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Second Trimester

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How to Prevent Stretch Marks During Pregnancy

Anyone can develop stretch marks in any phase of life regardless of their age, size, or skin type. These marks often appear on the stomach, hips, chest, thighs, and bottom. While these marks do not cause any health problems, these may cause body image issues. According to Debra Jaliman, a dermatologist in New York City, 9 out of 10 women develop stretch marks during pregnancy. The good news is that stretch marks can be avoided during pregnancy.

1) Moisturize
Moisturizing your skin is one of the most effective ways to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy. A good moisturizer with vitamins A and E improves your skin’s elasticity by locking in moisture and keeping it supple. Good skin elasticity reduces the chances of developing stretch marks.

2) Exercise
Regular physical activity improves blood circulation, which stimulates the formation of new collagen to ensure the skin is elastic and able to stretch as the pregnancy grows. Besides, exercise promotes anti-oxidants that work to prevent skin damage by free radicals. If you do not exercise during pregnancy, you will lose muscle tone, causing the skin to loosen. Simple exercises such as swimming, yoga, walking, and prenatal aerobics can help to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy. Furthermore, regular exercise helps you to maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of excessive skin stretching.

3) Stay hydrated
Drinking plenty of fluids (water, soups, juices, smoothies) during pregnancy will help to keep the skin supple and maximize its elasticity. Unlike dry skin, well-hydrated skin will be able to stretch better as it grows. Drinking plenty of fluids will also help to strengthen and renew your skin, making it less prone to tears as the pregnancy grows. However, you are advised to avoid caffeinated beverages as they may increase your risk of developing stretch marks.

4) Eat healthy foods
Stretch marks may occur during pregnancy due to lacking of key nutrients. Therefore, it is advisable to eat foods that are rich in zinc, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, and protein. Foods such as lettuce, broccoli, spinach are rich in lutein that strengthens the dermis to protect the skin. Beans are high in zinc, which improves skin health. Other foods that can help you to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy include fatty fish, avocados, walnuts, sweet potatoes, and sunflower seeds.

5) Wear sunscreen
Exposure to the sun’s UV rays increases your risk of developing stretch marks. The best way to protect your skin from the harmful UV rays is to avoid direct sun and wear sunscreen. You should apply sunscreen every 2 hours if you are spending time in the sun.
Generally, the best way to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy is to ensure that your skin maintains its maximum elasticity throughout pregnancy. Of course, you will also need to avoid smoking and embrace healthy lifestyle habits.

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