So far, so good. At 33 weeks, and nearing the 40 pound mark for weight gain, I do not yet have any stretch marks. I’ve been vigilant about my approach to not getting them. As magical and amazing as pregnancy is, I don’t want to earn my “tiger stripes” and never have them go away. I already have enough stretch marks from growing too fast in my teens. So, I wanted to share some tips and products with other moms to be out there that have been working so far for me.
Dry Skin Brushing and Abhyanga.
First, and not pictured, is a dry skin brush and coconut oil. At California College of Ayurveda, we were taught to make dry skin brushing a part of our daily routine–pregnant or not. Since I only shower every other day now that I’m not running, it’s part of my every other day routine. Health benefits of dry skin brushing include: increased circulation-helping the body to eliminate metabolic waste; stimulation of the lymphatic system-which aids in eliminating toxins from the body; and removing dry, dead skin cells. I’ve also heard it helps to eliminate cellulite, but that wasn’t in one of my classes, and I don’t know if there’s any research to support it. To try this at home:
• You will need a brush with soft natural bristles for dry brushing. Do not use synthetic bristles. You can find them at your local health food store (Mine came from Natural Grocers/Vitamin Cottage and was about $10)
• Brush before you shower. Your skin & the brush should be dry; hence the word DRY skin brushing.
• Use a gentle pressure–as you get more used to it, you can be a little more firm with the brush. Avoid dry brushing over cuts, wounds or rashes. Do not dry brush your face.
• Work towards the heart–this helps with circulation. Begin by brushing the outermost parts of your body (hands and feet) towards the center of your body.
• Use clockwise brushing movements–from right to left in a circular motion–when working on your stomach. Long motions on muscles and circular motions on joints.
• The entire process should only take one to two minutes, and an extra minute to clean the brush after to get any of the dead skin and gunk out of the brush.
Abhyanga (or daily self-massage).
Again, this is recommended as a daily practice in Ayuvedic medicine for ALL people, not just pregnant ladies. It’s especially important in the winter months when vata is aggravated. Typically, sesame oil is warmed and applied after dry skin brushing and before your shower. I prefer coconut oil. I love how luxurious and soft my skin feels after. The same motions apply–start at the outer extremities of the body and work towards the heart. Use circular motions on joints, and long, smooth motions on muscles. On the stomach use a circular pattern–from right to left. Here are more details on abhyanga from the Chopra Center: http://www.chopra.com/community/online-library/tips/how-to-perform-a-self-abhy-massage
Additionally, I discovered and really like some of the Mama Mio products–said to be used by Kate Middleton during her pregnancy. They are rich in Omegas and Shea Butter and make the itchiness go away seconds after applying. It’s amazing for this reason alone, in my opinion. They are also free of parabens, petroleum, pthalate, sodium lauryl, and synthetic fragrance. I like the smell–it’s very light and derived from essential oils. That said, the ratings vary on the EWG‘s website. Though, I’m not sure why, and so far they have been effective for me.
My favorites are: the Stretch Mark Oil, the Tummy Rub Butter, and the Lucky Legs. In the last couple weeks, I noticed that the Lucky Legs really help with pregnancy-induced restless leg syndrome! So, I want to share them with you! I will give 1 sample pregnancy essentials kit (the trial sizes lasted me a month!) to a lucky mom to be.
To win? Just leave a comment below about how far along you are & what you love most about being pregnant!
Winner will be announced on Monday.