i snagged my blog title from a random preggo message board concerning weight gain and had to include it in this post somewhere! while the commenter was being funny, there is so much truth to her statement. i stated on IG that the full list for preventing 'stretchies' (as my best friend refers to them) would be posted here to my blog, but honestly the list is quite short and sweet and focuses on these 3 things: skin, diet, and exercise.
overall great health begins on the inside, and so does the handling and even prevention of 'tiger stripes'. i do the whole cocoa butter & sometimes olive oil thing on my belly at night (ok almost every night..sometimes i'm already in the bed and say screw it) and sure, that helps to keep my belly smooth, moisturized, and the itching to a minimum. does that actually prevent them from forming? in my opinion, not at all. i don't believe they are hereditary either, but eating habits can be. nevertheless, stretch marks are caused by ----->rapid<------ weight gain and / or weight loss. for all the creams, treatments, and remedies i researched, avoiding aggressive weight gain is usually in the fine print somewhere and one of the biggest factors in avoiding stretchies altogether. since babies don't go/grow from 0 to 60 in the blink of an eye in your belly, it's important to make the weight gain process a gradual thing as best you can. now, i have a few preggo friends fighting hard to get through their first trimesters, and i can empathize with them greatly as the memory of my own is still pretty strong :shock: . for the majority of women, you either can't eat a thing, or you want to eat everything during that time span. or, you can only eat certain things without...well, you know. so when your appetite and normal eating patterns have pretty much been shot for a few weeks or more, motivation to stay active, be active, and eat healthy can be at an all time low. what has worked for me after getting back on track around week 14? read on!
1. eating a skin nourishing diet
- antioxidants - nourishes and protects skin. eat leafy, dark greens, blueberries, strawberries, and fresh, unprocessed produce, period.
- vitamin E - protects skin cell membranes. eat nuts, seeds, avocados, broccoli, cabbage (pictured above and part of my dinner one night), and collard greens.
- vitamin A - repairs skin tissues. eat carrots, sweet potatoes, mango, squash, & red bell peppers.
- omega 3s - keeps cell membranes healthy for glowing skin. eat fish (salmon's a winner), fish oil supplements, walnuts, eggs and oysters.
- prenatal pills - keep popping them, everyday.
2. chug, chug, chugging that H2O
- keep those skin cells plump and hydrated by drinking a full glass or bottle of water with every meal. how much in a day exactly? half your body weight in oz is a standard rule, especially if you are staying active. i know, pee, pee, and more peeeeeeeee
- all natural, flavored, herbal, decaffeinated teas (in the bag) sweetened with Stevia have helped me achieve my water intake goal these days.
- seltzer water with a bit of 100% juice is awesome too and the closest thing to soda i will go.
- snacking on water-filled fruits and veggies counts too. watermelon, strawberries, cantaloupe, honeydew, cucumbers, bell peppers, & celery are great picks.
- if you're a reader of my blog then you know physical activity is automatic and understood! exercising keeps your skin elastic, flexible, improves your body's blood circulation, keeps those joint lubricated and from getting stiff...the list goes on. plus it just makes you feel so much better in most cases. you'll need all the endorphins you can scrounge up.. every drop.
- staying active *drum roll* prevents you from gaining too much weight too fast which is what we're trying to prevent!
- as you grow, modify your movements and your workouts as needed. as i near the 3rd tri, prenatal yoga, the elliptical, walking outside, zumba, and spinning will be my go-to activities. light weight training here are there for my back and upper body, but that's about it. slow down, but don't stop.
KEEP IT GOING. exercise will be added back into your routine eventually, but use that inactive window of time to sustain those healthy nutritional habits as you enjoy your newborn, breastfeeding or not. your skin and body will still need to get those vitamins and nutrients to renew itself from all the stretching. no crash diets! you'll need to lose the weight as gradually as you gained it.
if you get'em, treat'em
- bio oil - this method gets high marks and reviews across the WWW as it is great for both old and new scars.
- glycollic acid - women who use this cream on new stretch marks saw huge improvement as it is proven to boost collagen. the word 'acid' always makes me raise an eyebrow, but unlike Retin-A, which apparently causes severe birth defects if you are preggo or breastfeeding, you can safely use this cream during and after pregnancy. it can be bought over the counter, but you can get a stronger dose from a dermatologist. read up on the pros and cons of this method.
- laser treatments - this is not my area of expertise, but according to Dr. Oz, banishing them completely is just not possible at this time. laser treatments can successfully reduce redness, diminish the appearance of white marks, and improve the texture of the skin, making them a lot less noticeable though.
- and then i came across a story that was shared on bodybuilding.com from a young lady with a surefire stretch mark treatment (and four kiddos later might i add). it's worth reading and checking out her progress pics; some of her methods just might work for you too.
battle scars, stretchies, war wounds, tiger stripes, etc...there are far worse things to worry about. so nip them in the bud while you can, or minimize them as best you can. these knuckleheads were worth it.
Q: what has worked for YOU? prevention and minimization? share and help another mama out.