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Preventing Pregnancy Stretch Marks

Guest Post by Tara Bloom

The discouraging fact about pregnancy stretch marks is that 75 to 90% of women develop them while pregnant. Your individual risk of getting stretch marks is strongly influenced by heredity, and therefore, most midwives and OB/GYNs discourage pregnant women from even trying to prevent them.

Most aestheticians, however, have different advice, and clinical studies suggest that prevention is possible. From conversations I’ve had with our celebrity customers like Steffiana de la Cruz and Brooke Mueller Sheen, I know that Hollywood moms-to-be don’t leave stretch marks up to chance. So why would you?

Preventing Pregnancy Stretch Marks with Cocoa ButterOkay, you’re not a Hollywood mom-to-be (or dad-to-be). I’ll give you that. Neither am I. So here’s my story:

When I was pregnant 15 years ago, I chose to believe the “there’s nothing you can do about it,” camp. I didn’t moisturize or butter up at all. By 30 weeks, I was striped. By the end of my pregnancy, my stomach, hips and rear end looked like they’d been the inspiration for the creatures from “Alien Nation.”

My midwife tried to console me with stories about African cultures that revere women with stretch marks.

I wasn’t consoled.

The moral of the story: even if there really is “nothing you can do to prevent stretch marks” (which I no longer believe), you’ll feel a heck of a lot better if you try. At the end of your pregnancy, if those dark purple striae distensae appear, trust me when I say you won’t be congratulating yourself on how smart you were to listen to people who said there was nothing you could do anyway.

Besides, there are worse ways you could spend your evenings post-bath than by lying naked in bed and having your partner rub oil over your breasts, buttocks, belly and thighs. I recently posed the question on Facebook about what women are doing or did to prevent stretch marks. In the words of one Maternitique mom:

1st pregnancy: I rubbed coco[sic] butter on anytime I remembered, which was rare. No stretchmarks. 2nd pregnancy: Hubby learned if he rubs coco butter on me he gets a free peep show and I get a rubdown. No stretchmarks.

Bottom line? Better to butter up, pregnant moms — and dads!

Tara Bloom is the founder of Maternitique, a leading pregnancy beauty resource for celebrity moms-to-be. In between helping moms prevent pregnancy stretch marks, get rid of pregnancy acne and enjoy the beauty of their pregnancy, she’s driving her 14-year-old daughter to and from enriching educational and sports experiences. Or the mall. Read more of Tara’s pregnancy stretch mark advice, and reach her on Twitter @maternitique or on Facebook.

Please leave your comments, experience and any pregnancy beauty tips below:

* Note: These are the opinions and experiences of the guest author and not meant to be taken as medical advice. This is not sponsored post.

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  1. JDaniel4's Mom

    I was so blessed that my 40+ year old refused to stretch much.

    1. Michael Schmid

      You were lucky, D. That said, speaking as a dad, I don’t mind them a bit on my wonderful wife. What a gift she gave me in the form of our daughter. I understand it may bother many women, but I’d guess guys care much less than you think, for what that’s worth.

  2. Brynna

    Great post! I admit I’m more along the lines of “there’s nothing you can do”…for the MOST part. I’m one of the “lucky ducks” who did all I could to try and prevent, and mostly escaped them with my 1st, but with my 2nd and 3rd I looked like I tiger attacked my belly!! So I spent lots of time trying to figure out what I was doing wrong and realized that the elasticity of the dermis (where the “big” stretch marks occur) is generally genetic and isn’t something you can affect with topical moisturizers (the closest would be with maybe with strict diet changes), and so stretchmarks at that skin layer can’t be changed by creams and oils. However, I certainly believe you can effect the little white ones in the epidermis, both topically and internally (like with vitamin E and omega 3’s, for example). And I completely agree that there’s no reason NOT to stay well moisturized, especially when a dry pregnant belly makes for misery, stretch marks or not!!!!

    1. Michael Schmid

      I completely agree that there’s no reason NOT to stay well moisturized, especially when a dry pregnant belly makes for misery, stretch marks or not!!!!

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Brynna. I was thrilled to have Tara Bloom write a guest post for me. So many of my readers are women, and while I hope they value a guy’s perspective, there are are some areas where my knowledge is sorely lacking. LOL. Have a very safe and happy Independence Day Weekend!

      1. Tara Bloom (@maternitique)

        Brynna is spot on about the top layer and bottom layer of skin and their respective shared responsibility for stretch marks. The best things you can for stretch-mark-free and blemish-free skin have to do with what you put IN your skin, not ON it. I wrote “7 Habits for Beautiful Pregnant Skin,” to describe these things, which are important to both women and men, no matter what stage of life you’re in!

  3. Sara

    Ok, so I don’t believe that doing nothing is the answer…I faithfully put cocoa butter and all of that stuff on and have no stretch marks. I think that theory is in the same camp as saying that putting on moisturizer on every day doesn’t prevent or help wrinkles….It is even LOGICAL to do both…when something like skin becomes dry (which is does during pregnancy because of the stretching and growing skin) it needs moisture, much like the dry garden soil needs moisture. Would any of us except plants to grow in a cracked garden? Of course not!! Moisture is essential for skin no matter what!! Thanks so much for this post! 😉

    1. Michael Schmid

      Would any of us expect plants to grow in a cracked garden? Of course not!!

      Really well, put, Sara. This is Michael (adaddyblog) here, as in the above comment. My wife has made me put on facial moisturizer every day since we’ve been married. It has some sunblock in it and only makes sense… especially here in Dallas! As for stretch marks, I love Tara’s advice. Not only might it help, but enlisting one’s hubbies help in the application is a win win for everyone. 😉

  4. Sara

    oops, that was supposed to be expect….lol

    1. Michael Schmid

      I make typos all the time. No worries. There, I corrected the spelling in my last comment when I quoted you. Thought that was a great analogy, btw.

  5. Rhiannon Fieri

    My body did not get along with progesterone. Long story short, I LOST weight the first 3 months, stabilized the 4th month….and then, an even LONGER story short, Ash ended up 2 months premature. That left me 4 months in which I put an inexplicable 40lbs on what was originally a 115lb body — resulting, to some degree of comfort, in a 2-month preemie who was a whopping 4.5lbs.

    But so far as stretch marks went? Between 40lbs in 4 months and heredity also not generally being nice to my body, nothing I could do was anything that was enough.

    With perfect awareness of this, I was all for having yummy-smelling oils massaged all over me, anyway! 😉

    1. Michael Schmid

      …I was all for having yummy-smelling oils massaged all over me, anyway! 😉

      Smart thinking, Rhiannon. Thanks so much for your thoughts and advice.

  6. sarah james

    Four pregnancies and no stretch marks until the 39th week of my 4th pregnancy. That week my midwife commented on how amazing my skin was, two days later tiny white stretch marks appeared down real low on my belly, baby was born not long after that so they didn’t really have a chance to grow and today you wouldn’t even know they’d been there. My mum had terrible stretch marks, I never used any creams or oils, one of the lucky ones I guess. It would be interesting though to see a study that looks at the impact of both diet and age on stretch marks. Thanks for the post and thanks to Tara.

    1. Michael Schmid

      It would be interesting though to see a study that looks at the impact of both diet and age on stretch marks.

      That’s interesting, Sarah. So despite heredity issues you escaped them almost completely. What is it about your diet that you think might have contributed to lessening of stretch marks? I assume you also applied moisturizers of some sort? Thanks so much for weighing in!

  7. Melissa Veloz

    I chose not to believe there’s nothing you can do about it and after extensive research I found out about vitamin E oil it’s the most natural & most inexpensive thing you could buy out on the market when comparing them to prices of other strechmark prevention creams many which do not work! Vitamin E oil works with your skin to help with elasticity as well as keeping your skin moisturized for a long time! Yes a bit sticky I admit but at the end you will love your results not one strech mark on my belly! I did however get some on my theighs whic is where I would apply coco butter on grrr! Either way go for the vitamin E oil you won’t regret it use twice a day! ;]

    visit my blog article for the specifics: http://lifebeyondbase.com/health-beauty/pregnancy-must-have/

    1. Michael Schmid

      Hmmm… so in your case you feel vitamin-E might be a more effective approach than cocoa butter? Thanks so much for weighing in, Melissa.

    2. Tara Bloom (@maternitique)

      Melissa is right: Vitamin E is one of the only ingredients that’s actually been proven by a couple of clinical trials to help reduce the risk and severity of stretch marks. The only problem is that direct application of Vitamin E oil can result in contact dermatitis or other skin irritation. It’s best to use a carrier oil that’s naturally rich in Vitamin E, such as jojoba, wheat germ, sunflower, almond and avocado oils. It’s safe to use any of these oils mixed with a smaller amount of Vitamin E oil, too. Just don’t put pure Vitamin E on your skin!

  8. Tara Bloom (@maternitique)

    I’m so happy people found this post helpful! Thanks to Michael for allowing me the honor of being a guest blogger! Have a very happy 4th of July everyone.

  9. Ivy

    I escaped all stretch marks until the day my son was born. I was relatively small in terms of pregnant women. When I went into labor at 36 weeks, I was almost turned away because the nurses thought I was only 6 months pregnant. But then I had to have an emergency c-section. The doctors pulled and tugged so much that they left me with battle scars on my stomach.

    Is there anything you can do to minimize the appearance once you get them?

    1. Michael Schmid

      I just sent a tweet to Tara, the real expert in such things. Perhaps she’ll have a suggestion for postpartum treatment. Thanks so much for stopping by, Ivy!

    2. Tara Bloom (@maternitique)

      Oh, Ivy, that’s a rough story. I’m sorry to hear that happened to you. I hope you and baby are doing well now. As far as the fading stretch marks is concerned, it’s hard to do. Select topical skin care products can help when applied diligently and liberally for months. (Stretchmark Minimizing Cream is one of the best rated by new moms for its value and effectiveness, however, based on your C-section experience, I’d suggest C-Mama Healing Salve to you). Other options include laser removal and chemical peels at the spa. In time, however, stretch marks will fade on their own and become less noticeable. Good luck to you and congratulations on your new baby!

  10. robertaF

    I had stretch marks from my first pregnancy and am currently 6 months pregnant now and started to see the stretch marks getting red. They were bright silver and shiny. So I started using the Dr Max Powers Stretch Mark Treatment – they now are more flesh tone and WAY less noticeable! I am totally happy with the product and will be buying this through the end of the pregnancy and beyond! The only downside to this product is the price – I wish it was less expensive, but it is definitely worth every penny!!! No marks!

    1. Michael Schmid

      Glad that worked for you, Roberta. As in all things sold without warranty dear readers, caveat emptor. I’ve no silver bullets myself. This was an unsponsored guest post in an area in which I’m no expert.

  11. Nancy

    Hi Tara, Stretch marks is one of the most expected things that we can received after or during pregnancy but this things can be prevented by doing some important things. Diets, Exercise Vitamins, Creams are some important things to prevent stretch marks. Removing stretch mark cost a lot of time and money and sometimes that affects also to our beauty.

    1. Michael Schmid

      Thanks for the suggestions, Nancy.

  12. Janice

    My friend and I are using bio oil and cocoa butter during our pregnancy days. It is amazing to note that after giving birth, we haven’t any mark on our skin as they call like stretch marks. My advise to women, is regular exercise. This helps the skin to be able to cope up with being elongated. Regular sleep too, proper diet and bio oil is one good way of having the skin tone up. You might be surprised to see the results.

    1. Michael Schmid

      That sounds like super advice, Janice, and backed up by your experience. Really appreciate you weighing in!

  13. Health Information

    To maintain the skin tone or prevent stretch mark.. adequate sleep, healthy diet, proper hydration, taking vit. E, daily exercise, and skin care products like moisturizer are healthy tips you need to practice.

    1. Michael Schmid

      Sounds like good advice for anyone regardless if pregnant? I believe vitamin E supplementation recommendations have been decreased, so check with your doctor. Thanks for your input.

  14. Taylor

    I agree on that. Yo don’t have to buy expensive products just to exempted in stretchmarks. Face it with packed prevention that is healthy and advisable.

    ___
    Taylor

    1. Michael Schmid

      Interesting. I’ve never heard of Trilastin, but then why would I? Have you actually used it? What were the results? Don’t mind you posting ads on here, but give us a little more credible info please.

  15. Selena

    You don’t have to waste money just to remove your scars. Decide on natural plants. Very affordable and safe to use.

    1. Michael Schmid

      Can’t hurt, though many say it’s simply genetic, and topical applications may do little. Diet might help some, I’ve heard, but I’m certainly no expert.

  16. Jennie Mercer

    Thanks so much for your thoughts and advice. With perfect awareness of this, I was all for having yummy-smelling oils massaged all over me, anyway!

    1. Michael Schmid

      So even if it doesn’t work, you’ve got the pleasure of yummy-smelling oils. Get the daddy to apply them and you’ll have a win-win. 😉

  17. ReeseT

    I started rubbing the Dr Max Powers Stretch Mark Treatment on my belly towards the end of my first trimester to help relieve some itching due to my skin beginning to stretch. I didn’t expect it to ward off any stretch marks since I am very prone to them, I am covered in stretch mark scars from when I went through puberty, and everything I read says there is nothing you can do to prevent stretch marks if it’s in your genes to get them.

    Well, that is total BS because I have no stretch marks on my belly at all (I’m currently 33 weeks pregnant), but I have some on my hips and on my boobs which are only a little engorged. I can still fit into my prepregnancy bras although they are a little snug, so obviously the skin on my belly has stretched way more than my boobs and the only difference is the Dr Max Stretch Mark Treatment.

    1. Michael Schmid

      While I’ve never hear of that product, that means very little as a guy. Glad it worked for you, and thanks for the input, Reese. Hope you and your baby are doing great, stretchmarks or not. 🙂

  18. Levent

    Hi There. It is true that some people get them worse than others. My niece for instance carried much smaller than my wife, but she got the most terrible stretch marks. I shopped around a little for her, and found a product called Revitol witch worked well for her. I also found a site that gives it as a free trail, so if you want to give it a go for free, check out the link below. Hope this helps. Good luck.

    1. Michael Schmid

      I’m no expert, but reading the reviews on that product on Amazon.com’s website I’m concerned. The majority (as of today) certainly seem to suggest this product’s not helpful. That is to say, more give it a “1” (worst rating) than all other ratings combined. Again, I’ve no knowledge of this product and am only passing on what I’ve seen on that one website.

  19. Patricia E

    Love the Dr Max Powers Stretch Mark Treatment! I used it for the last few months of my pregnancy! My biggest complaint is that the jar doesn’t last a long time. I apply to my growing tummy twice a day and each jar lasts about 3 weeks. I didn’t start using this product until I was 31 weeks pregnant, so I had already several stretch marks, but since then (I’m 39 weeks pregnant now) the stretch marks have already started to fade and lighten up.

    1. Michael Schmid

      Glad that worked for you, Patricia. You’re not the only one who mentioned this product. Appreciate the tip! As in all things sold without warranty dear readers, caveat emptor. I’ve no silver bullets myself. This was an unsponsored guest post in an area in which I’m, clearly, no expert.

  20. MommyBarbra

    Patricia – I also used the dr max stretch mark cream for my 3rd baby – great recommendation as it is SO GOOD as a preventative measure.

    1. Michael Schmid

      Cool. That’s several votes for Dr Max Powers Stretch Mark Treatment. I’ve affiliations with none of these, but It sounds like several like that one. Thanks for weighing in from north of the border up there in Canada, Barbra. Have a super weekend!

  21. Shaunna Aquil

    Stretch marks don’t look the same on everyone. The appearance of stretch marks depends on the color of your skin; they can start out pink, reddish brown, brown, or dark brown, and fade over time to a more silvery color.

  22. Francis Tarant

    Thanks Michael! These remedies are surely helpful for the pregnant mothers, because after the birth of my first twins, i had some horrible stretch marks developed which took over 6 months to fade. I’m expecting another, and will apply these remedies.

  23. Batul Patel

    Very nice post for to-be moms. I rightly agree with Michael Schmid. If proper care is taken from the early stages of the pregnancy, then stretch marks can be prevented. However, it might not work for everyone as every case is different.

  24. Brendon Roux

    I have been down that road called stretch marks and I hate seeing my wife depressed as it effects my family life. My wife has had two pregnancies and I know how important good skin is to her. She followed a daily routine to prevent stretch marks and it worked,

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