Most pregnant women are aware of the fact that once the stretch marks appear, it becomes difficult to get rid of them. For this reason, they are on a look out for ways to prevent stretch marks while pregnant. Read this article to know more…
Stretch marks are also referred to as striae gravidarum. It is a normal occurrence during pregnancy. In fact, more than fifty percent of pregnant women get stretch marks. It can be identified as thin elongated lines on the skin surface of variable thickness and pink, red or purple in color. These marks mostly appear on the skin of abdomen region. However, some women may get them in other parts of the body as well, like breasts, hips, buttocks, thighs and underarms.
What Causes Stretch Marks During Pregnancy?
Stretch marks appear in the later stages of pregnancy when the belly is expanding in order to accommodate the growing size of the fetus. The skin has a natural ability which enables it to stretch itself without causing any damage to its tissues. However, during pregnancy, the skin is stretched so much that tears develop on the fibrous tissues that lie in the middle layer of the skin. The healing mechanism of the body can repair these tears but leaves behind scars which we see as stretch marks that refuse to go.
Similar marks appear on other parts of the body as the skin of the region gets stretched due to excessive weight gain during pregnancy. The severity of the marks varies from one women to the other and it depends on their skin elasticity. The elastic properties of the skin is largely determined by the genetic makeup of the women. Thus, it can be said that genetics is one of the major factors that decides whether you will get stretch marks while pregnant or not.
How to Prevent Stretch Marks While Pregnant?
The best way to prevent stretch marks while pregnant is by providing adequate support to the skin both internally as well as externally. Here are a few helpful tips:
Eat healthy foods. During pregnancy, it is obvious that you have to eat nutritious foods to provide the right kind of nutrition to you as well as to your unborn baby. However, to improve your skin health, you have to include some specific nutrients like vitamins A, C and D, proteins and zinc. Include fruits, salads, milk, eggs and fish in your daily diet for this purpose. Take some vitamin supplements after talking to your doctor.
Stay hydrated. Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water throughout the day. It keeps your skin in moist condition and nourishes it to make the skin more elastic. Moreover, water flushes out all the unwanted toxins from the body and brings about improvement in your overall skin condition.
Control your weight. The main culprit that triggers stretch marks in pregnant women is too much weight gain. 25 to 35 pounds of increase in weight is permissible but if it goes beyond that, then women are prone to stretch marks. Therefore, you have to make persistent efforts to keep your weight under control. In this condition, you have to consume extra calories for proper nourishment of the growing baby but you have to make sure that it comes from healthy nutritious foods. Stay away from unhealthy fats present in fatty foods as they contribute towards weight gain which in turn will aggravate stretch marks. Moreover, do some pregnancy exercises on a regular basis after consulting your gynecologist. This will burn out the extra calories and help you to stay in shape.
Massage the Skin. While taking a shower, gently massage all those areas where stretch marks tend to appear. You can use a loofah or a body brush or a washcloth for this purpose. This kind of massage increases blood circulation in the area so that more nutrients and water will reach there. This will reduce the chances of stretch marks.
Moisturize the skin. You should start using a good quality natural skin moisturizer on the belly and other such parts of the body right from the early stages of pregnancy. Cocoa butter is one of the most well-known remedies for stretch marks and many women have actually benefited from it. Besides, there are other options like shea butter, lanolin, vitamin E oil, wheat germ oil and so on. If you want to purchase creams or body lotions then you must opt for such products that contain one or more of these ingredients. Apply it generously at least two times in a day.
Stay away from sun and harsh weather conditions. The ultraviolet radiation from the sun robs off moisture from the skin and causes extensive damage to the skin. Therefore, you must avoid exposure to the sun. For the same reason, you should avoid using tanning bed during pregnancy. Cold weather conditions also strip off the natural oils from the skin and make it dry. So, try to avoid going outdoors in the sun and in cold weather.
Keep a watch on the skin of the problem areas closely during pregnancy on a regular basis. If you notice any red marks on the skin, then talk to your dermatologist immediately. They may prescribe tretinoin cream whose main ingredient is vitamin A. If you start applying this cream on the light marks, then you can prevent any further aggravation of the problem.