Stretch marks. One of the not-so-joyous joys of being pregnant.

Stretch marks appear most often on the abdomen, most notably in the latter stages of pregnancy, as your baby belly expands to make room for your growing baby. This occurs due to the changes in the elastic supportive tissue located beneath the skin. Not all women get stretch marks, but you are significantly more prone to developing them if you’re carrying a big baby, carrying multiples, have an excess of amniotic fluid or if you happen to gain a considerable amount of baby weight in a short period of time. Experts say that your genetics are also at play in regards to whether or not you will develop them. It is argued that if your mother or sister(s) had stretch marks, it is quite probable that you will as well. Furthermore, young mothers (and especially teen mothers) are considerably more susceptible to developing stretch marks.

So how can you thwart the pesky things? It’s hard to say. If you happen to develop them they may fade over time, but generally speaking, they never completely disappear. Thankfully, there are several treatment options for this that may help. Some women have undergone laser treatments following their pregnancies, and there are several topical medications available at your local pharmacy such as tretinoin (Retin-A) and glycolic acid. Keep in mind though, that Retin-A is not safe to use while pregnant or breastfeeding.

So what can you do to reduce the severity of stretch marks WHILE you’re pregnant?

Eat Healthy Foods

Since you’re already eating healthily during your pregnancy to nourish your baby and providing both you and your baby with optimal nutrition, isn’t it lovely that eating healthy foods also nourishes your skin? Although we’ve touched on this many times before, make sure you’re providing your body with plenty of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, calcium, protein and taking a prenatal vitamin, like PregnancyPlus Prenatal. Your baby, body and skin will thank you for it.

Water Is Your Best Friend

Every person, whether pregnant or not, male or female, should aim to drink eight of more glasses of water a day. As mentioned in a previous blog post, drinking the proper amount of water a day has so many health benefits, including maintaining healthy, hydrated skin and skin elasticity. Check out this blog to learn more about the benefits of drinking proper amounts of water while pregnant.

Watch Your Weight

Apparently, the recommended weight gain while pregnant is approximately 25-35 pounds. Of course, this number is highly subjective, as every woman carries differently. Furthermore, all women are genetically unique and have different body types. That being said, it is recommended that pregnant women follow the guidelines of gradual weight gain. The faster you gain baby weight, the more likely you are to develop stretch marks.

Exercise, Exercise, Exercise!

After giving birth, try to jump right back into the exercise regimen you were rocking before you got pregnant. Also, make sure you are remaining active during pregnancy as well, but always make sure to do exercises that are appropriate for every stage of your pregnancy. The further you progress into your pregnancy, the lower the impact of your exercising should be. After birth, keep tabs on yourself. Studies have shown that rapid weight LOSS can also produce stretch marks.

Moisturize That Belly

Although studies have no conclusive evidence that creams and lotions prevent stretch marks, applying them to you sides, lower back, thighs, legs, breasts and of course your belly can definitely help to reduce the dryness and itchiness associated with stretched skin. Pure lanolin, wheatgerm oil, cocoa butter, almond oil and shea butter are all good choices. Also check out the benefits of a product we sell called DreamBelly Stretch Mark Cream.

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