Gaining weight, piles, a bad back, varicose veins and stretch marks are just a few of the many potential side effects of pregnancy. Combined with a massive change of body shape and the wobbly appearance of your stomach after pregnancy and it's no surprise that many women suffer from baby blues or full blown postnatal or postpartum depression.
Whilst many of these changes are inevitable and out of your control, there are some things you can do to alleviate a number of the potential problems of pregnancy.
Avoiding stretch marks on your stomach during pregnancy is one of the things you may be able to influence. Experts are divided on this issue, so there is no conclusive evidence on either side to say that stretch marks can or can't be avoided.
Basically it all boils down to caring for yourself properly at a time when you need to be as healthy and as strong as possible. The following tips will give you the best chances of avoiding stretch marks: -
Make sure you eat a well balanced diet. If you minimise the amount of weight you gain during pregnancy you can help to offset the chances of suffering from stretch marks all over the body. This doesn't mean starting any type of diet, just simply following the usual rules of healthy eating. Eat well most of the time and allow yourself the occasional treat. Keep an eye on what you are eating, don't throw all consciousness of a healthy diet out of the window just because your shape is changing anyway.
If you regularly moisturise your skin at least once a day using a cream containing vitamin A or vitamin E, applied by hand or using a massage glove you will help to improve the circulation and the elasticity of the skin. Applying the cream may help to stop the skin becoming too dry and therefore avoiding stretch marks forming.
Drink plenty of water to ensure that your skin retains its moisture levels, experts suggest at least 2 litres a day. Dry and dehydrated skin has been shown to form stretch marks far more easily than well hydrated skin.
Taking a multi vitamin or a vitamin formula specifically designed for pregnant women may help to cover any deficiencies you may have, again helping to improve the quality of your skin.
Regular activity will also help to improve your circulation, which means the skin will be supplied with the nutrients it needs much faster and the increase in rich oxygenated blood from your lungs will also improve its quality. Exercise will also burn off any calories you don't need which would otherwise be stored as body fat that stretches the skin forcing stretch marks to appear. Not high impact exercise or anything that is too intense, but gentle activities such as walking and swimming are ideal.
Avoiding stretch marks may or may not be possible, but many women who haven't been affected by them swear it was the action they took during pregnancy that was the reason for them not getting them.
If you want to feel happy about your body and stomach after pregnancy then it makes sense to take any steps possible to avoid the many side effects your body is subjected to over the course of the nine months and beyond. Not only will you benefit but the health and well being of your new baby will also be improved dramatically.
Jago Holmes is a registered personal trainer and director of New Image Fitness Ltd. He is a qualified personal trainer with over 10 years experience working with new mums and pregnant women. He has created a website for new mothers, devoted entirely to safe and effective weight loss after pregnancy. You can get instant access to his free reports here
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