Motherhood is the time when all women experience abundant joy. The thrill of being a new mother and the care and concern offered by near and dear ones are all tremendously satisfying. But there are other aspects of motherhood that can be extremely distressing to many women.
One of the most important causes for heartache is the permanent scar of stretch marks which you have to live with all your life. More than 90 percent of pregnant women get stretch marks during pregnancy. This is due to the rapid weight gain, especially around the waist, hip and the breast area leaving them with unsightly marks that never completely fade away. This is because stretch marks cause permanent damage to the middle layer of skin called dermis.
Many factors like genetic disposition, weight gain, hormone imbalances and vitamin deficiency can cause stretch marks. Once you get stretch marks, no amount of creams or treatments can completely remove them. So the best way to keep away from them is to do everything possible to prevent their occurrence. Pregnancy is the time when most women get stretch marks on their body.
A little care at home can prevent scars on the skin and leave you with a glowing post pregnancy skin, devoid of any wear and tear. You need not go hunting for expensive creams and concoctions for controlling stretch marks during pregnancy. Care for the skin must start well before the second trimester as this is the time when stretch marks start to appear.
Importance of Moisturising your Skin to Prevent Stretch Marks
Skin needs abundant moisture to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy, especially dry skin. The elastin and collagen in dry skin tend to break faster than skin that is well nourished and moisturised. Skin must be moisturised externally and at the same time a pregnant woman must ensure that she take plenty of liquids to hydrate the skin from within. No amounts of nourishment from outside will help if you avoid drinking water and other liquids.
For external moisturising, choosing a good nourishing cream that suits your skin is essential. This can be easily made at home. The most commonly used creams and oils and the ones having the best nourishing and moisturising properties are cocoa butter, shea butter, vitamin E oil, olive oil, almond oil and lavender oil. Any of these naturally occurring substances can be used for massaging the areas that could be prone to stretch marks. Massaging stimulates collagen production and maintains elasticity.
Massaging can be started from the beginning of the third month of pregnancy. You can mix the oils with the creams for better results. Aloe vera and olive oil can be mixed to form a great nourishing cream that soothes the skin and give it elasticity and moisture and hence preventing the occurrence of stretch marks. Similarly, cocoa butter, wheat germ and Vitamin E can be mixed to form another great massage cream. Make sure you massage the areas twice every day for maximum protection, whatever oil or cream you use.
Importance of a Diet Rich In Vitamins and Minerals To Prevent Stretch Marks
Stretch marks can be caused due to the deficiency of essential, vitamins, proteins and minerals in the body. So a healthy diet rich in vitamin E, A, C and antioxidants help to keep the skin well nourished internally. You can also add foods that are rich in omega three fatty acids for a healthy skin tone. Fresh fruits, green leafy vegetables, fish, eggs, cereals etc. must be added in your daily diet. These foods will provide the skin with enough nourishment to combat loss of elasticity.
Importance of Weight Control to Prevent Stretch Marks
Most women gain weight uncontrollably during their pregnancy. Sudden weight gain is one of the reasons for development of stretch marks. You must eat a balanced diet and at the same time keep control of your weight during pregnancy. Many women follow the wrong belief that they must eat for two people while they advance in pregnancy. This is a wrong and baseless assumption. Ensuring that you eat a balanced diet and not eat uncontrollably will help you keep your weight under check.
Weight gained during pregnancy could be difficult to shed. Preventing drastic weight gain will not only help you prevent the occurrence of stretch marks, but also help you to get back in shape soon after you start weaning. Women only need to gain an extra 25-35 pounds if you are in the normal weigh category. For obese women, the weight gain must be much less.
Importance of Exercise to Prevent Stretch Marks
Exercise during pregnancy has many benefits. They help in keeping your weight under control, prevent the occurrence and reduction of stretch marks and also help in making the labour and delivery a smooth and uncomplicated process. Skin retains it elasticity while you exercise. During exercise, the natural skin oils are secreted by the sebaceous glands, preventing dryness and providing abundant moisture and strength to prevent tearing of skin due to excessive stretching.
Toning exercises can be done with the advice of a registered practitioner during pregnancy. Toning is good for people who already have stretch marks as they help in tightening the skin to its normal state. Yoga is also a good alternative as it has many light exercises for pregnant women. Whatever exercise you do, make sure you do not over exert or stretch your abdominal, pelvic and back muscles too much.
While all these tips will surely help you in preventing stretch marks, they may not be sure cut ways to prevent stretch marks as individual result vary. If you are genetically pre disposed to stretch marks, you could still be susceptible to getting them in spite of all the precautions.
But the intensity would be much less as you have taken adequate care. However, if you have still have stretch marks and would like to remove them permanently, you could try laser treatments, microdermabrasion and other invasive and non- invasive stretch mark removal techniques after consulting a skin care specialist for the same.
Photo Credit: Stretchcream.org