I’ve been able to prevent stretchmarks during three pregnancies so far. Preventing stretch marks during pregnancy takes some special attention and care for yourself, so your skin can slowly stretch as the baby grows. I am going to give a full rundown on caring for your belly, so you can hopefully prevent as many stretch marks as possible during your pregnancy.
And guess what?! I am now pregnant with my fourth baby, so I am doing all of these things AGAIN! So far, no stretch marks at 24 weeks. Let’s see how we do the rest of the way through!
Why do we get stretch marks during pregnancy?
Stretchmarks happen during pregnancy because our skin is forced to stretch too far too fast. Because this happens in a way that is difficult for the skin to adjust to, scars form. Basically, the skin stretches so much that it can’t repair itself in the process, and a scar forms. The collagen and fibers in the skin tear as it stretches, which is what leaves a mark that you can see.
During pregnancy, you are gaining weight and your body is getting bigger. Your skin has to accommodate for this and stretch, which sometimes happens beyond its ability to repair. The hormones during pregnancy also make the fibroblasts not as strong, so they don’t stretch as easily. Your collagen levels also reduce a bit during pregnancy, which makes skin less elastic. This combination of hormones and growing bellies leaves lots of room for stretch marks to happen.
So, how did I make it through three pregnancies with one small stretch mark? Here is the rundown on what I did, and what you can do!
1. Eat A Protein-Rich Diet:
Your skin loves protein. Protein is essential for your hair, skin, and nails. Eating a nutrient-dense diet, like the one I describe in this program is ESSENTIAL for your skin health.
I was able to gain just belly weight by sticking to a protein-rich and fiber-rich diet. I explain more in The Belly-Only Pregnancy, but basically, you want protein and/or fruits and veggies at every meal or snack. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE protein shakes. This is an awesome, safe protein powder that is full of high-quality, organic nutrients including folate (a big deal for pregnant mamas!!)! This protein powder is specifically formulated for pregnant mamas to help curb sugar cravings, and properly nourish mama and baby with superfoods like spirulina (super helpful for iron!), spinach, blueberries, turmeric, chromium, Vitamin B12, and more! It also tastes amazing and provides 16g of protein and only 100 calories per serving! I am LOVING it in my fourth pregnancy now.
2. Up Your Collagen Intake:
I currently take the Vital Proteins Collagen now, and I really like that it doesn’t have a taste, so I can throw it in my coffee or smoothies. Adding more collagen is really important because your body produces less collagen as you age. Adding more collagen also helps add in more protein. Two scoops of my Vital Proteins Collagen have 18 grams of protein too, so I am basically drinking collagen and protein coffee in the mornings! Collagen doesn’t have the extra nutrients, digestive enzymes, and probiotics as a protein powder, so that is why I suggest both of them blended in a smoothie together. If you are pregnant during the cooler months, soups made with bone broth are an AMAZING way to get more collagen in. This will help you infuse your skin with as much collagen as possible to help it stretch as the baby grows.
3. Moisturize + Hydrate Everywhere:
If your skin is dry, it can’t stretch as well. Keeping your skin moisturized with something like coconut oil, a moisturizing balm or a belly cream can be a great help. Drinking more water can really help with it, as well as consuming more omega-3 fatty acids. Consuming a diet rich in omega-3s supports ligament healing, reduces inflammation, and enhances collagen production. Get omega-3s from walnuts, pecans, soybean, flaxseed, and spinach. If you consume some more oil like olive oil and fish oils, it helps seep through to your skin, which can help it stay moisturized and stretch easier.
4. Control Weight Gain
This goes along with eating a healthy diet but is really important. By keeping your diet full of nutrient-dense foods, you will be able to maintain your weight gain, as well as get the essential nutrients for keeping your skin healthy. Focus on colorful fruits and veggies, lean protein, and the protein shakes I mention, and you will be good to go here. Also, add in lots of walking to keep your circulation and blood going to your skin. Movement is going to help with swelling too! Keeping swelling down with lots of water and movement will also keep your weight gain controlled too.
5. Vitamin C Intake
Check to see if your prenatal vitamin has Vitamin C in it. Vitamin C is really important to collagen production in your own body (without taking additional collagen), and for your skin to repair itself. Part of stretch marks is the inability to repair as fast as it needs to stretch. Vitamin C can help a lot with this, so adding in some extra vitamin C or making sure it is in your prenatal vitamin is really helpful. I also highly suggest a drinkable prenatal, which is easier to digest as well. These ones worked really well for me in all three pregnancies because the pill form made me way more nauseous!
I’m so excited to launch the new Baby Got Abs program coming soon!
This program will help you see your abs again after baby. If you are struggling to finally lose the mommy pooch, and your diastasis recti is healing, this program targets the loose skin and belly fat after pregnancy. Join the waitlist to get 50% off when the program launches!
These are 5 of the most important tips to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy. Stretchmarks are not fun at all, and once you have them, they can be super difficult to soften or get rid of. I’ll have a post coming on soon on how to care for and minimize stretch marks once you have them, but of course, the best way is to prevent them during pregnancy altogether!
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