Let's talk Stretch Marks
I know, A LOT of products promise to stop/reverse your stretch marks, but I want to let you know that if those don’t work for you, you’re not alone. Nine out of ten pregnancies result in (at least a few) stretch marks, and no amount of shea butter will change that.
Stretch marks are mostly determined by genetics. If your mother had them, then you probably will too, but we do know a little more than out moms did, so there are some steps you can take to reduce their appearance.
Hydration — it’s not sexy, but it’s simple. Moisture inside and out helps maintain skins elasticity, and this is your first step. The American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists recommends drinking 64 - 96 ounces of water a day, more if you are breastfeeding — don’t forget to take care of your post baby body!
Reduce Sun Exposure — I honestly never felt more confident of my stomach until I was pregnant and wanted to experience what it must feel like to be that body positive at the beach. Unfortunately my son was born in March and a winter beaches in New York weren’t exactly bikini weather, so I didn’t get to live this dream, but it could have been a blessing in disguise. Early stretch marks (reddish in color) are very sensitive to sun exposure, and I can’t believe I never came across this tip on any of the pregnancy sites I obsessed over, but instead was told by a plastic surgeon that the best way to diminish their appearance was to keep them completely out of the sun for a year after they redness fades. - I can say from personal experience that I lived by this and mine have faded significantly.
Don’t scratch that itchy skin! — This is almost as hard to control as my next suggestion, but this is where all of the balms and oils on the market really come in handy. Especially in the third trimester, when your skin is expanding rapidly, if you ket an itch, try and get in the habit of soothing it but rubbing a lotion on it instead of with your fingernails.
Avoid rapid weight gain — I hate writing this, we are all doing what we can and honestly I felt like I got a lot of mixed signals on this from my OB. Lots of women I know are told they aren’t gaining enough weight in early pregnancy (I was told to start eating ice cream every day), but then in the third trimester approach the max advised weight gain quickly and are put on low carb diets for the last few weeks (which my personal opinion on is just cruel!). But, since stretch marks come from quick changes to your body, I wouldn’t be doing you any favors if I didn’t mention this.
And one last thing - I have strong memories of looking at my moms tan, bikini clad body as a kid, and her stomach looked like my sister and I clawed our way out of her. Her marks were deep, wide, and sporadic all over her abdomen. I think they were embarrassing for her at first, but with age they began to fade, and now are barely noticeable. — so I guess the most guaranteed way to get rid of your marks is time, but I’m sure that’s not what you want to hear : )
What are your tips for handling stretch marks? My current favorites are Mother Mother Balm for one the go, Babe & Body’s Peachy Keen Stretch Mark Scrub for the shower, & Maven Made Every Body Oil for a nighttime routine.