Natural Ways to Prevent Stretch Marks during Pregnancy
And while genetics undoubtedly plays a major role, after doing some research on the subject, I’m not convinced that stretch marks can’t be prevented, at least to some degree.
The reason I say that, is because skin is built from the inside out. If you’re staying hydrated and eating foods that help form collagen, you’ll be giving your body what it needs to keep your skin strong and healthy.
Collagen and elastin fibers keep your rapidly growing skin taut. If they are strong, it’s less likely that they will break resulting in stretch marks.
However, if you’re deficient in necessary vitamins and minerals, and are usually dehydrated, stretch marks will more than likely form.
Here are the best natural ways to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy.
1) Drink Plenty of Water
Seriously, I can’t stress how much hydration matters to keeping your skin healthy and strong.
Water helps your body flush away toxins. And staying hydrated allows nutrients to easily flow into your cells and it keeps your organs functioning at their best.
Plus, cells that are well-hydrated are plump and full, which means that your skin will not only look firmer, but also clearer.
But if you’re finding it difficult to get enough water each day, add these fruits and vegetables into your diet. The fruits and vegetables listed here are at least 90% water, which obviously contributes to your overall hydration.
2) Eat Healthy
To begin, make sure you’re getting the necessary vitamins and nutrients for your growing belly and baby. You can find out more information on that here: Everything you need to know to have a Healthy Diet during Pregnancy
Collagen formation is essential in improving your skin’s elasticity. So if you’re worried about stretch marks, try to get these particular collagen boosting types of foods into your diet.
People with a zinc deficiency are more likely to develop stretch marks. This is because zinc supports healthy collagen production. And zinc, “serves as a co-factor for collagen production, which means that it activates proteins essential for collagen synthesis. It also activates a protein called collagenase that allows your cells to remodel collagen during wound healing.” 
Foods high in zinc include: grass-fed beef, yogurt, lamb, chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, and cashews.
Manganese and Copper:
Similar to zinc, manganese supports healthy collagen production. “Collagen protein contains proline, an amino acid that helps give collagen fibers their shape, and manganese activates enzymes that your cells use to make proline.” 
Foods high in manganese: brown rice, pine nuts, mussels, and hazelnuts.
And copper plays a role in collagen production as well. Copper activates an enzyme called lysyl oxidase. This enzyme is required for collagen maturation. Plus, because of its role in collagen production, copper plays an important role in keeping your bones and heart healthy.
Foods with a high amount of copper include: beef liver, oysters, sesame seeds, kale, cashews, and cocoa.
Beta carotene is another nutrient critical for skin health. In the body, it’s converted to vitamin A and aids in the growth and repair of body tissues. Also, beta carotene acts as an antioxidant so it helps to protect against sun damage.
Best sources of beta carotene: sweet potatoes, kale, carrots, spinach, squash, cantaloupe, romaine lettuce, and dried apricots.
Vitamin C and Vitamin E:
Both of these vitamins are necessary for healthy skin and the formation of collagen. Vitamin C is very effective in reducing free radical damage and since free radicals destroy the collagen and elastin that provides elasticity to the skin, it makes sense to consume vitamin C.
Great sources of vitamin C: oranges, kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and grapefruit.
Vitamin E not only protects cell membranes, but it also guards against UV radiation damage. In addition, some research suggests that vitamin E and vitamin C may work together to provide an extra boost of skin protection.
Foods high in vitamin E include: almonds, spinach, sweet potato, and sunflower seeds.
3) Try to Gain Weight at a Steady Pace
With that said, it can be very difficult to control weight gain especially during pregnancy. However, keep in mind that gaining weight gradually can help reduce the chance of developing stretch marks. Here is a general guideline of average weight gain during pregnancy.
* First Trimester: Approximately 1-4 lbs over the first 12 weeks
* Second Trimester: About 1-2 pounds per week
* Third Trimester: About 1-2 pounds per week
*Note: These numbers are averages. So it’s essential that you discuss pregnancy weight gain with your doctor. Depending on your pre-pregnancy weight, these numbers may or may not be appropriate for everyone. Your health and your baby’s health are most important, so always discuss weight gain with your doctor.
Exercising when you’re pregnant can provide many benefits including: reduced aches and pains, boosted energy levels, improved sleep, and a reduced chance of developing stretch marks.
This is because exercise improves circulation which contributes to helping your skin stretch without damage as well as keeping your skin strong and healthy.
Another benefit to exercising when you’re pregnant is the chance of developing varicose veins and swollen ankles is reduced, also due to your circulation improving.
For more information on exercising when you’re pregnant, I recommend reading these articles:
5) Use a natural cream, oil, or lotion
By applying an oil, cream, or lotion to your skin 2-3 times per day, it will help your skin stay well-hydrated and better able to stretch.
Plus, by using a cream, oil, or lotion that is rich in antioxidant properties, it can help eliminate free radicals that damage the skin.
However, doing this without a diet rich in collagen-supporting nutrients (as previously discussed), you won’t see the results you want. So your best results will be seen by using all 5 of the tips listed in this article together.
I recommend using this recipe from MamaNatural. And always check with your doctor before using a new product, even a natural one like this.
1/2 cup Virgin Organic Coconut Oil (where to buy)
1/4 cup Raw Cocoa Butter (where to buy)
1 tsp Vitamin E Oil (where to buy)
2 TB Rosehip Oil (where to buy)
2 TB Almond Oil (where to buy)
20 drops of Geranium, Lavender and/or Frankincense Essential Oil (where to buy)
(Before using essential oils, please make sure they are safe during pregnancy. Here is information on that including a free printable: Safe Essential Oils for Pregnancy. The 3 listed here – Geranium, Lavender, and Frankincense are generally safe.)
1) In a double burner, melt your coconut oil and cocoa butter.
2) Pour into a glass container.
3) Let cool so that it’s room temperature.
4) Add in your other oils and blend with immersion blender.
5) Seal lid and store in a cool, dark place.
6) Apply 2-3 times per day directly on stretch marks or area where you want to prevent stretch marks.
If you do develop stretch marks during pregnancy, don’t stress about it because you’re in good company. In fact, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, approximately 90% of women get stretch marks sometime during their pregnancy.
And if you have some advice for other mamas, please leave a comment below!
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