Post pregnancy stretch marks and loose skin. What can I do about it?

Pregnancy often leaves us with unwanted loose skin and stretch marks of varying degrees. Find out how to improve your skin texture and appearance.
Share this article

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.

How to prevent saggy loose skin during and after weight loss

Postpartum body

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.


9 exercise tips EVERY breastfeeding mum NEEDS TO READ!

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.

See our Video: Exercise ABC’s And How To Do Them With A Clingy Baby

Ice up

Ice cold hands

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.

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.

DIY Coffee Scrub

Check out some DIY body scrub suggestions here and read about the benefits of a coffee scrub.

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

Protein packed chicken macro bowl

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

Lemon and Strawberry Collagen Sparkler

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.

Read Understanding Collagen: What is it and how can it help me?

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.

Join The Healthy Mummy New Mum & Pregnancy Support Group

pregnancy mobile app

Supporting Mummies-in-the-Making through a Healthy Pregnancy with our 28 Day Challenge

Designed by mums just for mums!

Pregnancy Workouts
Guided workouts from professionals to suit different stages of pregnancy

Pregnancy Meal Plan
Fully customisable to support you and your family

Get motivated, stay motivated
With support from MyCoach and MindPower features

Feel Supported 24/7
In our private support groups with other mums just like you

Join Now
Share this article

Be part of our friendly and supportive community

Want FREE delicious recipes, fitness tips and great specials?