You are possibly delighted anticipating the birth of your little one. But is the thought of post-pregnancy stretch marks clouding your happiness? These ugly looking marks can leave your skin scarred and not very pleasant to look at. Not all is lost yet, because there are a number of preventive measures you can take to avoid stretch marks during pregnancy.
What are stretch marks?
Stretch marks are very common among pregnant women, often occurring in 90% of the pregnancies. In terms of appearance, they look like vertical indented lines in colours such as purple, light grey and pink. These lines develop around the breasts, stomach and hips from the 6th or 7th month of pregnancy.
Stretch marks develop because the collagen that usually keeps your skin firm and taut tends to snap when a woman is pregnant. This snapping takes place because women gain weight quickly when they are pregnant.
Your best chance of getting rid of stretch marks is to treat it early. Once the marks take on a white hue, it is very difficult to remove them.
How can you avoid stretch marks during pregnancy?
- Drink plenty of water
Dehydration can cause your skin to turn dry and rough. If you are well hydrated, it will reflect on your skin, making it soft. Softer skin is less prone to stretch marks than dry skin.
Moreover, adequate water intake has other benefits. It helps prevent common pregnancy problems like morning sickness, urinary tract infections, and fatigue.
- Bask in the sun
Sunlight contains an essential nutrient – vitamin D. This nutrient can prevent stretch marks during pregnancy. Note that you should not stay out in the sun for too long, because you could end up with sunburns. You should also avoid the sun when it is at its strongest point (between 9 am and 3 pm).
Your skin is sensitive during pregnancy, so watch out for signs of discomfort when you are soaking in sunlight.
- Vitamins – get plenty of them
You have to eat a balanced diet at every stage of your life. But if there is one stage where it’s crucial, it is when you are pregnant. A healthy diet will include essential vitamins like vitamin C, E and Zinc – all of which can help you to avoid stretch marks during pregnancy.
You need to incorporate different food groups in your diet such as grains, vegetables, fruits and dairy products for this purpose.
- Don’t allow weight gain to be rapid
There is no denying the fact that pregnancy means weight gain. However, rapid weight gain can cause your skin to be stretched quickly. This results in stretch marks. Two ways you can keep your weight gain slow is by monitoring your calorie intake and exercising.
- Be prompt with stretch marks
If you notice a stretch mark, treat it immediately. If you allow stretch marks to remain, then removing them at a later stage is very difficult.
You can use Vitamin E creams or creams that include Shea butter/Cocoa to treat stretch marks.
Stretch marks are can be troublesome. Some stretch marks usually fade away after pregnancy. For the ones that don’t seem to fade away, you can talk to a doctor for further treatment.