Pregnancy is the most beautiful facet of womanhood, however, it can leave your body with ugly aftereffects! Weight gain and stretch marks are not your biggest matter-of-concern during pregnancy. You can be hit with another beauty woe – cellulite.
Have you noticed how mom-to-be celebrities glow all throughout their pregnancy and within a month or two return to the red carpet in their itsy-bitsy skinny dresses without a sign of pregnancy playing havoc on their svelte bodies. Take supermodel Miranda Kerr, for instance. The Australian beauty gave birth to a 9 lbs healthy baby boy and three months later, was back to work, strutting her stuff on the ramp and posing for bikini photo-shoots! Any other new mom would be concerned about cellulite showing in photographs. In fact, most women would shy away from clothes that show too much skin.
So, how is it that these beautiful new moms never seem to suffer from cellulite during pregnancy or even after, while the rest of us suffer relentlessly even after trying for several years to get our pre-baby body back. Who said life was fair? Well, okay I am just going to be honest with you, say it and get done with it. Blame your diet, lack of physical activity, lifestyle habits and genes for the cellulite! Before we proceed with more information, let’s brush up our knowledge of cellulite and how it develops. Cellulite is caused by fat build-up under your skin due to excess fat consumption that the body fails to metabolize, excess production of adrenaline due to several factors such as stress or poor genetic makeup. So, even if you were blessed with a cellulite-resistant body pre-pregnancy, it may not necessarily guarantee a cellulite-free pregnancy. If you have dealt with weight and cellulite issues all your life before the pregnancy, it may get even worse, sister.
Causes of Cellulite During Pregnancy
It has been oft repeated that weight gain is a cellulite culprit. However, this is not the 100% truth. Even skinny women can suffer from cellulite. There are other causes for the appearance of fat dimples and they are more active during pregnancy. One of the reasons is increase in the production and release of estrogen, the female hormone. It is responsible for the distribution of fat cells in your body. Excess production of estrogen in the body means that more fat will accumulate in those areas that are prone to fat deposits. Overtime, it obstructs the lymphatic drainage system and weakens the connective tissues, resulting in the formation of cellulite, in your body. The lymph vessels, present between your cells, help remove bad cells, toxins and excess water. Did you know? Estrogen is also responsible for food cravings. When there are high levels of this hormone present in the body, fat stores in your abdomen, buttocks, and thighs. Perhaps, this is your body’s way of making labor easier. Another factor responsible for the bumpy skin is retention of water during pregnancy, which is a natural phenomenon. Even though water is important to assist the removal of toxins, in excessive quantity it can put additional stress on the lymph vessels.
There is good news for those women who have religiously spent hours on physical exercise and kept their bodies fit. If you have NORMAL weight gain during your pregnancy, you have good chances of having a baby with a cellulite-free body! Cellulite means that your cells are not proficient enough to accommodate the weight gain. If you have thick skin (not a thick layer of fat), it will probably be more flexible so you will suffer from lesser cellulite. This can only be achieved by consuming essential fatty acids because not all fats are bad. Most foods available to us today lack these fats that hydrate the membrane of skin tissues. The manufacturers do so to prolong the shelf life of their food products. It is a huge misconception among pregnant women that they must eat for two. During pregnancy, the baby needs several vitamins and nutrients along with these fats for development which are derived from the mother’s food. This is why you are suggested to keep your diet healthy by opting for fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains. Processed foods hardly contain any of the valuable nutrients and the saturated fat only deposits under your skin giving you cellulite. The greater the percentage of fat in your body, the worse will be your cellulite. This is also why cellulite creams fail. Nothing can reduce the fat in your body, except intense physical activity and a controlled diet.
Many pregnant mothers live an even more sedentary lifestyle after they find out that they are pregnant fearing for the baby’s health. Such habits can leave stubborn fat deposits that make your skin look like someone just threw up cottage cheese. No, I am not going to call them dimples and make them sound cute. They are NOT cute! The appearance of cellulite only increases with time as a woman gains more weight or gives birth to another child. However, an expecting mother can continue with light physical exercises throughout her pregnancy like walking, jogging, cycling and Pilates. Stand in the sunlight in front of a mirror and you will see it for yourself. But, wait. Don’t get depressed because what is a friend without some helpful advice? Take a look at these excellent tips to minimize the appearance of cellulite during pregnancy. If you are lucky, you might not even get them at all.
How to Prevent Cellulite During Pregnancy
We talk about weight gain and uncontrollable hormones while expecting, however, most experienced mothers forget to tell soon-to-be-moms about cellulite. Women are often too ashamed to talk about these things and often tend to think that it does not happen to all women. Well, if you are a 21st century fab mom, better look like one too! Now, being a yummy mummy is in your control and you no longer have to hide your buxom bod in dim lighting. Didn’t you hear about the perks of pregnancy? It will add extra sensuous curves and give you an hourglass figure that your husband just won’t stop ogling at. Cellulite prevention during pregnancy can be very tough but if you are wholeheartedly dedicated to the cause, you can follow these steps and don a bikini at the beach within a few months after giving birth to your bundle of joy.
• Add more sources of Vitamin A, C and E in your diet. They are helpful to maintain the health of your skin. However, too much vitamin A can be harmful to the baby. So consume it in moderation. Also, consume a tablespoon of raw flax seeds everyday. They are loaded with omega-3, an essential fatty acid required by your body. These vitamins and nutrients improve the skin’s elasticity and curb the appearance of cellulite. Additionally, you can also take fish cod supplements. Avoid eating saturated fats in the form of bakery goods like cookies, bagels, burgers, hotdogs and everything else that is deep-fried, processed or unhealthy. These foods are loaded with hydrogenated oils that are the biggest culprits of cellulite woes of almost every girl around the world. Cutting down carb-rich food will also reduce the amount of carbohydrates, sugar and saturated fats you consume so, the amount of fatty acids you consume is adequate for carrying out the cellular repair mechanism in your body. You should consume unsaturated fats instead.
• Ever heard of dry-brushing? Make it your best-friend and religiously dry brush all over the body, especially the problem areas, to maintain a good flow of blood circulation. The body parts that are prone to accumulate fat are your thighs, buttocks, calves, arms and love handles. This helps to break down the deposit of fatty acids under the skin so they are re-absorbed and eliminated as wastes by the blood. Dry brushing is often recommended to get rid of cellulite because it helps stimulate the flow of lymph which prevents fat from accumulating under the skin. The result is, no more cellulite! This is a very effective treatment to prevent cellulite during pregnancy and you should do it twice everyday.
• Practice pregnancy yoga. Most pregnant women harbor the misconception that exercise should be avoided during pregnancy. Well, I would call it sheer laziness. You are making excuses now to avoid moving your body but later you will make your husband suffer for it. Even those women who do not have a bun in the oven flinch from the thought of exercise. No wonder, so many of us suffer from a cellulite problem. Some spas offer special cellulite massages and pressotherapy that are safe for pregnant women. Any other cellulite treatment that employs the use of ultrasound or radio-frequency should be avoided during pregnancy. Natural anti-cellulite methods are a long term solution for a beautiful body.
• Absolutely refrain from DRINKING coffee if you want to have taut skin minus the orange peel effect. Even if you aren’t pregnant, coffee can aggravate your cellulite problem if taken internally because coffee is known to cause dehydration in your cells. When there is no water in cells, it means that the toxins remain put and the appearance of cellulite will be even more pronounced. One of the best tricks, made famous by Halle Berry, is the coffee grounds plastic wrap! Use the unused leftovers from your coffee grinder and use it to massage your skin. You can add olive oil and/or brown sugar to that. After 20 minutes, seal it with plastic sheets and then wrap with hot towels for half an hour. Voila! Your own anti-cellulite-at-home-spa. Check out the actress’ pictures if you doubt the benefits of this remedy. Also, make it a regular habit to use a loofah in your bath.
• Have a cup of green tea everyday. Yes, I know that it contains caffeine but not as much as one cup of coffee. In fact, you will need to consume more than 4 cups of green tea in a day to match up the caffeine consumed from a cup of coffee. One cup of green tea packs 15 mg caffeine. It is rich in antioxidants and helps detoxify your body. It regulates blood sugar levels which helps in cellulite prevention and elimination. Avoid drinking green tea around the time of conception though as a study suggests that it may cause neural tube defects in babies due to folate deficiency in the mother. I would say that ideally you should have a cup between your meals, throughout the day. Avoid drinking green tea along with your food.
• Refrain from consuming sugar and watch your weight. No, I am not asking you to starve yourself when you have another being inside you but don’t over-indulge in unhealthy food. If you excuse yourself saying that you are eating for the baby, then you better eat right and HEALTHY! Your baby clearly didn’t ask you to feed it some donuts so stop fooling yourself. And you have a little baby inside you, not a monstrous twin that you start eating for two. Eating so much will only result in unnecessary weight gain which is the number one cause of cellulite.
• Drink lots of water to avoid build up of toxins in your body and prevent water retention as both these factors are responsible for cellulite. You can also maintain a balanced water weight by cutting down on salt in your diet. Keep your body hydrated at all times.
Your best bid to get rid of cellulite post-pregnancy is to reduce the weight as soon as possible after you have delivered the baby. The more you delay the process, the harder it will be to eliminate cellulite. I would tell you to avoid cellulite creams during pregnancy because they only have a temporary effect and often the problem returns after discontinuation of the cream. Also, chemicals present in the cellulite cream can also cause miscarriages. Breast feeding moms should consult a gynecologist. If you really care about the way your body looks, I’d suggest that you plan your pregnancy with a fit body. It helps strengthen your body better so it is well prepared to cope up with the weight gain. It will be a lot less difficult for you to carry the baby and the delivery will be less painful. Also, if your body is used to burning fat with a high-efficiency, it will quickly get back in to your pre-pregnancy figure within a few months. Exercising also keeps your estrogen levels in check.