- Approach your pregnancy stretch marks from a place of self-love rather than fear
- A nightly skincare routine can help prevent stretch marks and also alleviate the itchiness that can arise from a growing belly and body
- Regular exercise can also stave off varicose veins, stretch marks, and more
Almost every pregnant woman I know is terrified of stretch marks. Let’s start out by saying this: your body is amazing! It will grow and expand to bring forward an entirely new life! A woman’s body is to be celebrated and if you walk away with some new symbols of your heroic journey, wear them with pride.
It’s been amazing to watch our cultural revolution around this issue as certain brands have even committed to eliminating photo-shopping from their ad campaigns and refuse to hide the stretch marks of their models (including SeoulofSkin - see our promise!). If models can have stretch marks, so can you.
I first developed stretch marks in high school. They line my lower back, outer thighs, and glutes. Quick growth spurts and puberty stretched my body and left marks all around me as my hips swelled. Despite being thin and relatively tall they still appeared. As I entered pregnancy, my goal was not necessarily to prevent more stretch marks entirely but to treat my growing body with kindness, gentleness, and love.
With a commitment to personal values I chose products that are environmentally friendly, organic, non-toxic, and cruelty-free (read more about how I choose skincare products for pregnancy here). These products include ingredients such as coconut butter, shea butter, calendula, beeswax, cocoa, or sunflower seed oil. Each evening, after a warm shower or bath and a light scrub or dry brushing session, I gently towel off and begin a nightly self care ritual.
I rub a thick layer across my growing belly, thighs, hips, and breasts. I take this time to appreciate my changing body, speaking kindly to myself, re-affirming gratitude for my body as it grows to accommodate life. As I rub my belly, I speak to my baby, sending her loving messages as we prepare for sleep. Consider adopting your own evening ritual that arises from self love rather than fear. This important nightly routine can help hydrate your skin preventing stretch marks while also alleviating the itchiness that can arise from a growing belly and body.
Regular exercise is also critical to your overall health and the health of your baby. A positive side effect is that regular exercise can help prevent many of the skin issues women fear. Pregnancy is probably not the time to take on a new form of fitness but definitely continue any form of exercise you previously enjoyed. You can continue strength training, walking, jogging, hiking, attending yoga classes, and more. As your pregnancy progresses you may feel inspired to participate in more feminine forms of movement but whatever the case, keeping your body moving can help stave off varicose veins, stretch marks, and more.
Research has shown that pregnant women reach near capacity of human energy levels, equivalent to that of endurance athletes. So, pregnancy, being a 10+ month journey, is supported by your continued level of activity and fitness. In return, it’s great preparation for labor, delivery, and the stamina needed for motherhood.
Overall, make your choices about love not fear. Do something to love yourself, not change yourself. You’re changing enough already! Many things will be out of your control. This is the great lesson of pregnancy and motherhood. Learn to accept what you can’t control and begin practicing the beautiful art of surrender. Treat yourself with tenderness, appreciation, and joy. Move your body for the love of it, slather your body with delicious (and safe!) products daily, and enjoy the journey these 40 beautiful weeks will bring.