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Herbal Tips and Recipes on How To Prevent Stretch Marks in Pregnancy

Stretch marks are something that several many women are keen to avoid in pregnancy and there are variety of ways we are able to support the...

stretch mark in pregnancy
Stretch marks are something that several many women are keen to avoid in pregnancy and there are variety of ways we are able to support the integrity of the skin to minimise their presence. Stretch marks in themselves don't seem to be harmful to us and could be seen as an attractive testament to our journey to motherhood however, for better or for worse, we tend to live in a culture where the pilot of the ‘maiden’ is delayed as the ideal of beauty and most people don't seem to be keen to loose it too quickly. leaving aside such philosophical discussion, in this post I hope to share some info with you about what stretch marks are and the way we are able to help to prevent them, furthermore as sharing some nice recipes for bump balms and oil blends that you simply can make up at home.

Stretch marks, or striae, occur in somewhere between 50 and 80th of women during pregnancy, depending on which sources you believe, and result from a tearing of the dermis. this is the middle layer of the skin that is made of connective tissue and contains collagen and elastin fibers that help the skin to stretch and heal. The tears leave scars that appear purple or red to start with however usually fade to silvery white. Our skin is designed to be able to stretch and if there's adequate support within the dermis then marks won't occur.
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Despite youth being on their side, stretch marks are most likely to appear in teenage mums, possibly owing to the hormonal changes that are already occurring in their bodies. Steroid hormones called glucocorticoids limit the production of collagen and elastin leaving skin more likely to tear because it becomes less elastic. this can be why stretch marks can also occur as a side effect of prolonged use of steroid creams.

Many books and websites claim that whether or not you get stretch marks is entirely genetic and no quantity of applying creams or oils can make any difference. this is often not fully correct as, tho' genetic science do play an important role, the few studies done have shown that topical application will help to prevent stretch marks occurring. A German study found that one third of women using a specially developed cream developed stretch marks as opposed to 2 thirds within the control group and in one review, 2 studies were compared and both showed helpful results. The conclusion was, “stretch marks could also be prevented in some women by daily massage however it's unclear if any particular ingredients bring special benefits.” you can read the total review here if you therefore would like.

Luckily there are foods, herbs, base oils and essential oils which all help to prevent stretch marks and aid in keeping skin supple and supported.

Two of the most important herbs used to prevent stretch marks are calendula (Calendula officinalis) and gotu kola (Centella asiatica). These can both be used in massage as herbal infused oils. Antioxidant rich herbs such as hawthorn, elderberry and bilberry are useful in preventing the breakdown of collagen and these can be taken in teas whilst other deeply coloured berries can be enjoyed as part of the diet. Vitamin C is an important co-factor in collagen production and is found in peppers, tomatoes, dark green leafy veg, berries and many other fruits. Anyone pregnant at this time of year is in luck as rosehips are abundant in Vitamin C as well as abundant in the hedgerows right now. Adequate protein intake is also very important.
Calendula
Calendula

Bump Rub Recipes and Ingredients:

Here are two simple recipes that you can make up with a variety of different ingredients to suit yourself. First I’ll give the basic outline of the recipe and then a list of possible options below. In the past many people have asked me if they can substitute some of the ingredients in a recipe for others so hopefully this will show you some of the many possibilities. Of course there are many more base oils that you could use but these are the ones I have found to be most useful.

Mama’s Bump Rub Massage Oil:

Massaging your abdomen is such a beautiful way to connect with your own body and your growing baby and is the perfect opportunity to send love to you both.

To make 100ml:

  • 40 mls light oil such as jojoba (or substitute any of the light oils listed below)
  • 30 mls macerated oil such as calendula
  • 20 mls rich oil such as rosehip and/ or avocado (or substitute any of the rich oils listed below)
  • 7 ml GLA rich oil – borage or evening primrose
  • 2.5 mls vitamin E Oil
  • 0.5 ml Essential oil – optional. (Usually this works out to be about 15 drops per 100ml though this depends on the size of the dropper in the bottle. It is always wise to measure essential oils in a pipette until you get to know how much your droppers dispense.)

Mix all ingredients together and bottle. Massage onto abdomen hips and breasts once or twice a day.

Mama’s Belly Butter:

  • 22ml light oil such as jojoba (or substitute any of the light oils listed below)
  • 20 ml herbal macerated oil such as calendula
  • 20 ml rich oil such as rosehip and/ or hemp seed (or substitute any of the rich oils listed below)
  • 30 g Shea Butter (or any of the butters listed below)
  • 5 g beeswax or candellia wax
  • 2.5 ml vitamin E oil
  • 0.5 ml Essential oil – optional


This makes for a rich balm so only a small amount is needed but it’s very nourishing and one I really enjoy using.

Melt the butters in a bain marie then add the liquid oils in a slow drizzle until fully incorporated. Let cool a little but not enough to begin setting then add the vitamin E oil and essential oils. Mix well, pour into jars and allow to set fully before using.

Variations:

One tip when choosing base oils is to check for the smell as some high quality oils will have a strong smell of nuts or seeds. If so make sure to mix small quantities with other oils that don’t smell so strongly otherwise you will mask the aroma of the essential oils as they are in a low dilution. Be aware that no oil should ever smell off or rancid however.

Rich Oils: These oils are particularly nourishing and high in nutrients that can literally work to feed the skin. They have a thick texture however which is why I always recommend mixing them with lighter oils. Rich oils that would be particularly nice in a bump rub include avocado, rosehip, macadamia nut, hemp seed and wheatgerm.

GLA rich oils: Evening primrose or borage both contain high levels of GLAs and are a useful addition to a bump rub in small quantities. Make sure you buy these oils very fresh as they have a shelf life of only six months. It is always wise to store them in the fridge before use.

Light Oils: Jojoba, apricot, almond, hazelnut or grapeseed (refined) would all work well as lighter oils to make your finished product easier to apply. They also contain many nutrients of their own.

Macerated Oils: herbal infused oils such as calendula or gotu kola are the obvious ones to go for but chamomile, lavender or rose would also be lovely choices here.

Butters: Coconut, cacao, shea or mango butter are all lovely on the skin. Choose coconut or mango if you want something lighter, cacao for a firmer texture and shea for a creamy feel.

Essential Oils: Many essential oils are best avoided during pregnancy until the birth itself when they can play an important role. However there are several that are very safe and fine to use from your second trimester on in low percentages like in this recipe. For these rubs I would stick to one or a combination of the following oils; mandarin, neroli, tangerine, lavender and ylang ylang. If you want something refreshing I would use mandarin and tangerine or something more relaxing for the evening could perhaps contain lavender and neroli. Ylang ylang gives a beautiful floral and exotic smell. Neroli is a very expensive essential oil but it is prized for it’s regenerative abilities so is ideal in preventing stretch marks.

Do leave a comment below if you have any queries or anything I have said is unclear.

COMMENTS

Dislaimer: All the tips mentioned here are strictly informational. 
This site does not provide medical advice. Consult with your doctor or other health care provider before using any of these tips or treatments.
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