It’s been seven years since I gave birth to twin boys, and I still get questions regarding how I avoided stretch marks. Even though my boys were born three months premature, my baby belly got pretty large in the few weeks leading up to that emergency room visit. During my pregnancy, my baby bump was pretty much blemish-free and honestly, I DID get post-natal stretch marks. But, I believe how I cared for my skin during my pregnancy led to the ease of diminishing the stretch marks afterward. Of course, I have to mention that clean-eating and exercise was just as much a part of my lifestyle at that time as it is now, and I do believe that made a huge contribution to my healing. Internal and external self-care should always be high on our list of priorities, especially during such a precious time. Nevertheless, here are some of the things I did to help keep my mid-section glowing and get it as close to its prenatal condition possible.
While pregnant, at least four nights each week, my boys’ father would place a warm towel on my belly to soften my skin. Then he would massage it with a mixture of Bio-Oil, Vaseline, and cocoa butter until it was completely absorbed. This would soften the skin and keep it supple which helped minimize the small tears that create stretch marks as your baby grows. It also helped alleviate that crazy belly itch you begin to experience around month 5 or 6.
Once the babies were born, my stomach was really dark and wrinkly like a raisin! LOL! Immediately after their birth, I just paid attention to making sure I kept the skin moisturized because the babies’ care was truly my priority. Hormones play a huge factor in the discoloration that occurs, so most of it goes away on its own. However, sometimes a bit of it still remains even after a good regimen. The boys were born via cesarean section, so as soon as my incision healed I started implementing a slightly different regimen to help return the skin to its normal color and texture. My moisturizing efforts were just as diligent, but I incorporated dry brushing and exfoliation with a scrub that contained alpha-hydroxy acid.
Dry brushing is one process of exfoliation that reduces the number of dead cells lying on the surface of your skin. I only performed this up to three times per week because it can lead to micro-cuts if done too often. You’ll need a very soft but firm, natural-bristled brush with a short handle. If you’ll be using it for places hard to reach, then a longer handle is necessary. You simply brush over the skin using a downward motion and gentle strokes for a few minutes at a time. DO NOT scrub the skin with a back and forth motion.
Unfortunately, I cannot remember the name of the alpha-hydroxy scrub I used for the wet exfoliation. Should you decide to try this method, I’m sure that any alpha hydroxy acid scrub that is suitable for the face would be appropriate to use on your stomach as well. Just be sure that you’re not sensitive to any of the ingredients contained in your choice. I exfoliated using this method every night while in the shower for approximately 8 weeks post-natal. I have super sensitive skin and I had no problem using it this often. After cleansing my skin, I would place a small amount of the scrub in the palm of my hand and massage it in a circular motion for approximately 30 seconds before rinsing. I would then proceed to use the exact same mixture I mentioned above as a moisturizer for my skin. The result is barely visible stretch marks and a flat well-blended surgery scar.
As I mentioned above, a healthy diet, exercise, and proper hydration more than likely served as a big advantage to my skin’s ability to bounce back. However, I have recommended the process to a few of my friends and family after giving birth and they have experienced results very similar to mine. The main thing to remember is to keep the skin moist during the various stages of your baby’s growth in utero. The itching is one of the biggest signs of your skin stretching so moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. Give yourself A LOT of self-love and care afterward because you deserve to be just as comfortable in your skin as you were before the little blessing(s) came along!