Having a baby is simply awesome… getting stretch marks is not. Unfortunately these two factors pretty much go hand in hand for the most part.
Studies show that 70%-90% of women will develop these unsightly lines to some degree during pregnancy.
It’s not difficult to see why. These lines are caused by either:
- Rapid/excess weight gain.
- Hormonal changes in the body.
Both of these occur during child birth, meaning these battle scars are almost unavoidable. However that’s not to say we should throw in the towel just yet. With a little knowledge, we can certainly go about preventing & reducing their severity.
When Do Stretch Marks Start In Pregnancy?
Typically only during the 3rd trimester around 28-36 weeks when the stretching of the skin is most extreme. However they can occur before this, especially if there is a large build up of amniotic fluid. Women will usually notice some red lines appearing just before they deliver.
These red lesions will often become even more apparent immediately after the birth. This is the time to really ramp up your treatment methods, as there is a 6-8 week window to reduce the appearance of newly formed stretch marks. It gets much more difficult after this.
Again, there is nothing to worry about here. Stretch marks are so prevalent & to be expected for almost 9 out of 10 for those going through child birth. Pregnancy marks are simply your road map to motherhood!
Where Do Pregnancy Stretch Marks Show Up?
Typically in places where the skin is stretched the most… unsurprisingly. This will be around the abdomen & breasts for most women. However they can also develop on the hips & thighs if excess weight is gained.
There will be a genetic element to this. The skin will naturally have to adapt & become thinner to allow for the increase in size, leading to the likelihood of tearing. But some will be more prone to this than others.
Both my mom & sister developed significant dark lesions during pregnancy. So it’s no surprise that I got them during mine. You can’t escape the heredity factors when it comes to this.
Again, that is not to say we are completely at the mercy of our genetic makeup. The following steps are preventative measures anyone can take to significantly reduce the chance of developing stretch marks… from bump to birth!
How To Avoid Stretch Marks During Pregnancy
1. Natural Home Remedies
The first concern when it comes to any skin care treatment during pregnancy – is safety. This applies to both pregnancy & post birth once breast feeding. You want to avoid anything that may harm your baby, so chemically laden products should be avoided.
The natural remedies are great for this. I have written more extensively on these compounds in previous articles. In my opinion, they should be the first port of call for any stretch mark prevention routine as they contribute to overall skin health & quality in such a big way.
Not only will these substances improve skin moisture, but many will also improve collagen production in the affected areas. Ensure you are utilizing a Cocoa Butter or Coconut oil on your skin 2-3 times per day, along with eating a diet rich in vitamins A,C,E & Zinc.
2. Topical Lotions & Creams
I am currently writing a comprehensive guide on the various pregnancy stretch mark creams & lotions on the market. However, it’s no secret that there is one I favor over any others I’ve tried.
If you want to know what this powerful cream can do In the mean time – you can check out the full details on this one here.
3. Utilize Dry Brushing
Dry brushing is simply a fantastic thing to be doing, whether you are pregnant or not. There are so many great benefits to adding this quirky technique to your morning routine, it really is worth trying out for yourself.
Dry brushing will help with everything from general skin quality (key for reducing stretch marks appearance). But also vascular circulation, which is crucial for ensuring optimal blood flow during pregnancy.
If you are unfamiliar with dry brushing & the benefits it can bring. Then I highly recommend checking out my full article on this method here.
4. Do Not Gain Excess Weight
A significant amount of weight gain during pregnancy is unavoidable for obvious reasons. However this is not to say you should go overboard when carrying your child. The old adage of “Eating for Two” should be avoided.
Of course you want to supply yourself with ample nutrition to nourish your body & baby. However it’s advisable to increase your calories gradually & from healthy food sources. You want to increase your nutritional intake by around 500 calories per day to meet this surplus requirement.
A woman of standard height & build will typically gain 25-35 lbs during an average pregnancy. If you are underweight to begin with this may rise to 40 lbs, but anything greater than this should be avoided to prevent excess stretching of the already thinned skin.
5. Increase Collagen Production
Increasing collagen & elastin production within the dermis layer of the skin is vital for preventing & reducing stretch marks of any kind. And pregnancy lines are no different.
Check out my Top 5 Collagen Boosting Tips here.
6. Exercise Whilst Pregnant
Most women have the tendency to become a lot more sedentary when pregnant & understandably so. However it’s important to remain as active as possible for a number of reasons & not simply for skin care considerations.
Regular physical activity will not only help keep that excess weight (fat) off the body – aiding in overall size control. It also greatly improves general blood circulation & skin elasticity. Low impact exercise such as yoga & Pilates are great for this!.
7. Stay Fully Hydrated
The final consideration to make when attempting to reduce and prevent scarring of the skin during pregnancy, is to remain optimally hydrated at all times. Supplying the body with sufficent amounts of water is crucial for maintaining overall moisture & skin quality.
You should be consuming around 8-12 glasses of water per day to meet this requirement. Pay close attention to how you are feeling throughout the day, as dry lips/throat & headaches are the first signs of dehydration. So try not to let it get to this stage…
How To Remove Pregnancy Stretch Marks
The prevention measures I have suggested here are still great options for removing & repairing unwanted lines on the body . However they will start to become less effective as the months go by. You will start to get diminishing returns from these protocols – especially when your lines have developed into faded & white marks.
When this happens, the natural & topical treatments will struggle to give you enough bang for your buck. It may now be a time to try one of the minor medical procedures. A very effective method is to perform Derma Rolling on your affected areas of skin.
If you are unfamiliar with this microneedle abrasion technique – then check out my detailed report which highlights to most efficient ways to do it, as well as the ‘how & why’ it can reduce significant pregnancy stretch marks even years after they have formed.
If rolling your skin has proven to unaffected, your only other option is to schedule a consultation with your local doctor for a series of pulsed dye laser treatments.
Laser procedures are certainly effective, but can become costly. A single treatment can range anywhere from $200 – $1000 depending where you get it done & the severity of your skin damage.
Preventing stretch marks during pregnancy can be a little tricky – compared to regular weight gain/loss for instance. That is not to say its impossible.
All it takes is a little preparation & planning combined with the correct & consistent application of your chosen protocol.
The 7 tips & techniques I have described should help you greatly with this. So if you are currently pregnant or plan on being so in the near future, then start to implement these measures right away.
Preventing stretch marks during pregnancy completely, is very difficult… But getting a head start on treating them is a great way to reduce their appearance when they do show up.
Best of luck!