Stretch marks are caused by changes in the elastic supportive tissue that lies below the skin and the best way to prevent them during pregnancy is to maintain or increase the elasticity of the skin. The skin’s elasticity can be maintained or increased by a few different methods, including diet, skincare, and exercise.
Eating a healthy diet and drinking enough water is always a necessary part of maintaining healthy skin. During pregnancy, a healthy diet is even more important to increasing the likelihood of having a healthy baby and maintaining the elasticity of your skin. Drinking eight or more glasses of water a day will keep you hydrated, and help to maintain the elasticity of your skin.
Staying within the 25 to 35 pound weight gain that is considered normal for most pregnancies will help prevent your skin stretching beyond its elasticity and creating stretch marks. It is better to gain the weight steadily if possible as opposed to having a sudden weight gain that could be damaging to the skin.
Regularly taking vitamins and eating foods that are rich in Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Zinc, and Silica, which help form collagen may increase the strength of the collagen in your skin. This will make it less likely to lead to breaks in the collagen that would result in stretch marks.
Good circulation is necessary for good skin elasticity. Exercise can improve blood circulation, maintaining the elasticity of the skin as the stomach grows during pregnancy. An added benefit of the improved circulation achieved by exercise is a reduced possibility of varicose veins and swollen ankles during pregnancy.
Daily use of a moisturizer can promote skin elasticity, allowing skin to stretch without breaking. Many moisturizers, such as Palmer’s Cocoa Butter are marketed directly to women trying to prevent stretch marks. When choosing a moisturizer, read labels and choose a product specifically for stretch marks.
Massaging the area where you are concerned you will develop stretch marks with a damp washcloth or body brush can help increase circulation in that area and reduce the likelihood of stretch marks developing.