Stretch Marks & Pregnancy
Stretch marks, also called “striae distensae” or “striae gravidarum, look like lines or streaks across your skin. Stretch marks happen when your pregnant body grows faster than your skin can keep up with. This causes the elastic fibers just under the surface of the skin to break, resulting in stretch marks.
Doctors say as many as 90% of women will develop stretch marks during their pregnancy. Genetics plays a role as well, so if your mom has stretch marks, you’re likely to have them too.
The good news is they’ll eventually fade and the original color of them will change to white or silver, making them less noticeable.
How to Prevent Stretch Marks during Pregnancy
Although you’re more than likely to get stretch marks during your pregnancy, there are some things you can do to lessen the severity and appearance of them.
Drink lots of water!
Your growing baby puts extra demands on your body’s need for water, so it’s important to stay hydrated during your pregnancy! Watch for cues from your body that you’re getting dehydrated. These can include
The Institute of Medicine recommends that you drink about 80 ounces of water or other beverages each day. Also, avoid alcohol and caffeine as these beverages are known to dehydrate you and can increase your likelihood of developing stretch marks. Be sure to talk to your doctor about how much liquid you should be drinking to keep your pregnant body perfectly hydrated.
Eat vitamin-rich foods
Pregnant moms know they should eat a healthy diet because it’s good for your growing baby. However, there are some vitamins that are super helpful in keeping your pregnancy skin fit and reducing the severity and appearance of stretch marks. These include
Make sure you’re getting enough vitamin C.
Collagen keeps your skin strong, supple and elastic. Doctors say it can also help prevent stretch marks. You can find vitamin C in lots of fruits and vegetables. Citrus fruits, such as oranges and lemons, are especially good sources of vitamin C. Others foods that are good sources of vitamin C include broccoli, cantaloupe, cauliflower, kale, kiwi, papaya, red, green or yellow pepper, sweet potato, strawberries, and tomatoes, to name a few.
Soak up some vitamin D
Doctors have discovered a link between low levels of vitamin D and an increased incidence of stretch marks. The easiest way to get vitamin D is by getting a bit of sun on your skin. Talk to your dermatologist about how much sun exposure is safe. You can also find vitamin D in supplements. It’s also added to a lot of foods that you may already be eating, including dairy products, bread, and cereals.
Dr. Dendy Engleman is a dermatologist who’s been pregnant twice. Her advice? Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! Engelman’s moisturizer of choice during her pregnancy was Bio-Oil. “Even though it’s a pain every day to slather on this stuff, it really does help.”
Natural Remedies for Stretch Marks
Preventing stretch marks may be difficult, but there are many natural treatments that may lessen their appearance.
Coconut oil contains anti-inflammatory properties that can help lighten and fade stretch marks. Just scoop some into your hands and rub it into your stretch marks.
Dermatologist Rachel Nazarian recommends homemade sugar scrubs to help diminish the appearance of stretch marks. She recommends mixing sugar with almond or coconut oil and lemon juice and rub it over your stretch marks for eight to ten minutes several times a week.
Aloe vera is super moisturizing and may help to get rid of stretch marks. You can grow your own or even buy large aloe vera stems from the grocery store or natural food stores.
Medical treatment for stretch marks
There are treatments your dermatologist can perform for stretch marks. They won’t make them disappear, but they can help to minimize the appearance. These include
Your doctor may choose one of these procedures or a combination of several of them to treat your stretch marks.
New moms share their stretch mark stories
“Nothing worked! I oiled every day twice a day and still got stretch marks” -Kara LaCoy
“Bio Oil saved my life. I used it my entire pregnancy with my twin girls and I got ZERO stretch marks!” -Julie Ellis
“I put lotion on my belly every night and morning and still got stretch marks once I hit 8 months” -Gabby Conde
“I used Mederma on my stretch marks. I’ve heard that stretch marks are genetic, but I definitely have stretch marks from when I got heavy in high school, so I’m genetically pre-disposed to getting them. I only have one tiny stretch mark after carrying my son. I say it was the lotion I used and the water I drank.” -Rachel Skala
“Try not to scratch your skin as it’s stretching and itching! That makes them more prominent.” Kay Valentin
This sweet little boy graced our newborn studio with his presence and all his smiles.
Sweet baby Saige turned one and we helped capture this BIG milestone. We offer milestone mini sessions which are great for 6-month-old portraits, first-year portraits and every milestone to follow.
What’s in a name? If you believe the experts, the answer is everything from behavior, to success in the job market and more!
Baby name expert Laura Wattenberg says choosing your newborn baby’s name is so important because of what people really hear when they hear someone’s name. “We all read a lot of information into a name. You hear a name, it’s not just the sound. It’s age, religion, ethnicity and gender and a whole world of culture packed into those few letters.”
Wattenberg wrote the book “The Baby Name Wizard” which is now in its fourth edition. She also started the website Namerology.com which is all about the art and science of baby naming.
Wattenberg says when couples argue over their newborn’s name, there’s usually a bigger issue lurking. “Big name conflicts usually are deep down relationship conflicts. If you find yourself in a big conflict over baby naming, it’s worth thinking about what’s really going on because it’s one of the first of a million decisions you’re going to have to make together as parents.”
Katy Queen is the mother of five children, so she’s been through the process five times. Some choices were easy, others not so much. “We disagreed a lot with some of the kids,” said Queen. “Our first we didn’t know the sex. We easily came up with a boy’s name. Girls were harder, we actually never agreed, so it was good he was a boy. Our second we went until 32 weeks, not agreeing or liking anything then one night we were joking around and the name came to us. Our third was very similar. Our fourth, pretty early on my husband came home with the perfect name. I don’t love his name but it was the right name. Our most recent baby is named after a very important person in my family. When my husband learned about her and how much she meant to my dad, he said we had to use it! We had her name picked out for 3 years!”
Sometimes couples settle on a name that’s not either partner’s favorite, just to have peace and be done with the task. “My husband and I have totally different tastes in names,” said Ashley Taylor. “I like more unique names like Oakley, Arlo, and Sebastian. He likes traditional, like Tom or Thomas for example. So imagine our surprise when the same name made it on BOTH of our lists of baby boy names: Harrison. It wasn’t my number one favorite and it wasn’t his either but it was within the top five on both lists, so we now have a newborn baby Harrison!”
Sometimes disagreements over baby’s name selection can linger. “It’s been two years and my husband is still upset we didn’t name our youngest son Archer,” says Haley Helms.
To add to the pressure of picking a name, researchers now say the right – or wrong – name can affect how well your child does in school, what subjects she’ll be interested in studying, and how successful he or she will be in the job market.
Consider the results of multiple studies on the impact of names:
What trends are coming up in names for 2020? Wattenberg sees a couple of patterns developing.
“Today’s name sound is very smooth and liquid. Lots of vowels, lots of smooth sounds. No hard edges to anything. We are pushing that style to its limit. We have drummed the hard sounds out of our names to an extent,” says Wattenberg.
And what about the trendiness of unisex names? Wattenberg says that’s a bit of an illusion. “What’s happening is there is such a movement towards creativity, parents want names that sound fresh and interesting, so they’re creating new names, inventing something new or turning a word or surname into a first name. Those new names don’t have any traditional gender association. What’s really happening is that we’re no longer naming kids John and Mary so inevitably a lot of names are used for both boys and girls. I don’t see evidence that parents are more eager for unisex names than they were in the past.”
What were the top names of 2019? For the girls, here are the names that topped BabyCenter.com’s baby name report.
Is Using a Doula the Right Choice for You and Your Baby?
We all need somebody to lean on — especially when giving birth. It may not be enough for some mothers to rely on doctors, nurses or partners to get through the painful labor process. Sometimes, a different kind of helping hand is needed.
That’s where the doula comes in. Not to be confused with the midwife, the doula is a trained professional who provides physical and emotional support to women during pregnancy, labor and early postpartum.
What Does a Birth Doula Do?
Where midwives tend to assist more physically with the actual process of labor, doulas provide emotional and educational support throughout the whole processes of pregnancy, labor and after. They are there to offer information and education to mothers and their partners and offer guidance.
“We help Mom and her partner to be as prepared as possible for their baby’s birthday throughout pregnancy,” said Cara Mehlon, a doula from Carmel, Indiana. “During labor we help her feel as comfortable as possible using relaxation techniques, comfort measures and position changes to help labor progress comfortably and safely. Once baby is born we are able to help with breastfeeding as soon as baby is ready to nurse. During the postpartum period a doula comes to the home to check in on the family, discuss how the birth went and support the family with newborn care information including local resources.”
Are Doulas Licensed?
There is no required license to become a doula, but many, like Mehlon, are trained through the Doulas of North America (DONA). With this training, doulas use massage therapy, homeopathic remedies and other tools to keep mothers calm and reassured during the birth process.
Why Hire a Doula?
There are many reasons women choose to use doulas and many things to look for when considering bringing one into your life for your birthing experience.
“Some women may need someone who is more nurturing and others may need someone who will be more straight and to the point during labor,” Mehlon said. “Both are fabulous choices. As a massage therapist, I find many women love receiving massage during labor and then others don’t want to be touched at all. Having a doula that meets with you prior to your birth to get to know your needs and desires for birth is very helpful for everyone involved on your special day.”
For Caitlin Balgeman, the potential for “the unexpected” is what made her want to hire a doula.
“I wanted to have support through my labor, with the goal of having an unmedicated labor but understanding that things don’t always go according to our plans,” Balgeman said. “If the unexpected happened, I wanted someone who knew my wishes and could help advocate for me, as well as helping my husband and I navigate any decisions we might have to make.”
Balgeman also recalled feeling comforted by the presence of Mehlon throughout the span of pregnancy and labor — a presence that most new mothers come to realize is needed if it is their first baby, or if their partner is “squeamish.”
“I think the first word that comes to mind when I think of having a doula is ‘presence,’” Balgeman said. “Cara was such a calming and constant presence throughout my hospital labor, even though I wasn’t always consciously aware of all the work she was doing in the moment! I liked being able to talk through labor and different possibilities with her beforehand, and practice different labor positions with my husband and her. I was able to text her when I had questions, and I was able to call her while I was laboring at home so she could help me gauge how I was progressing and when it was time for us to head to the hospital. It was great to have multiple support people so that I didn’t have to rely on only one person the whole time — it allowed my incredibly loving and also somewhat squeamish husband the chance to have a break, and to have someone he could rely on to know what was happening.”
Though research shows a very small percentage of mothers use doulas to help with their pregnancy — less than 10%, in fact — it also shows that those who do choose to hire a doula are less likely to have pre-term births. A study also found that hiring a doula can lower a woman’s chance of having a cesarean by up to 28%.
The cost of hiring a doula can vary. Only two states currently allow mothers access to hiring doulas through Medicaid — Minnesota, and Oregon. The cost of hiring a doula ranges from $800 to $2,000.
Knowing if a doula is right for you and your baby can be tough. Balgeman claimed that she could think of nothing she didn’t like about Mehlon’s guidance in bringing her newborn into the world.
“Every labor is different and ultimately unpredictable,” Balgeman said, “but doulas are there to help you navigate whatever comes your way. Go ahead and ask any potential doula of yours lots of questions — they can handle it! They want you to feel totally comfortable and safe with them, and communicating any questions, worries, and thoughts is all part of that process.”
Learn More about Doulas
To find out more information or to find a doula in your area, visit dona.org.
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