Congratulations! If you’re reading this article, it means you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant, so welcome to this fascinating world that’ll change not only your body but also your entire life. 😉
We’d like to give you some tips to help you stay positive throughout this wonderful period and to feel beautiful and sexy despite all your body’s changes.
Our biggest concern
Aesthetically speaking, perhaps the thing that worries us most during this joyful time are the much-feared stretch marks we may develop, but we have to understand that they’re quite common, especially when a person experiences rapid and significant weight gain. This usually happens during puberty and particularly during pregnancy, when they show up mainly on our abdomen, chest, lower back and buttocks.
Stretch marks are primarily caused by the “mechanical” stretching of the skin and by poor nutrition and hydration.
And if you’re wondering how to get rid of them, we can guarantee that it’s nearly impossible; that’s why it’s always best to prevent them.
Let’s take a closer look at the realm of stretch marks.
What are stretch marks?
They’re skin lesions that form bands of relatively parallel lines on your skin. They initially have a purplish hue and later become white or flesh-coloured and, as we said before, they mainly affect the abdomen, buttocks, hips, thighs, lower back and chest.
When do stretch marks appear?
For pregnant women, they appear while our abdomen is growing, which stretches the skin and tears the dermis, resulting in these unflattering marks. They generally develop during the third trimester when the skin on our abdomen stretches the most. Also, the constant hormonal changes during pregnancy affect our skin and make it easier for them to develop.
However, stretch marks are not exclusively caused by pregnancy. They can occur due to genetics or to sudden weight gain, like during puberty, when our body also undergoes substantial changes. And we mustn’t forget that men are also prone to developing them.
How can I avoid getting stretch marks during pregnancy?
We warned you before that it’s no easy task, but if you’re consistent and follow these simple tips, you can certainly prevent them.
- Keep your skin moisturized. After showering, generously apply a nourishing moisturizer, and if you can do so several times a day, your skin will be grateful. Apply it thoroughly to your abdomen, hips, buttocks, lower back and chest. There’s no such thing as a “cream for mums-to-be” or the “best anti-stretch-mark pregnancy cream”, but there are key active principles to look for, which we’ll talk about later.
- Stay hydrated. Drink at least two litres of water daily. Your skin and your baby will thank you for it.
- Eat a balanced diet. This is a recurring theme in all of our articles, so if you follow us, you already know that a healthy, well-balanced diet is synonymous with radiant skin. Moreover, it’ll help you control your weight. You can forget what your grandmother told you about “eating for two”.
- Exercise. Being pregnant is no excuse to sit around. Walk, swim or do other types of exercise to maintain your muscle tone and stay fit.
- Apply an anti-stretch-mark cream. This is essential to prevent them, and it should be applied daily to the most susceptible areas. Look for one that has regenerative and nourishing active principles, like musk rose and oatmeal extract, in addition to other active principles that repair and stimulate the fibres and collagen in your skin. We suggest: Sensory Nature’s Preventive Anti-Stretch-Mark Cream.
Remember that proper skincare is just as important during pregnancy as it is after giving birth. Apply a firming post-partum cream for at least six months, or until your body returns to its pre-pregnancy state, which is specially formulated with powerful active principles to progressively firm and smooth your skin’s tissues, providing long-lasting results.
When should I start using an anti-stretch-mark cream?
Using an anti-stretch-mark cream from day one will decrease the likelihood that they’ll appear. Stretch marks are ideally treated in the initial stage, when they’ve just formed and have a reddish or purplish colour. When they start to turn white, they’re more difficult to eliminate.
Monitor them daily, especially during the last trimester when you gain the most weight and they’re more prone to emerge.
How can I prevent cellulite during pregnancy?
We also tend to develop cellulite during pregnancy, and this is mainly due to two factors:
- fluid retention, which is common during this time, and
- the secretion of prolactin, the hormone that prepares the mammary glands for lactation and that also produces fat cells, which increase fluid retention in your body’s tissues.
You can read more about cellulite in our article: “How to get rid of Cellulite”.
Sun protection during pregnancy
Sun protection is currently a must whether you’re pregnant or not, but during this blissful time we have to be even more careful to prevent unflattering chloasma from appearing. This is a type of blemish that develops during pregnancy and is caused by hormonal changes, which increase the production of melanin (a pigment that gives skin its colour). Many times these blemishes linger even after giving birth.
To prevent them, we should cover our face, neck and chest entirely, and apply SPF 30 or 50 on the rest of our body, making sure to reapply frequently.
But don’t forget that your body needs the sun to get enough vitamin D, which helps it absorb calcium to keep your bones strong. So keep enjoying it! Just make sure you protect yourself properly.
Exercises during pregnancy
Moderate physical activity with some aerobic exercise is ideal to maintain your muscle tone during pregnancy. You can swim, walk, ride a bike (on flat ground) or even play golf.
The important thing is that you choose a sport you enjoy and feel good doing and that helps tone your muscles, especially your abdomen, pelvis and lower back, which will help you withstand the pressure and excess weight from the baby’s growth.
Exercise is always beneficial since, in addition to improving your physical fitness, it stimulates circulation, increases your lung capacity, helps correct your posture, and it will allow you to regain your pre-baby body more quickly after birth.
Exercise at least three times per week and remember that intense workouts shouldn’t last more than 15 minutes.
Diet during pregnancy
Ultimately, you need to eat a varied and balanced diet — which you should already be doing every day — but pay special attention to getting enough of the following:
- Omega-3 fatty acids. They’re essential during pregnancy as they help your baby’s immune system develop properly. They’re mainly found in oil-rich fish. Strive to eat them at least three times per week, but limit your consumption of tuna and swordfish due to their high mercury content.
- Carbohydrates. They’ll provide both you and your baby with energy, and they should make up half of your daily calorie intake. Good sources are jams, honey and legumes, as well as whole wheat bread, pasta, cereal, rice, etc.
- Protein. Eggs, meat, fish, cereal and nuts are all necessary for your baby’s growth and development, but you don’t need to increase your usual intake.
- Fibre. This is vital to avoid constipation, which is all too common during pregnancy. Make sure you’re eating plenty of fruit, vegetables, legumes and whole grains (bread, pasta and rice).
- Additional supplements. These include folic acid, iodine, iron and vitamin B12, but it’s best to consult your doctor before taking them.
We’d love to hear your favourite tips for a healthy pregnancy! Feel free to leave us a comment below.