Believe it or not, I have met many women who have purposefully gone against their want of a child because they were afraid they would lose their hourglass figure or get stretch marks. It is a fact that more than 75 percent of women who become pregnant develop stretch marks. Many experts will tell you that stretch marks are almost a hundred percent possibility during pregnancy, particularly because of the sudden stretching of the skin, and the even more sudden shrinkage after childbirth.
Stretch marks are scientifically known as striae gravidarum. They have various appearances, and look like streaks on the skin surface. Lighter-skinned individuals may develop darker-colored stretch marks, wherein the streaks are pinkish or reddish, whereas people of color get marks that are lighter or more silvery than the rest of the skin. However, they may also get darker, purplish stretch marks. When the marks have just appeared, they are usually darker and more prominent, but over time, and with treatment, they gradually fade to become silvery streaks but do not totally disappear.
Among pregnant women, the most common areas where the streaks develop are on the abdomen, breasts, buttocks, thighs and hips. Because of their nature, stretch marks should be prevented before they appear. Here are powerful ways you can combat these streaks before, during and even after pregnancy.
Mind your gain. A balanced diet and meals in adequate proportions help you keep your weight gain optimal for your baby as well as your skin. A diet that’s rich in nutrients, vitamins and minerals feed your largest organ, the skin. You can also prevent drastic changes in your weight gain, so the stretching of your skin is more controlled and even, greatly diminishing the likelihood of stretch marks appearance.
Butter up. Many mothers and mothers-to-be swear by applying cocoa butter on their bellies and other areas prone to stretch marks. There are several preparations in the market today that contain a considerable amount of cocoa butter. You can rub some as liberally as you want all over your skin. Cocoa butter is deeply moisturizing and it enhances your skin’s elasticity, making it less prone to ‘tearing’, the phenomenon behind the development of the streaks. Even when you get stretch marks, cocoa butter helps lighten them faster and soothes your skin from the itching.
>> Read more: Hiding Your Stretch Marks
Love your nuts. Nuts and seeds are a great source of zinc, which is helpful in toning the skin, especially during a time of stretching and pulling such as pregnancy. Enjoy your grains, nuts and seeds as a snack, or as an added crunch to any of your meals. Besides zinc, they also are a great source of protein.
Brush, brush, brush. Experts believe that the more circulation there is to the body, that lesser chance there is for stretch marks to appear. Use a wash cloth, an exfoliating glove, or a body brush to massage certain areas of your skin where stretch marks are most likely to surface. Better circulation also prevents that dull look and gives you nice, rosy skin all over.
Love yourself. If you still get them, don’t become fixated. Stretch mark development in women is largely genetic. Also, you will need to understand that you are pregnant, and you will stretch whether you like it or not. Instead of focusing on how unsightly they are, think of your stretch marks as your marks of motherhood. Enjoy your precious baby, and continue to love yourself for who you are. Stretch marks do fade over time, and you will fall in love with your baby in the next few months to even notice them. Welcome to motherhood!
Skinny Mom Fact: Stretch marks are not a problem just for women! They can happen to men as well. Sudden changes in weight can result in marks regardless of gender.