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
Having a Baby During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Your pregnancy is meant to be an exciting, happy time! But during the COVID pandemic, you may be experiencing increased anxiety and stress over your own health and your newborn baby’s health.
The good news is that doctors say pregnant women are not more likely to be infected with Coronavirus than the general public. The bad news is that your birth plan and plans for visitors during your newborn’s first few weeks and months at home will be drastically altered by new safety guidelines.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
COVID-19, also known as the Coronavirus, is a respiratory illness. Symptoms can include
Should I go to the hospital if I am pregnant and have COVID-19 symptoms?
The Centers for Disease Control recommends you get immediate medical help if you are experiencing any of the emergency warning signs for the Coronavirus. They include
If I have Coronavirus, will my unborn baby have it too?
Doctors still aren’t sure if pregnant women who have the Coronavirus can pass it to their unborn baby. One small study of women diagnosed with COVID-19 found no evidence of the virus in the mother’s amniotic fluid, umbilical cord blood or breast milk. However, doctors caution that not enough research has been done to give a definitive answer.
After your baby is born, he is susceptible to the virus. Hospitals and birthing centers have made drastic changes to their policies and practices to protect parents and babies from the virus.
Questions to ask your medical provider about delivering your baby during the Coronavirus pandemic
As your due date gets closer, you might be feeling a little more anxious than most expectant moms about the labor and delivery process. After all, your birth plan may have been scrapped due to all the new Covid-19 precautions. In some cases, your partner and/or support workers like doulas may not be able to attend your labor and delivery. Being as prepared as possible is key to helping you remain calm, confident, and less anxious in the days and weeks leading up to your baby’s delivery. Here are some questions you should ask your health care provider.
Online pregnancy, birth and parenting classes
You may have signed up for birth and parenting classes prior to your baby’s arrival. Unfortunately, doctors say live, hands-on classes are just not safe these days. However, there are plenty of great resources for online labor, delivery, and newborn baby care classes. You can ask your healthcare provider if your local hospital is offering any classes online. Here are some online educational resources for expectant and new parents:
Lamaze International has a great mix of pregnancy, labor, delivery, and parenting resources. Some are free and some are paid. Click here to see Lamaze International’s pregnancy and parenting resources.
The online parenting resource BabyCenter also has an entire library of FREE labor and delivery videos.
Check with your doctor to find a lactation consultant you can contact after you go home with your baby. Even though they can’t help you in person, they can still offer support and advice over the phone or online. You can also find a lactation consultant by visiting the La Leche League’s website.
How to protect my newborn baby from Coronavirus
As sad as it seems to keep your new baby at a distance from excited family and friends, it’s important that you do so in order to limit her exposure to people who may have the virus.
Again, the Centers for Disease Control recommends the same precautions for new parents as for the general public. These include
Can I breastfeed my newborn baby if I have the Coronavirus?
The CDC recommends talking to your healthcare provider about whether or not to breastfeed if you have the Coronavirus or have been exposed to it. In the limited studies that have been done so far, researchers say the virus has not been found in breastmilk.
If you have been diagnosed with the virus but still wish to feed your baby breastmilk, the CDC recommends washing your hands and wearing a mask when nursing your newborn baby. They also suggest that new moms with COVID-19 can pump breastmilk and have someone who is not infected feed the baby. Just be sure to thoroughly wash the pump and all bottle parts after each use.
New moms share their COVID-19 birth experiences.
Just be prepared to take all the snacks and extras you need because no one is allowed to leave the unit, not even for the cafeteria or vending machine.
Only one person is allowed at the hospital. It must be the same person the whole time. If they leave, they can’t come back. They did make an effort to discharge early if all was well. We brought him home at less than 48 hours old.
No one outside of our immediate family has met him other than through our glass front door. 🙁
Everyone in Labor and Delivery wore masks at all times, and full personal protective equipment during the actual birth. They discharged us at 24 hours instead of 48. The baby nursery was closed so the baby was in the room with us the whole time. We exited through a separate exit that only Labor and Delivery staff uses. I’m actually not sure if they would have allowed my husband to leave the unit because he didn’t try. We got our food delivered to the room. The nurses and doctors were fabulous. I would never have known there was a global crisis going on, aside from the masks being worn all the time. We didn’t have to wear masks in our room but when we came in and left, they gave us masks to wear.
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.