Pregnancy can bring lots of changes to your skin. Thankfully most of them disappear after delivery, but often we are left with unwanted loose skin and stretch marks of varying degrees.
As emotionally frustrating as this may be, there are ways to help improve both the texture and appearance of your post-pregnancy belly.
We share them below.
You’ve endured nine long months for your precious bundle of joy to arrive and while it is worth every sleepless night ahead of you, you find yourself wondering if your body will ever be the same again.
The result of your baby growing inside you is that your skin has stretched and you now have loose skin and stretch marks that you didn’t have before. The degree to which your body has changed is partly due to genetics, your age, your skin elasticity, how quickly and how much weight you’ve gained and possibly a little bit of luck (or misfortune – depending on how you look at it).
While many mums choose to wear their scars “tiger stripes” and loose skin as a badge of honour (we applaud each and every one of these body confident mums) we understand that not everyone is ready to embrace their new postpartum body with such enthusiasm.
Check out the fabulous Healthy Mummy mum Cicily and read why she doesn’t care about stretch marks and loose skin after losing 51kgs!
Whatever camp you are in, remember that birthing a child is an incredible achievement and before you do anything, you need to relax and go easy on yourself.
While there are no miracle cures, positive changes will happen over time.
Postpartum stretch marks
These all too familiar stretch marks are formed when your skin gets stretched or in the case of pregnancy when your body grows rapidly and expands and your skin is pulled tightly over it.
They are the result of your middle layer of skin or the underlying tissue tearing from being stretched so tightly. These tears become visible on the surface of your skin.
Most often, pregnancy stretch marks begin in the third trimester, when the baby’s growth really spikes.
More pronounced and reddish/blue during pregnancy over time they often fade to a faint silvery/white colour.
Loose skin after pregnancy
Don’t be fooled by the glossy magazine photos – loose postpartum stomach skin happens to almost all new moms (including celebrities), it’s just a question of to what degree.
For some mums, loose skin can stick around no matter how fit they were pre-pregnancy or whether they have jumped back into exercise quickly after having a child.
Actually losing postpartum weight too quickly can also increase the odds of having excess skin.
The skin is made of elastin and collagen, allowing the skin to expand with a growing belly. If a woman gradually loses weight after her pregnancy her skin has more time to recover and regain elasticity. If she loses it rapidly, the skin has much less time to recover.
You can lower your odds of having excess loose skin by losing postpartum weight slowly, exercising, and drinking plenty of water.
Healthy Mummy mum Sian reveals how she transformed her post-pregnancy body.
How to reduce post-pregnancy stretch marks
Keep well hydrated
We probably don’t even have to remind you of this but it is essential that you keep yourself well hydrated. Water helps to hydrate the skin and make it more elastic which means your skin is better able to recover from pregnancy stretch marks.
It allows the body to work more efficiently in terms of burning fat which leads to weight loss. Read why drinking lemon water can help with weight loss.
Light exercise, such as walking and yoga, can strengthen the muscles of your hips, thighs, and belly and is a great way to bond with your baby.
Building muscle tone may have a positive effect on loose and stretch-marked skin and promotes faster healing.
As stretch marks heal, the scars can cause inflammation and swelling, which can make stretch marks look even worse.
Rubbing ice on stretch-marked skin can help relieve and reduce this swelling and inflammation.
Wrap a cold pack or ice cubes in a ziplock bag into a dish towel so that the ice doesn’t come directly in contact with your skin.
Hold it on your belly for up to ten minutes, then move to your thigh and hold on your skin for another ten minutes.
Repeat this process for all areas of your body that have stretch marks.
Apply a skin firming lotion
The Healthy Mummy Body Sculpting Lotion is specifically formulated for mums and is CLINICALLY PROVEN to visibly improve skin smoothness and suppleness after just four weeks!
It contains artichoke and avocado, which work in synergy to help enhance skin firmness, reduce the appearance of orange peel skin, stretch marks while moisturising and hydrating the skin.
Apply twice a day.
Exfoliate once a week
Help your skin repair and rejuvenate itself by exfoliating your stretch-marked skin once per week. Exfoliating helps remove the top layer of dead skin cells and promotes growth and healing in the deeper layers of skin where stretch marks form.
With any scrub, moisten your skin under the shower, turn the water off, rub coffee granules into the affected areas for a few minutes, then rinse off.
Follow a healthy eating plan
Eating a healthy diet is a crucial component of your overall well-being. This includes repairing any stretch marks caused during pregnancy!
Eating healthy proteins and fats can help you build muscle. Protein can also contain collagen which is great for skin repair.
For access to thousands of healthy recipes sign up to The Healthy Mummy 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge.
Mum Nikita shares how she transformed her body by following The Healthy Mummy 28 Day Weight Loss Challenges.
Increase collagen intake
Collagen can be found naturally in foods and also as a supplement such as The Healthy Mummy Beauty Collagen Powder. Besides keeping your skin healthy and glowing, collagen improves skin elasticity, skin moisture, water loss (dryness), firmness and skin roughness.
Relax and be patient
When we are stressed our hormones can interfere with our skin’s natural healing process and slow the healing process of stretch marks. And we don’t want that!
So make sure you carve out some time each day to relax and unwind. Whether it be listening to your favourite music, reading a book, doing a yoga class or simply sitting in silence for a few minutes. Do what makes you happy as it will aid in your body’s healing process.
Don’t expect your stretch marks to disappear overnight. Your skin gradually repairs the tears caused by pregnancy and over time the marks will begin to fade.
None of the above suggestions are miracle cures but by following them you give yourself a better chance of healing both physically and mentally. And a healthy mum is a happy mum.
Are you ready to be a Healthy Mummy?
If you are wanting to lose weight, improve skin tone and your energy – not to mention – help improve your overall health and wellbeing – our 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge is an awesome program to check out.
Our 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge includes:
- 28 days of at home exercise routines (no gym needed) – with video instruction
- Customisable and breastfeeding friendly meal plans (including 7 Day Cleanse)
- Challenge combines Pilates exercises with interval and circuit training (HIIT)
- Suitable for basic to advanced fitness levels
- Home to thousands of EASY-TO-MAKE recipes!
To learn more about our 28 DAY WEIGHT LOSS CHALLENGE CLICK HERE.