Yesterday my mother saw my stomach as I was changing and exclaimed, “You didn’t get stretch marks!?!” Most women get stretchmarks during pregnancy, but a lucky few do not. Research shows that genetics has a lot to do with it. And yet, my mother and sister both got a fair amount of stretch marks, but I did not – at least not on my belly – even after two pregnancies. How’s that?
First off, I realize that getting stretch marks is not the end of the world. It’s true that a woman has more pressing concerns during pregnancy than preserving her smooth skin. She’s got a lot to do between having a healthy baby, preparing for birth and shopping for must-have bedding and gear. And yet, all of us do have some concern over the fate of our looks, do we not? And if we can preserve our youth without threatening our health or baby’s, why not?
I believe that most women can prevent or greatly reduce stretch marks with frequent and early use of conditioning oil. Before my first pregnancy, I worked with pregnant women in a local maternity boutique. It was there that I first became aware of all the many creams, oils and solutions designed to prevent or fade stretch marks. I learned that oils are better than creams, as far as efficacy, since they are more readily absorbed into the skin. I learned that those who shopped for fading creams usually wished they had used a preventative product during their pregnancy. I decided I would invest in a bottle of preventative oil as soon as I found out I was pregnant. If that bottle could preserve my skin for years to come, it was worth the investment.
So, I did. I applied a pregnancy oil early on in my pregnancy, at least once and sometimes twice a day (twice a day is recommended!). It was a pleasant after-shower regime that kept me in touch with the daily changes caused by the life growing inside. After my first baby was born and my body recovered, I noticed that my belly was stretch mark-free. But… I had stretch marks at both hips and very slight ones at the breasts. Oops! Yes, the pregnant belly is not the only spot that grows. So, here’s my take-home for you – apply that oil wherever you’re seeing growth, considering hips, thighs, buttocks, and breasts.
With baby #2, I used Motherlove Organic Belly Oil as faithfully as before, but this time I slathered my hips and bust too. I came through that pregnancy with no new stretch marks and lots of confidence in a good quality pregnancy oil! By the way, I gained the recommended amount of weight (about 25 lbs) with both pregnancies.
You may have heard that some women have good results with plain cocoa butter. I’m sure that’s true, but I’d recommend that you choose an oil actually designed for pregnancy. Oils have been shown to penetrate the skin better than creams. Since oils are naturally produced by the skin, it’s not surprising that the skin finds it easiest to recognize and utilize nutrients carried in oil. Pregnancy oils are complex, super-nourishing blends that prepare your skin to stretch and bounce back without becoming damaged. When choosing an oil, check the ingredient list for questionable chemicals and preservatives. Choose something safe and natural, since you’ll be using it consistently during your baby’s most vulnerable months.
You CAN stop stretch marks:
- Buy a safe, natural pregnancy oil as soon as you find out you’re pregnant
- Apply it at least once, hopefully twice a day, especially after a shower
- Massage the oil into your belly, hips and bust – or wherever you’re experiencing growth