There are so many joys that come along with pregnancy; the first time you find out you’re pregnant, the first sonogram photos, the first kick. But there are also some downsides--morning sickness being one (and don’t be fooled by the name, sometimes it’s morning, afternoon and night!), insane heartburn (why did I eat tomatoes?!?) and for some--stretch marks.
Some women proudly wear their stretch marks as a badge of honor, and we absolutely commend those women, but some want to avoid stretch marks. While stretch marks can sometimes be hereditary, there are a few things you can do to help avoid them or minimize them. Here are some helpful tips on how to prevent pregnancy stretch marks.
Manage Your Weight:
Stretch marks occur when your skin stretches rapidly after weight gain. An easy way to control this is to make sure you’re gaining the healthy amount of weight during your first, second and third trimester. We’re not telling you you can’t have that rocky road ice cream you’ve been craving all morning, but everything should be consumed in moderation. If you’re going to treat yourself with ice cream, make sure the rest of your meals that day are jam packed full of nutrition. According to the American Pregnancy Association, the following guidelines are suggested for weight gain: On a trimester basis in a woman with normal pre-pregnancy weight: First trimester: 1-4.5 pounds. Second trimester: 1-2 pounds per week. Third trimester: 1-2 pounds per week.
Avoid Scratching Your Skin:
When your skin starts to stretch to accommodate your growing baby, it starts to get itchy. DO NOT SCRATCH YOUR SKIN. If you find yourself getting itchy, apply some pregnancy safe moisturizer to your belly as a form of relief. Drinking a lot of water will also help minimize the itching.
Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize!
Oh, you don’t want to be a walking oil well during pregnancy? Sorry mama, it’s happening. Moisturizing your dry, itchy skin is one of the best ways to prevent pregnancy stretch marks. Earth Mama, Cocoa Butter and Clarins make great pregnancy related oils and lotions. Make sure it's a hypoallergenic formula and find one that’s right for you and your budget, and remember to ask your OB before you start. NOTE: **Do not start using until you’re in your second trimester. Avoid moisturizers that contain retinoids, retinols and tretinoin or vitamin A.
Get Vitamin D:
According to heathline, one study found a correlation between low levels of vitamin D and the incidence of stretch marks. And the best way to get some Vitamin D is to soak up some sun. So go ahead and get some ME time in and gets some sunshine.
We can’t emphasize this enough--you need to drink water, then drink some more water, then go pee and drink some more. Yes, tons of water = more trips to the bathroom, but staying hydrated is good for you, it’s good for the baby and it’s good for your skin. The Institute of Medicine’s current recommendations for daily water intake are 104 ounces for men and 72 ounces for women.