Stretch Marks - How to Prepare for Them and to Embrace Them
Photo by cottonbro studio
Striae, Stretch marks, tiger stripes, battle wounds, badges of honor, whatever you want to call them are a physical reminder of the changes a woman’s body experiences during pregnancy. Stretch marks usually appear during the final months of pregnancy on the stomach, breasts, thighs, hips, lower back, and butt. The color and size of the marks are different for everyone and they typically fade a few months after the baby is born but usually not completely. For pregnant women, some of the most searched-for topics on the internet are about reducing and removing stretch marks. There are hundreds of products, oils, creams, and body butters on the market, but the truth is that stretch marks can’t be completely prevented.
The American Pregnancy Association has some recommendations for preventing stretch marks. We’d instead encourage mums to keep these in mind as ways of preparing for them and to remember that complete prevention is out of their control. The American Pregnancy Association recommends applying topical products twice a day such as Bio-Oil to maximize the elasticity of your skin and keep it well-hydrated. They recommend eating foods rich in Vitamin E, C, Zinc, and Silica which help form collagen plus drinking plenty of water. Vitamins B2 and B3 can also help promote healthy skin. Last, they recommend exercise which will help improve circulation and reduce the possibility of varicose veins and swollen ankles.
Collagen-boosting vitamins can be found in carrots, soy products, avocado, olives, tomatoes, garlic, eggs, chia seeds, leafy greens, and Omega-3 fatty fish, amongst others. Why not make a delicious salad full of seeds and in-season veggies to nourish your body and boost your collagen? Exercising during pregnancy has a variety of benefits including fighting fatigue, improving sleep, lowering blood pressure, easing back/pelvic pain, lowering the odds of delivery complications, and speeding post-delivery recovery. Whatever your motivation, eating healthy and exercising have a variety of benefits for both you and the baby.
At Wo-mum, we think it’s most important for mums to expect stretch marks and choose to embrace them. Every woman experiences pregnancy differently and while you can do your best to prevent them, for most women stretch marks are an inevitable part of the pregnancy process. Growing a tiny human is an amazing accomplishment, stretch marks are a physical reminder of the intense physical transformation of pregnancy. So let’s change the narrative of how we view them. Instead of wishing them away, or comparing your tummy to models you follow on Instagram, reframe your thoughts. What if instead, you choose to view your stretch marks as reminders of your baby, the special journey you went through to bring them into the world, and how amazing your body is? Cherish them just like you cherish the children they gave you.