I hate to be the one to break the horrible news to you, but there is no scientifically proven, fool-proof way to prevent stretch marks on a pregnant body.
The main reason for this is the fact that stretch marks are lacerations deep down in the connective tissue of the skin caused by the necessary expansion, in an area no cream or oil is able to penetrate.
But don’t loose hope. There still are some things you can do to decrease the risk a little.
1. Look at your mother
The biggest factor is genetics. Just like you are likely to age like your parents did, chances are that your connective tissue is similar to your mothers. If she didn’t get them, you are less likely to develop them either.
2. Look at your body
It is common sense: If you are petite and very small in frame, expecting a big baby, your belly will have to stretch more than the one of a tall woman with a small baby. Same is true for being pregnant with multiples.
And it is not only the baby. Keeping the weight gain reasonable will help as well. Every pound you put on is more stretch on the skin!
3. The older you are, the better
Quite a surprise, hm? As we age, our skin gets saggy and less firm. And while we do not really appreciate this when it comes to our face and boobs, it really helps the skin stretch throughout pregnancy. The younger you are and the tighter your connective tissue is, the more likely it is that you will get stretch marks.
4. Keep hydrated and well-nourished
I have said it before, I will repeat: No oil or moisturizer will ever be able to fully prevent or heal stretch marks! But the better your skins condition, the better its ability to repair a little damage, and fully hydrated skin has more elasticity than dry one.
And of course, indulge in the skin foods: Omega 3, zinc, vitamins, everything that keeps the baby healthy will help your skin as well.
5. Creams and oils
So apart from drinking enough, which you should do anyways, go all in with the oils and creams. Jojoba and Almond Oil as well as Vitamin E are beneficial for the skin, so I tend to look for them when choosing my creams. Here is a link to what I used throughout my first pregnancy. This time I have loved the LUSH Dream Cream (see here) to alternate with the Bübchen Mama massage oil (see here). The cream contains oat milk and chamomile and really helped with the itchiness your skin develops when being stretched.
Or, to be exact: Increase the blood flow. The more blood flow, the better the skins supply with nutrients and oxygen. Well nourished skin is less prone to damage.
There are different ways to get the blood flowing: Contrast showers, massage and Dry Brushing. I have bought the Mio The Body Brush (on Cult Beauty here) a few months ago, mainly because I had been meaning to try it for ages and figured it would be a great time to start. So far I have been loving the effect and will update you on the long-term benefits in a few months.
Just a word of warning: A belly massage too intense can induce contractions, so if you are experiencing any discomfort, please stop.
33 weeks and how I am feeling
If anyone ever tells you the last weeks of pregnancy are fun, he is a liar. The belly has most likely reached a state where it is almost impossible to bend over (slip on shoes in the snow…), go longer than one hour without the need to pee or sleep more than five hours straight.
I feel the constant need to change my position throughout the day, because there is always some kind of lower or upper back pain, pain in the rib cage or in the symphysis that needs to be addressed, and no chair, couch or even bed is comfortable. Add in a minor case of “restless legs”, which I experienced throughout my last pregnancy as well and you will find me constantly on the move. But slowly, mind you, as just turning from one side to the other while lying in bed takes around 15 minutes and multiple cushion adjustments.
A heating pad has become my constant companion and walking up to our flat (three flights of stairs) leaves me breathless. Oh, and I am wearing compression stockings as well as sports or nursing bras (anything without wires). Sexy times!
But there is good as well:
Peanut has finally turned and settled head down, all ready to go, he is growing and very active and I am still getting some (very slow) exercise in. No problems with blood pressure, heart burn or diabetes have occurred and apart from being gigantic I am feeling pretty good. Most of my time is spend working on blog posts, so I have content prescheduled for the first weeks after delivery, and I really enjoy making You Tube videos while I still can. Nesting has kicked in as well and I keep organizing and rearranging things while fighting the urge to buy more stuff that I won’t need until the move come summer.
Yay for being on the home stretch!