Saturday, March 05, 2011

Stretch Mark Prevention in Pregnancy - My Personal Guide

Even though the skin is very elastic, rapid weight gain and excessive stretching like in pregnancy (or puberty) can cause the skin to tear and scar.  Stretch marks can even appear with weight loss.  Especially if it was a large amount.  As unsightly and devastating these can be to a woman some would say it's the battle wounds of pregnancy and they would wear their scars proudly.  But if you could prevent it - wouldn't you?  No one chooses to have stretch marks.  It's just a harsh reality of life.  According to WebMD 90% of woman get stretch marks and genetics play a huge part.  "Basically, if your mother had them, you're probably going to have them," says Leslie Baumann, MD, director of the University of Miami Cosmetic Group and author of The Skin Type Solution.  Well, I may disagree with that quote.  And that is what this post is about.  I am genetically disposed to getting stretch marks.  My mother and my sisters all got them.  I had two children, close in age.  I gained 28lbs with my first and I was 42lbs overweight with my second.  And I got not one stretch mark.  How did I do that?  Well I am going to tell you exactly what I did with both pregnancies.  Now I am not claiming that you will not get stretch marks.  What I am trying to say is that I am a testimonial of genetically disposed woman that didn't get stretch marks.  It didn't come easy.  I had a routine that I religiously stuck too and never strayed.  At times I felt sticky and smelled of minerals.  But the payoff was worth it all.  There are ways to minimize the appearance of stretch marks but stretch marks are a permanent fixture once they appear.  I am hoping this may help out other woman with their quests to prevent stretch marks.  Before you do anything I am recommending you check with your doctor FIRST for absolute certainty what is appropriate for you.   Let's start out with the basics and common sense ones then we will go on to a month by month routine.  Click on the links for buying info.

1.Moisturize!  This starts from the inside out.  Yes, that means DRINK WATER.  And tons of it!  The recommended daily intake amount is 8-10 8oz glasses a day.  Drink 10-12 8oz glasses during pregnancy.
2.Lotions and oils are a great way to moisturize from the outside and penetrates into the skin.  I will explain more of this in the month by month part.
3.Vitamin E used topically (not internally) is know for general healing of the skin and can reduce the appearance of stretch marks.  Use only the 100% natural form in 1000 iu capsules.  You can get this for really cheap at Puritan's Pride.  See below for routine.
4.Eat a healthy diet rich in vitamin and minerals.  In particular zinc, vitamin C, vitamin E, and silica which can all be found in green leafy vegetables and fruits. 
5.I took the supplement Juice Plus in double doses.  I consulted with my doctor and she approved of this.  Mainly because nothing in Juice Plus is synthetic or added.  It is just flash frozen fruits and vegetables with the water and sugars removed.  I took the Orchard, Vineyard and Garden Blends.  This is especially important if you are having a hard time eating your healthy foods. 
6.Take a Pre Natal Vitamin.  GNC has an amazing one the includes 600mg of Calcium!
7.Exercise.  If your doctor gives you the a-OK.  Exercise circulates your blood and circulates in the affected tissues.  This is also good for your mind and focus.
8.Rest.  Your body needs rest to rejuvenate itself.
9.Chill out on the weight gain.  I'm not saying don't enjoy the pregnancy perks or don't gain any weight at all.  Just stay within your recommended range determined by your doctor.  Your body only needs 300 more calories per day for a healthy woman to support pregnancy.  Excess weight gain too fast will cause stretch marks.

Month to Month Routine:
Entire Pregnancy: Vaseline's Cocoa Butter Lotion, all over my body 2x daily.

Day 1 - 4 Months:  I used 2x a day Palmer's Stretch Mark Cream on my hips, butt, bust, thighs and tummy.

4 Months - 6 Months: Switch to 1000 iu 100% Natural Vitamin E capsules.  3 for the frontal areas and 3 for the hips and butt.  Use a safety pin to puncture a hole and squeeze the contents into the palm of your hand.  Warm up the product in your hands and apply.  Do this at night.  Use the Palmer's lotion during the day as needed.  Which means when you are feeling dry or itchy or use Almond Oil (see below).

6 Months - 8 Months: Use the Vitamin E routine Day and Night now.  Discontinue using Palmer's and switch to Pure Almond Oil.  Almonds are know for it's anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants.  And it smells good!  I put this on all the time and all over my body.  Almond oil is great for your skin even if you are not pregnant.  You can purchase this at fine grocery stores in the baking section.

8 Months - End: Use the Vitamin E routine 3 x a day.  Continue using Almond oil as needed several times a day.

Tip: I used Belly Bands to help keep the product from getting on my clothes.  And it was helpful in supporting my belly. 

After pregnancy Tip:  This is a HUGE tip that saved my droopy skin after the birth of my babies.  Use Pure Grapeseed Oil all over you butt, hips, thighs, bust and belly.  Grapeseed oil is know for it's benefits of retracting the skin back.  I have absolutely NO crepeing of the skin and it is very smooth.  I give this as a gift to all my new Mom friends!  You can buy this at grocery stores everywhere including Winco.  Good Luck!

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