Pregnancy is an amazing journey, but for many mums-to-be, it is not always an amazing experience, as there are so many ways that the body changes. From morning sickness to migraines, every trimester can bring its own challenges. Stretch marks affect many women and I often provide tips that my clients can use at home. These are some top tips on how you can help to prevent stretch marks and how you can help ease stretch marks after birth that I share with my massage clients.
I shall be covering other aspects that can affect you during your pregnancy in later blogs, including Carpal Tunnel and swollen legs and feet.
As a Massage Therapist, I have seen hundreds of ladies who are pregnant during the last 15 years, it is always a pleasure to be able to be a small part of this amazing journey. I hope that these techniques can be something that you add into your daily routine, and can even get your partner involved!
Pregnancy Stretch Mark
This is a big one! Luckily for some ladies, they have a natural ability to have lovely stretchy skin. Yes, it really does come down to genetics. However, there are still things that you can do to prevent stretch marks and also to help them heal during and post-natal.
You can see my full video, with self-massage techniques for stretch marks during pregnancy below. The sooner you start the better.
When Do Stretch Marks Start When Pregnant?
This can vary enormously. However, they normally only start to occur as the baby grows. As your skin begins to stretch, areas where the skin is thinner or there is scaring can start to be affected.
For many ladies, this does not happen until around 30 weeks, at which point it is often hard to see the areas as that lovely bump is in the way!
If you can start massaging as soon as possible then you will already be helping the skin. Boosting it with additional oils that will help the skin with its elasticity.
What Are The Best Oils To Use To Prevent Stretch Marks?
I always use a hand-blended massage oil for all my pregnancy massages. I have put the full recipe below for you, with all the links that you need.
There are also some great oils and balms on the market. I have put my top picks below. I would always recommend using an oil or balm, not only are they more nutritious for the skin but they feel lovely when you are massaging them into your bump (especially if you can get your partner to do it!)
- Bio-Oil, this has been around for some time and I know that many of the pregnant ladies love it.
- Neal’s Yard Remedies Mothers Balm, I love this one and use this on bump during every pregnancy massage at the Massage Centre.
- Welda does a fabulous range of all-natural products, and their stretch marks oil is another firm favourite.
DIY Stretch Mark Prevention Oil
Coco Butter – 50g
Shea Butter – 50g
Grapeseed Oil – 100ml
Jojoba Oil – 50ml
Small bowl that can fit ONTOP of a saucepan
Spoon for stirring
Bottle/s, either a 200ml bottle, or several smaller 50ml bottles
How To Make Your Own Oil
- Put both of the types of butter in a bowl
- Put a small amount of water into the saucepan
- Put your bowl onto of the pan, make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water.
- Bring the pan to the bowl and allow the butter to melt
- Add in the liquid oils
- Decant into bottles, I would use either a funnel, or put the oil into a jug then pour into your bottles.
- Use liberally where needed
How To Massage To Prevent Stretch Marks
The oil or balm that you use plays a significant role in the prevention and treatment of stretch marks. These ‘blended’ oils allow for each oil’s ability to penetrate the surface of the skin and to be absorbed into different layers of the skin structure.
Not only that, but they also feel amazing! Silky and easily absorbed without that horrid sticky or tacky feeling that you can often get from lotions.
For full instructions on HOW to massage, check out the video above. It covers the techniques that you need and also when you should be massaging to prevent stretch marks.
These self-massage techniques will also help if you are suffering with itchy skin during pregnancy, as the oils help to soothe and feed the skin.
Where Can Stretch Marks Appear?
Stretch marks can appear in all sorts of places during pregnancy. From areas around the breast area, as they start to grow in preparation for feeding, even the thighs can develop stretch marks. Usually, though it is from the lower tummy upwards and around the hips and sometimes on the lower back that the most frequent stretch marks occur.
You can use the same self-massage techniques on the thighs, breasts, hips and lower back to help prevent stretch marks.
Can I Get Rid Of Stretch Marks?
Yes, you can help them ‘fade’, where the skin will go from the red lines that we associate with pregnancy stretch marks to a pale white line. Often, with regular massaging, you can eventually get these lines to fade to the point they are hardly seen. However, if the stretch marks have been there for years, no amount of oil, lotion or massaging will get rid of them completely.
The sooner you start on this healing process the better.
What About Post Natal Stretch Marks and Scars?
You can start addressing the skin as soon as you can. BE AWARE of any scars, cuts or tears that you may still have due to birth. DO NOT work near any ‘c – section’ wounds until you have been checked over by your health visitor. You do not want to be pulling any of the tissue around this area.
Once you are starting to heal you can start with very gentle massage circles, not pulling the skin at all. This can also really help with the scar tissue. The same oil (if you are using the ones listed above) can be used as they are completely natural and do not have any chemicals that can affect the wound area.
As always, please do check with your health professional to ensure that it is safe for you to be massaging at this time.
Massage During Pregnancy
For more information on what a pregnancy massage looks like, and what is involved in a prenatal massage, then have a read of the massing during pregnancy blog. It is so important when looking for a prenatal massage therapist that they are fully qualified and able to adapt a massage for every trimester of your journey.
Other Pregnancy Tips
Overheating can really get you down when you are pregnant. You can read some great tips on how to stay cool over on the Buddha Buddies website, where you can also find lots of ideas on what to do with your baby (once they arrive), from baby massage to activities that boost your baby’s brain.
Looking after yourself at this time is crucial, so how about adding in some mindfulness to your day? You can quickly add in this great one-minute mindfulness practice to help you stay calm and relaxed. It is so easy to do and you can do it anywhere!
I hope that you are able to embrace this amazing journey, it is certainly a rollercoaster!
Please do leave a comment below to let me know if these help you at all.
If you would love some more support during this time, then head over to the Mommy Did You Know Page, she has some amazing support for mums-to-be. The Buddha Buddies Facebook Page has lots of ideas on things to do when the baby arrives.
Wishing you a fab pregnancy!
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The opinions and views expressed on this blog and website are purely my own.
This blog provides general information about health, massage and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this blog, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.
If you or any other person has a medical concern, you should consult with your professional medical professional.