I’ve just had my second baby, Dylan Michael Lannon on July 8th. Isn’t he the cutest?!
Stretch marks are pretty much accepted as a guaranteed mark of pregnancy, but they certainly don’t have to be! While we can certainly view them as beautiful reminders of our beautiful pregnancies, some mommas may want to try to avoid them if possible.
And it is possible! With food!
I managed to make it through both pregnancies with no stretch marks through the use of some very common foods that I consume regularly in my diet. We’ll discuss those in a bit but first, what causes stretch marks?
Rapid growth or weight gain causes the middle layer of the skin, known as the dermis, to tear due to the skin not being able to stretch with the fast growth of the body.
Stretch marks commonly occur in rapidly-growing adolescents and pregnant women. The most common areas affected are thighs, stomach, butt, upper arms and breasts.
In pregnancy, the two spots that grow the most are belly and breasts.
The way to prevent stretch marks in the first place is to improve your skin’s elasticity so that it can stretch properly when it needs to like during pregnancy.
Here are the foods that I used to prevent stretch marks in both of my pregnancies:
Water– Staying hydrated is key to preventing stretch marks and to have a healthy pregnancy. Be sure to drink at least 64 ounces of water a day. I personally drank upwards of 80-90 ounces of water a day.
Coconut Oil– I consumed 1-2 Tbsp of coconut oil daily, in my oatmeal, smoothies and to cook with. I also rubbed it on my belly to moisturize the skin every night before bed. This also helps with itchy skin! (I may have skipped a few nights here and there due to extreme exhaustion as I got into bed or memory lapse but for the most part I did this daily.)
Gelatin– Gelatin is like pure collagen! The collagen found in gelatin is fantastic for hair, skin, nails, joint health and gut health. Gelatin prevents stretch marks because it contains glycine and proline, which are amino acids, basically the building blocks of collagen. I use gelatin from healthy, grass-fed cows from a company that has a great reputation for product quality, Great Lakes Gelatin. There are some other brands out there now that are also pretty good like Dr. Axe’s Gelatin and Vital Proteins. Take 1-2 Tbsp daily.
You can make gelatin gummies like these ones and these ones, or just add it to your smoothies or oatmeal in the mornings. Here are some other ways you can add gelatin to your diet.
Bone Broth– Speaking of collagen, bone broth contains those amino acids which are the building blocks of collagen. Be sure to use organic bones to avoid concentrating toxic chemicals into your broth. Drink or cook with one cup a day.
Vitamin C– Vitamin C helps with regeneration of connective tissues. So foods high in collagen like citrus fruits, broccoli, red bell pepper, camu camu powder and kiwis are great while you’re pregnant.
Vitamin E– Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps build collagen, improves skin elasticity and protects skin. Foods high in vitamin E are nuts, olives, avocados, sunflower seeds and pumpkin.
Zinc– Zinc also helps build collagen and is found in beef, seafood, nuts, seeds, spinach, mushrooms and especially oysters.
Omega 3 rich foods– Omega 3s help to strengthen the skin cell’s membrane thereby improving skin’s elasticity. Best sources are wild caught salmon, grass-fed beef, flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts and sesame seeds.
Sulfur-rich foods– Sulfur is another building block necessary for collagen production and can be found in onions, leeks, shallots, garlic, eggs, kale, cabbage, bok choy, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts.
All of the above should be consumed regularly from the very start of your pregnancy, not just to prevent stretch marks but for a healthy pregnancy and baby!
While it is totally normal for most women to get stretch marks during pregnancy, it is possible to address this nuisance from the beginning to possibly avoid it. By using these healthy foods mentioned above, you can totally prevent them!
And if you do end up with some stretch marks, you should totally rock them, because you earned those suckers! Rock on mommas!