"Suck it Up, Stretch Marks are Genetic," he said.

I had the misfortune of being afraid of childbirth. I desperately wanted a birthing center, midwife assisted birth, but I was scared. I didn’t know the facts. I didn’t know that in normal pregnancies, midwife assisted births are actually safe and enjoy fewer complications than hospital births.

And so I have the scars to prove it.

Yes, I do have the emotional scars of a labor that was too “medical.” I have my regrets. Yada yada. But this particular blog isn’t about that. This is about stretch marks.

“Suck it up,” the doctor said so confidently in response to my questioning about lotions or herbs I should use, “Stretch marks are genetic. You’ll either going to get them or you won’t. Don’t waste your time. Nothing you can put on your belly is going to make a difference.”  And so I didn’t waste my time. And of course, I got lots of stretch marks.

Grrrrrr……

By the time I was pregnant the next time with my daughter, I was heavily involved with the “natural living” scene. So, I understood that while genetics may predispose us to something, how we take care of ourselves is far more important than our genetic predisposition.

With my most recent pregnancy, I knew so much better than I did before. And I kept my skin moist with the greatest butters and oils nature had to offer. I know this all may seem terribly vain. There are beautiful websites devoted to stretch marks as though they are metals of honor. I’m not saying they aren’t. I’m not saying that they don’t have beauty. I’m not saying a mother’s belly is ugly or even that I look down at my own and scowl. All I’m saying, is I didn’t want them in the first place… and I certainly didn’t want more of them.

I wholeheartedly believe (because I didn’t get a single stretch mark from my daughter, nor did my old ones become worse) that you don’t have to get stretch marks just because you are pregnant even if it’s in your genes.

So, what should you do to avoid them?  Cocoa butter is the normal route, and that’s fine, but don’t count on it to work just because it’s natural. It doesn’t seem to work as nearly as good as other moisturizers with healing herbs, like this one by Wish Garden.

Also, you should moisturize your growing belly several times a day. Like keep this in your purse and put it on when you think of it.  (When you’re in the car parked outside of the grocery store.  When you’re at your prenatal appointments. In the drive-thru line at the bank. You know, every time you think of it.)

Most importantly though, if your belly itches, you’re not doing it often enough. And if you start to get them because you haven’t been applying it often enough, the Wish Garden Nipple Repair Salve will actually help the skin on your belly heal as well. So, have them both handy long before you think you need them.

 

 

 

10 Comments

  1. Ashley

    Neither my mother or grandmother had stretch marks. I got terrible stretch marks with my first and continuously applied lotions of multiple varieties. Nothing helped. Then with my second and again with my third I did nothing and did not gain any new stetch marks. My skin had already been stretched with the first so there was enough skin for the other pregnancies. For reference I was 140 with the first and 165 by the end. #2 I was 140 dropped to 130 in the first trimester and was 160 at delivery. With my third I weighed 130 at the start of pregnancy and was 172 at delivery. The only thing that has helped me with any excess skin and visibility of stretch marks after pregnancy is firming the stomach muscles by running and pullups.

    • Dawn Papple

      BY the time I had my daughter, it was 8 years later. I had already tightened and toned up my skin. I got way bigger with my daughter, so I should have stretched worse.

      Multiple varieties of lotions doesn’t matter. What lotions IN PARTICULAR did you use, because that matters.

  2. I think a big part is also that you keep yourself hydrated from the inside. I drank gallons of water during my pregnancy. I only put on moisturizer on my stomach periodically.. I did get maybe 5-6 stretch marks 4 days before I gave birth but they aren’t even bright red.. they are pale.. So, who knows if I had moisturized constantly if it would have changed anything. I actually already have tons of old stretch marks on my hips/thighs from when I was a teenager, so I was worried I’d get a lot but nope.. Faired well.

  3. Kristin

    I think it is some genetics and also your DIET. Eat good fats, have healthy skin. I didn’t get a single stretch mark from my son and my belly was HUGE. I ate lots of eggs, whole raw milk, coconut oil, etc. I do have stretchmarks on my upper thighs from when I grew as a teenager. My diet wasn’t nearly as good back then 🙂

    A good (non-toxic) moisturizer is crucial for the itchies though!! Yay for Wish Garden!

  4. Jocelyn

    I agree! My mom has horrible stretch marks, and I have bad ones on my hips & chest from my teen years. When I got pregnant with my first I stayed EXTREMELY hydrated, and used good quality lotions. I made it through that pregnancy, and two more (one of which was twins!) with only two tiny very pale stretch marks!

  5. Samantha Allen

    With my first (2yrs ago) I ended up with only a few small stretch marks, but now with baby #2 who is now 2 days past his due date I look like I’ve been attacked by an angry animal. My belly has been so itchy this pregnancy, and I’ve been putting lotion on it like no one’s business! Do you think either the moisturizer or the repair salve would help my skin heal after I’ve given birth this time, or is all hope lost?

    • Get it NOW. Or it will just get worse. Get both and alternate through the day. I’m not saying that to sell the product. I don’t get any commission. I’m just a blogger. I mean it for real. The KIND of moisturizer you use is important. And so is drinking a lot of water.

  6. Krystal

    Nope, the doctor was right, you’re either going to get them or you don’t. I know this entry is old, but I don’t want other women reading this to feel bad about themselves because they tried everything under the sun (like I have been doing) and still got stretch marks. There is nothing on the market that can reach deep enough into the skin where the scars occur to prevent them, unfortunately. You got lucky you didn’t get them the second time around, but it was just pure luck.

    • Dawn

      What about omega oils? Do you get enough omega 3s? That of course if very important. I don’t want women to feel bad about their stretch marks at all either, but if a woman can keep her skin more elastic (moisturizers, omega 3s like in flaxseed oil, staying hydrated, and adding moisturizers that promote elasticity) why not?

      It’s not that I find my stretch marks “ugly” because I don’t find them ugly at all. It’s far more comfortable during pregnancy to not get them and many women do not want them for whatever reasons it is important to them.

      I do not mind mine at all. I think they’re pretty even, but it’s still damaged skin. All things being equal though, I prefer less damage to my body, even if it’s not harmful damage at all. That said, I look very fondly upon all my scars on my body whether they were from pregnancy or anything else.

      I don’t understand how you can just say that it just comes down to luck though. Can you explain? What things have you tried?

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