancy and I understand the fears of how our bodies will change as a result of pregnancy.
I also have a few stretch marks from pregnancy.
You can embrace the process of being pregnant without loving every single side effect, such as stretch marks. I am here to tell you that your concern for getting stretch marks is not vein and it is a completely natural response to pregnancy.
One of the most common questions I hear during my pregnancies has been,
“How can I prevent stretch marks during pregnancy?”
While everything we read and hear says that we cannot prevent stretch marks and they are largely due to genetics, I will say that there are a few ways to help prevent the quantity and severity of them.
Most think of preventing stretch marks by loading up on the lotions.
I think the most effective way to minimize them is from the inside out.
Every pregnancy is so different and there is just no way to predict how your body may change.
As much as we want to avoid stretch marks, it is important to keep in mind that whether you get them or not is significantly determined by genetics and they were created through the most amazing process your body will every go through!
What causes stretch marks?
As scary as it may seem, your body is growing!
When the body expands faster than the skin can stretch to keep up, the skin can “tear” resulting in scars known as stretch marks.
This is one of the main reasons why avoiding excess and rapid weight gain during pregnancy can help you avoid stretch marks.
The elasticity of your skin is also a big factor in your likelihood of developing stretch marks. You can thank your genetics for this.
If your mother, grandmother or any blood relative has stretch marks, then you will be more likely to get them.
The severity of stretch marks is largely genetic, but a good skincare routine and a healthy diet will make a big difference for anyone.
WHAT CAN I DO TO PREVENT STRETCH MARKS DURING PREGNANCY?
Even if you are at increased risk to stretch marks (thanks to genetics) you have some great options to help reduce the amount, severity and likelihood of how many you may get during pregnancy.
1. KEEP THE SKIN ELASTIC- COLLAGEN
One of the best ways to avoid stretch marks during pregnancy is from the inside out by keeping the skin elastic. This can be done through adding collagen peptides to our diet and staying hydrated.
Let’s talk Collagen first.
Collagen is a major component of your skin and plays a vital role in skin strength and elasticity.
It is the most abundant protein in your body making up about one third of the body’s total protein.
It is also the building block of healthy joints, hair nails and skin and is responsible for giving our skin strength and elasticity.
The stronger the collagen and elastin fibers, the less likely they will break during rapid skin growth, such as during pregnancy, resulting in stretch marks.
Pure collagen powder is one of the best ways to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy and also helps your body and skin to recover postpartum.
Supplementation of 2.5mg daily of a bioactive collagen peptide shows an increase in skin density and influences the dermal matrix synthesis, strengthening skin connective tissue. This supports the use of oral collagen supplementation, when approved by the client’s’ physician to potentially reduce the breakdown of fascial connection during pregnancy growth. (Schunkc, 2015)
I wish I had known more about this vital protein in my first pregnancy! I take it without fail, every single day, especially during pregnancy and during postpartum recovery to help my the connective tissue in my pelvis and abdomen heal.
2. KEEP THE SKIN ELASTIC- Hydration
Your skin requires adequate hydration for optimal elasticity.
During pregnancy, the body’s blood volume drastically increases which also increases the demand for proper hydration.
Drinking enough water every day is essential for helping to strengthen and renew your skin.
The American Pregnancy Association recommends aiming for approximately 2 liters a day.
Staying hydrated may help to keep your skin soft and soft skin is less likely to develop stretch marks than dry skin.
In all honesty, I really struggle with drinking water during pregnancy. Unless its ice cold with a hint of flavor, I cannot seem to reach my daily water goals.
Some things that help me reach my water intake goals are adding all natural flavored carbonated soda waters or infuse my water with yummy, refreshing fruit.
Related: 10 Delicious Fizzy Detox Waters Guaranteed to Keep You Hydrated
3. GET ENOUGH VITAMIN C
Now you know that collagen plays an important role in skin elasticity and may help reduce stretch marks.
Vitamin C is important for its role in the development of collagen. It is also helps your body fight of toxins known as “free radicals” which can inhibit the the formation of healthy scar tissue.
Vitamin C supplements are widely available however to avoid adding another supplement to your regimen, whole foods are the best source.
It can be found in many fruits and vegetables including oranges, lemons, grapefruits, strawberries, broccoli, peppers and leafy greens.
Just another reason to eat healthy during pregnancy!
4. BE CAREFUL OF YOUR WEIGHT GAIN
Stretch marks can happen when your skin quickly pulls apart due to rapid weight gain.
One of the best ways to avoid stretch marks during pregnancy is to avoid gaining weight too quickly.
I know this sounds easier said than done. Especially when you don’t feel well and exercise sounds impossible and healthy eating options make you want to yack.
In my first pregnancy, I gained 15 pounds in the first 12 weeks. My appetite was insatiable and I was constantly starving.
The irony is that the baby was only the size of a kidney bean so all the weight I was packing on was not going to my bump but rather, my rump.
I started quickly noticing stretch marks on my hips which was a sign I needed to chill it on the cravings.
Side note, slowing my rapid weight gain had more to do with being healthy than preventing stretch marks. Gaining too much weight during pregnancy is not healthy for mom or baby. But the stretch marks were also a sign I needed to be more careful.
Staying active with exercise and eating a well rounded diet will help you to manage your weight during pregnancy.
Give into those cravings, just not everyday!
Zinc helps reduce inflammation in skin and plays an important role in wound healing.
One study showed that zinc is directly related to collagen production.
Another study found that the need for zinc increases during pregnancy and growth spurts.
When the skin is rapidly stretching, such as during pregnancy, the skin and collagen start to tear.
Lack of zinc can prevent proper healing, scars get left behind.
Combine these two findings and it makes sense that pregnancy puts you at a greater risk for stretch marks. The skin is rapidly stretching causing the collagen to start tearing and lack of zinc can prevent proper healing and leave stretch marks.
I will say that there is little evidence to support the connection between zinc and stretch marks but including zinc-rich foods in your diet may help to keep your skin healthy. These foods include things like nuts and fish.
6. KEEP THE SKIN SUPPLE AND TREAT STRETCH MARKS AS THEY APPEAR
In addition to keeping your skin elastic through collagen and hydration, you should also keep you skin moist with a good oil and lotion.
I will hesitantly admit that I have not gotten stretch marks on my stomach from my previous two pregnancies but I did get some on my hips and breasts.
I use both twice a day.
Not only does the Almond Oil smell amazing but I really love applying both the oil and lotion because it feels amazing and it also gives me a few minutes to slow down and bond with my growing baby!
7. CONSIDER DRY BRUSHING
Exfoliating your skin with dry brushing helps to stimulate circulation while removing dead skin cells allowing new cells to surface.
It also helps improve blood circulation which may help prevent the formation of stretch marks and cellulite, rejuvenates the nervous system and even gives a little boost of energy.
Use a soft-bristled brush before you get in the shower and work in circular motions working from the points furthest from your heart and work up toward your chest.
Dry brushing just feels amazing and helps my skin look less “dull”. Try it!
I quickly dry brush before getting in the shower and then apply my oil and lotions after.
Ah ha! I saved the best for last.
Well, I actually would not say that exercise is the best way to avoid stretch marks because from my experience, it is the combination of all things mentioned above.
However, exercise is overall my favorite cure for just about anything, including helping to reduce stretch marks.
Aside from boosting energy, reducing mood swings, and helping improve sleep, exercise might actually help to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy.
Exercise helps to improve circulation which helps to keep the skin more elastic. Better skin elasticity helps it to stretch as your body changes during pregnancy therefore reducing the chances of getting stretch marks.
Overall, exercise can help reduce rapid and excess weight gain which can greatly reduce your chances of getting stretch marks.
When starting your pregnancy skin care routine, please remember that stretch marks can be prevented to a degree but the likelihood of you getting some is determined mostly by genetics.
The most important thing is to have a healthy mama and healthy baby. Pregnancy is the BEST time to start creating better eating habits and learning to nourish your body from the inside out!
And ALWAYS consult with your doctor before adding any supplements to your diet!
If this was helpful, don’t forget to add it to your Pinterest board to refer back to later!
FREE 14 Day Workout Guide