Call me crazy but the first thing I did after finding out that I was pregnant was order some belly oil. Someone told me a while ago that you should start oiling your belly from the day you find out you’re pregnant until eight weeks after you have the baby. I took that very seriously (obviously) by purchasing belly oil within an hour after me finding out. I was going to do everything I could to avoid getting stretch marks. Stretch marks are mainly hereditary, so if your mother got stretch marks, you will most likely get stretch marks. But that’s not always true. Now I have to address this and say, getting stretch marks isn’t the end of the world. Many women get stretch marks from having babies and not having babies. It’s ok. Some women call them their “tiger stripes” after having a baby and embrace everything that their body went through to create life. I think that it is perfectly fine to have stretch marks. In fact, I already had some stretch marks prior to getting pregnant and they don’t bother me. However, if there are things that I can do to prevent/treat them or at least try, then I’m going to do it! Why not? Plus, I feel like in doing all of these things I’m taking better care of and giving my body some extra love. I’m a skin care freak too so, it’s just my thing and I enjoy it.
Here are the products and tips that have helped me (so far). You can use the same routine/methods in minimizing and reducing stretch marks as well.
Hatch Mama Belly Oil
This was my very first purchase after finding out I was pregnant. The Hatch Mama Belly Oil is more of a ‘dry’ oil so it goes on really nice and absorbs fast. It has a ton of amazing non toxic ingredients that help minimize stretch marks and keep your skin hydrated. Although the name is called Belly Oil, you can use this all over – and even if you’re not pregnant!
African Botanics Marula Firming Botanical Body Oil
I added this product in when I started to show and my belly was growing. I started noticing little red lines around my belly button which are the beginning signs of stretch marks and I knew I needed to up my prevention game. The oil promotes skin firmness, elasticity (the key when your belly is growing), and hydrates. Like the Hatch Mama this Oil is packed with natural ingredients and smells amazing. This is a much thicker oil than the Hatch Mama, which is what your skin needs to stay hydrated and create elasticity in order to stretch for that growing little baby.
Burts Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter
On top of my oils I layer with this belly butter. I love this belly butter because it feels super rich and thick, and is unscented, which is nice because sometimes the smells just get to you. It’s important to kind of seal everything in with this. The Shea and Jojoba butters along with Vitamin E contained in this product moisturizes and keeps your skin smooth and supple. Everything in it helps support your skin as it prepares to grow and stretch (and stretch back).
***DON’T FORGET: When applying all of these oils/body butters, don’t forget to not only do your belly but your sides, back, hips, butt, and boobs as well. These are all the places your skin will most likely stretch from pregnancy.***
I was introduced to dry brushing by my skin care guru, Tiffany Turnham. It’s called a dry brush, therefore, keep it dry and don’t take it in the shower. I use this brush about three times a week to exfoliate my body and get rid of all of the dead skin cells. Before getting in the shower you gently brush in circular motions on your skin all over. Yes, it kinda feels like you’re using the bbq scraper thing on your skin at first but then it feels like the itch you never knew you had to scratch. Great description, right?! That’s how it feels to me at least. However, once you wash your body in the shower and get out your skin feels soo soft! I think exfoliating your belly/body is something that a lot of us forget to do but is vital in preventing and treating stretch marks. I can’t find a link to the one that I have but this one is very similar.
Other Important Tips!
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Drinking water keeps your body hydrated from the inside out. You can use all the products in the world on your skin to moisturize and keep it hydrated but if you’re not doing the same thing for the inside of your body you might as well be doing nothing at all. I carry a Hydroflask with me everywhere I go so I’m always reminded to drink water. You can also get a Takeya bottle that is a little cheaper than the Hydroflask, and does the same thing. Water is so important for your body whether you’re pregnant or not. You can look this up anywhere, H20 does a body good – so drink it!
Being consistent with a routine is so important when you want to see results. It’s like going to the gym. You can’t work out once and expect to get a six pack, it takes consistent work. The same goes with this stretch mark routine. One thing that really helped me with my new routine is that I started on day one of finding out I was pregnant. Even though my belly was not growing and nothing had changed for a while, I created this habit early on and it became easy to stick to as I added more products to the routine. You can also think of this just like you do with brushing your teeth. First thing when you wake up, lube up the belly and brush your teeth, and same thing when you go to bed.
How the heck do I incorporate this into my daily routine???
I know this might seem like a lot at first but once you get used to it, it really isn’t a big deal. Here’s how I incorporated this into my daily routine and my progression of adding in more products.
From day one of finding out I was pregnant I started using the Hatch Mama Belly Oil every morning and night.
Weeks 1-11 : Hatch Mama Belly Oil AM & PM
Once I hit the 12 week mark I started applying it once during the day as well. If you’re at work or out and about, keep a bottle at your desk or bring your oil with you. Yes, I will bring my belly oil with me if I know I’m going to be out all day. You actually get used to your belly being hydrated and it feels quite nice.
Weeks 12-17: Hatch Mama Belly Oil AM/Mid-day/PM
Around 18 weeks when I really started to grow I added in the African Botanics Oil, Burts Bees Belly Butter, and dry brushing. However, I only used the African Botanics Oil and Burts Bees Belly Butter at night. I would apply the Hatch Mama oil, let it soak in, the African Botanics Oil, and then the Burts Bees Belly Butter to seal it all in. I would dry brush about 3x per week before showers. It only takes a few minutes so I would do this while the shower warms up. Ok, now it seems like I’ve got a lot going on but really if you think about it, these extra steps and products only take up to (maybe) 5 minutes extra of your day.
1. Hatch Mama Belly Oil – AM/Mid-day/PM
2. African Botanics Oil – PM
3. Burts Bees Belly Butter – PM
*Dry brush before showers 3x/week*
Now at 31 weeks pregnant I am doing the Hatch Mama and African Botanics in the AM (sometimes I add in the belly butter too), Hatch Mama around lunch time, and all three products in the PM. I’ll continue to do this exact routine up until the end of pregnancy and postpartum.
Weeks 27- 8 weeks postpartum:
1. Hatch Mama Belly Oil – AM/Mid-day/PM
2. African Botanics Oil – AM/PM
3. Burts Bees Belly Butter – AM/PM
*Dry brush before showers 3x/week*
One thing that we tend to forget is that even if you don’t get stretch marks during pregnancy, you can get them after when your skin is shrinking back, which is why it’s important to continue this routine after you have the baby.
Now, whether you use these exact products or do something similar, be consistent, drink lots of water, and love your body!