Two years ago, during my first pregnancy, the minute the test turned positive I ran out to the nearest drug store and picked up a giant bottle of Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula for Stretch Marks. I would rub it all over my boobs and belly religiously every day (sometimes more than once a day) and recite a silent prayer to the stretch mark gods above.
Much to my relief, I escaped the first pregnancy without a single line.
And this pregnancy? Maybe I’ll give myself a rub down twice a week with regular old body lotion. You see, the second time around you’re too busy with the first kid to do things like put lotion on your self to avoid stretch marks. However, here in the sixth month, I don’t have any signs of them yet.
So what gives? I did some research and here’s what I’ve found.
It’s not so much about the moisturizing as it is about how quickly you gain weight. The faster you gain weight (and the more weight you gain than recommended) will cause marks because your skin is stretching faster than it can keep up.
Here are four things you can do to avoid stretch marks:
1.) Eat a Healthy Diet – This will ensure you are nourishing both you and baby. Take your prenatal vitamins and eat the right amount of calories. Don’t over indulge (I know, easy to say, not so easy to do!)
2.) Eight Glasses A Day – Fill up on water to make sure you are properly hydrated for your skin to maintain its elasticity. The current health recommendations call for eight or more glasses of water a day. Drinking lots of water will also fill your belly and give you more energy/hydration so you may not feel like eating as much.
3.) Gain it Slow – If you’re at a healthy weight at the start of your pregnancy, doctors will recommend you gain about 25-35 pounds during the course of your pregnancy. The faster you gain weight, the more likely you are to get stretch marks, so take it easy on those unhealthy cravings.
4.) Moisturize Your Lady Bits – Creams and lotions will keep your skin moisturized and help you feel less itchy and dry, but ironically they’ve never been medically proven to prevent stretch marks.
And remember, sometimes it is just genetics so you may just need to embrace your new child-bearing body for the long haul!
About the Contributor: Amy G. is the mom to a beautiful baby girl and pregnant with baby #2 (due January 2012). She is a regular contributor to The Belly Blog, a blog for pregnant women and is sponsored by Lullabelly, a prenatal musical belt.