During pregnancy, a lot happens to your body. To make room for the baby, a natural process is set in motion, stimulated by hormones. For example, the extra production of estrogen makes your skin more supple and allows it to stretch. Very nice of course, but why on earth do stretch marks form? We explain it all and give you tips on how to prevent stretch marks. Read along!
How do stretch marks develop?
Simply when your body grows faster than your skin can cope with. For example during pregnancy, a growth spurt in your youth or through gaining a lot of weight in a short period of time. The growth causes small tears in your connective tissue and these are visible from the outside; on the abdomen, but also on the breast, legs and in some cases the arms. By keeping your connective tissue supple you can therefore reduce the risk of stretch marks.
How do you prevent stretch marks?
Keep your connective tissue supple. Here's how you do it:
Moisturise. Whether you are pregnant or not, your skin and body need moisture for the production of new cells, but also for the elastin in your skin. Help your body by drinking at least 1.5-2 litres of water, also during pregnancy.
Do a daily abdominal massage. It may only take 5 minutes, but this action will stimulate your connective tissue and nourish your skin if you use a rich oil to do this. Extra fun: it's also a good way to connect with your baby.
Lubricate, lubricate, lubricate. Stretched out, stressed skin can become itchy or dry. It's a natural process, but one we can support ourselves by applying lotion from the start. A great product for this is a Belly Balm: a body oil especially made to use during your pregnancy. Oh, and let's not take hot showers, eh? Speaking of which.
Take alternating showers. Right, this will stimulate your blood circulation and also strengthen your connective tissue.
Wear supportive clothing. Yes, just like your breasts, your belly needs a little support. This will reduce the extra stretch. Now you will not score the most beautiful outfits in the preggo category, but at least go for a good basic top or shirt. Wear your cool hoodie or cardigan over it.
Easy on the candy! It makes sense that your eating pattern will change during your pregnancy. But... if you want to prevent stretch marks you will have to keep yourself in control a little bit. Still want to snack? Go for protein- and fibre-rich snacks, they will make you feel full faster. Like peanut butter, crackers, apples, yoghurt with nuts and fruit, smoothies etc.
Final result. You can do anything, but you can't really prevent it 100%. Stretch marks can also be hereditary. The tips above are there to support the natural process and to soften the situation, both literally and figuratively.