Ninety percent of women will start seeing stretch marks around the sixth or seventh month of pregnancy. Stretch marks occur when your body grows faster than your skin and the fibrous layer under your skin breaks.
They can appear on the breasts, belly, upper arms, buttocks and thighs. When stretch marks first appear, they are purple or red. Luckily, they fade to white or gray over time.
Unfortunately, there is no proven way to treat or prevent stretch marks; however, gradually gaining the appropriate amount of weight rather than gaining too much too quickly can help reduce stretch marks. Here are some things you can do to help make them less noticeable:
- Eat a healthy diet. Choose foods packed with anti-oxidants, vitamin E, and Omega 3 & 6.
- Drink eight glasses of water a day and avoid caffeine.
- Exercise. Choose low-impact activities like yoga.
Try to keep your skin supple by hydrating your skin with thicker creams or lotions. Moisturize every morning and night, and pay particular attention to areas that are stretched and feel “itchy.”
Always consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise program, and ask for nutritional advice during your office visits. Your doctor can supply more information specific to the condition of your skin and your stretch marks.
After the birth of your child, stretch marks will fade; but if you continue to be bothered by them, consult a dermatologist. A dermatologist has several treatment options for stretch marks and will share with you appropriate treatment for your condition.
Your prenatal diet is important to you and your baby’s health.
You may need additional vitamins and minerals to not only help your baby but to also support the changes occurring with your body.
Your doctor may recommend that you take a prenatal vitamin and mineral supplement. Remember that vitamin and mineral supplements do not replace a healthy diet. It is important to follow the nutritional guidelines your doctor shares with you. Also, supplements like folic acid and iron are good for your baby in moderation. Exercise caution, though. Too much can be harmful. You and your obstetrician will determine your specific dosage.
The term “you are what you eat” also applies to the foods you are passing on to your baby. Make choices that limit empty calories from added sugars and saturated fats. These non-nutritive ingredients are found in soft drinks, desserts, fried foods and fatty meats. Always choose water over soda. Also, share with your provider if you are going to breastfeed your child. If so, your nutritional needs will be even more important and over a longer period of time!
It is imperative that pregnant women never drink alcohol. This includes any beverage containing beer, wine or liquor. Research has shown that even moderate drinking during pregnancy can cause behavioral or developmental conditions with the child, including malformation and developmental delays.
Your care team is ready to answer any questions you may have about your prenatal diet and nutritional needs. Together we can make certain that you are eating the right foods and taking the right supplements to give your baby a healthy start.