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14 June, 2008

How To-37: "How to Prevent Pregnancy Stretch Marks"

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit


  1. Eat a very healthy diet to nourish your skin (and your baby) from the inside out. Take your prenatal vitamins and eat the right amount of calories from healthy foods which provide plenty of calcium, protein, whole grains, and vitamin rich fruits and vegetables.
  2. Drink eight or more glasses of water and/or other fluids daily to hydrate your skin and maintain elasticity.
  3. Follow guidelines for gradual weight gain, in the recommended amount. This should be about 25-35 pounds if you're a healthy weight, slightly more if you're underweight or expecting twins and slightly less if you're overweight. The faster you gain weight during pregnancy, the more likely it is you will get stretch marks.
  4. Moisturize your breasts, belly, sides, lower back, thighs and anywhere else you think you might get stretch marks at least morning and night if you wish. Creams and lotions have not been medically proven to prevent stretch marks as they cannot penetrate to the deep skin layer where stretch marks occur, but they can help your skin to feel less dry and itchy. Cocoa butter, almond oil and shea butter are marvelous choices. Also wheatgerm oil. If you can find pure Lanolin, it works very well. If you notice itching where your skin is being stretched, that is a sign to add more moisturizer in that area.
  5. Continue regimen after you deliver until you're back to your target weight -- rapid weight loss can also result in stretch marks!


  • Your moisturizer should be safe and all natural, for your health and your baby's. Try moisturizers like those by Blooming Body, or make your own pregnancy stretch mark cream with cocoa butter, olive oil, and vitamin E cream (just squeeze the contents into the other ingredients, mix and apply!).
  • Consult a specialist; your OB/Gyn or a Dermatologist (skin specialist) may have some suggestions.
  • Wheat germ oil may help.
  • Avoid sun exposure and tanning booths. Also, it is unclear if the ingredients in sunscreen can harm your baby as it develops, so if you are going to be outside, use clothing as your sunscreen.
  • Avoid allowing your skin to dry out. Cold weather and hot showers or baths will dry out your skin. You may need to moisturize your skin two or three times as often as you normally would during winter or if you take hot showers.
  • Even if you are prone to getting stretch marks (you already have them, or women in your family have them), don't get discouraged. You may still be able to avoid getting them to some degree by taking care of your body and skin.
  • Purchase pure cocoa butter from a health food store. Common brands found in regular retailers are not usually pure--check the label. The cocoa butter will be rather hard and solid, so grate some with a microplane or cheese grater, then heat it in a double boiler or a glass measuring cup in the microwave. Once the melted cocoa butter has cooled to just warm, gently smooth it over your belly. This is very soothing, smells wonderful, and helps Mom's belly feel better if nothing else!
  • You can only minimize the appearance with the constant and regular use of creams and other applications. The marks will only fade but they are still there if you look closely or touch the skin. All those expensive creams, oils and ointments can do is improve the tone and appearance of your skin and make the stretch marks less noticeable.


  • Avoid using certain high tech stretch mark products while pregnant. You will find there are several well-known brands that say "not for use by pregnant or nursing women."
  • Similarly, if you are using lotions or creams to prevent or minimize breast stretch marks, be careful when you're nursing. You don't want the baby ingesting the chemicals.

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