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The pregnancy period is beautiful and exciting in many aspects. The prospective mother relishes every moment of nurturing the life growing inside of her. On the down side, the hormonal and physical changes taking place in the body end up leaving some undesirable effects. Pregnancy stretch marks are among the set-backs that an expectant or new mother has to deal with. The marks are occasioned by the rapid weight gain within a period of only 9 months and the equally fast loss of weight after delivery.
As the baby is growing, the skin is stretched past its elastic limit causing the fibers to tear under the resultant pressure. The marks are seen through the translucent skin layer as purple or red streaks. They are most prominent on the abdomen, buttocks, thighs and breasts. They are likely to appear in the third trimester when the baby is growing rapidly.
Pregnancy stretch marks are unsightly and often never disappear completely. Coupled with the weight gain, they leave most women very uncomfortable with their looks. Since they affect 50% of all pregnant women, it is advisable that you take all the necessary measures to prevent them before they appear. If you are wondering how to prevent pregnancy stretch marks, you will be relieved to learn that it can be done in a number of ways. Here are some methods that will help you maintain your skin:
Tips to Prevent Stretch Marks during Pregnancy
Regulate the Weight Gain
Although the extra pounds are inevitable, you can regulate the rate of weight gain by watching your diet. In most cases, pregnancy is accompanied by increased appetite and random cravings. There is the temptation to keep eating as long as your body craves for food, which will eventually work against you. Furthermore, your body is likely to crave for sweet and fatty foods which appeal to the taste buds. Such eating habits will see the pounds piling rapidly, accompanied by the unsightly stretch marks. If you are of normal weight, you should add about 25 to 35 pounds during the pregnancy period, and slightly more if you are carrying twins.
To maintain this range, include lots of fruits and vegetables in your diet. They will ensure that your body stays hydrated and also nourish your unborn baby. Consume a healthy amount of calories as well as proteins, whole grains and calcium.
The importance of water cannot be under-rated in learning how to prevent pregnancy stretch marks. Other than fruits and vegetables as earlier mentioned, you must drink plenty of water on a daily basis. Hydrated skin is more elastic and can withstand a fair amount of stretching before it tears and forms stretch marks. An average of 8 glasses every day should be good enough. You can substitute some of the plain water with other healthy drinks such as fresh juice. Dehydrated skin only increases your chances of developing pregnancy stretch marks.
Moisturizing lotions and creams have been known to prevent the appearance of stretch marks. Massage the oil gently onto your belly, breasts, thighs, sides and any other areas that you deem prone to stretch marks. This routine works best when repeated in the morning and evening. The massage stimulates the blood circulation in the vulnerable areas preventing the formation of stretch marks. Some of the most effective lotions include cocoa butter, shea butter, almond oil and wheat germ oil. Pure lanolin also produces excellent results. You may experience some itching on the spots that are being stretched. It is advisable to use extra moisturizer on these vulnerable areas. Vitamin E is also an effective ingredient in fighting stretch marks.
Regular exercise has several benefits for you and your baby. You can choose the mode that you are most comfortable with such as aerobics, walking, swimming or the gym. If you are not sure of how to prevent pregnancy stretch marks using exercise, you can consult your doctor who will recommend the most effective form of exercise for you. Exercise leaves your abdominal muscles toned and firm enough to withstand a good amount of stretching. It will also help you regulate your weight, which also serves a similar purpose as illustrated earlier. Well-toned muscles are essential in the moment of delivery as well.
There are a number of pills on sale that have shown considerable success in prevention of stretch marks. These pills are taken at the first sign of stretch mark formation. They are formulated to boost the production of collagen which is essential in rebuilding the skin. Such skin is better equipped to deal with the pressure without tearing and it is able to heal quickly, further reducing the instances of stretch marks. It is important to note that these products should only be used after the approval of your doctor. Some of the pills may contain certain compounds that are not healthy for the baby. Once you identify the safe pills, you are a step closer to a stretch mark free pregnancy.
Keep up the Regime after Delivery
You might be surprised to know that you are as vulnerable to stretch marks after delivery just as you are during pregnancy. This is because the sudden weight loss gives the skin little time to adjust and it shrinks rapidly. If you stop applying the above instructions immediately after delivery, stretch marks will soon appear. It is advisable to continue with the regime until you get back to your original or target weight. Avoid crash weight loss diets which may not only affect you but also your breastfeeding baby.
Hopefully, you have now learnt how to prevent pregnancy stretch marks. Remember genetics and hormonal imbalances also have a role to play in the appearance of stretch marks, so you may not be able to avoid them entirely. In such a case, the methods illustrated can still help you reduce them to a minimum. If you already had stretch marks prior to our pregnancy, these same steps will help you to prevent their aggravation and make your pregnancy a stress-free experience..