I remember when I first found out I was pregnant I started googling things like “stretch mark prevention tips” and “best lotions to prevent stretch marks.” I lathered all kinds of creams on my belly from day one. As I got further along in pregnancy, my skin began to stretch and I found that none of the store bought creams would relieve the constant itchiness. It was then I began to formulate my own belly butter recipe.
I have past experience with using essential oils for skin elasticity. I lost almost 30 pounds a few years ago and wanted to help my skin tighten back up. I used patchouli oil and olive oil every day around my thighs and stomach and didn’t get a single stretch mark. My skin even tightened back up to it’s original luster.
Thinking back on this I decided for the remainder of my pregnancy, I would make my own belly butter. I am happy to report that my itching was relieved and I scathed the pregnancy with only one tiny stretch mark.
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Other things to do to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy
The unfortunate part about all of this is, there is a genetic component to stretch marks. You may lather as much cream as your heart desires, but you could still come out of pregnancy with with a few “battle scars.”
There are certain times in pregnancy when you are more likely to develop stretch marks. You could go your whole pregnancy without any sign of them. The last trimester, both you and your baby start gaining a lot of weight, and this is the likely time your skin will be stretched beyond its capabilities and stretch marks will form.
Regularly using belly butter can help minimize the appearance of stretch marks. In addition to using topical belly butter to keep your skin supple, you can also do the following things:
Skin cells that are hydrated have more ability to stretch than dry skin cells. Pregnant women should drink at least 10-12 eight ounce cups of water a day. (source)
You don’t want to wake up in the morning and chug all the water at once. Water absorbs very quickly in your GI tract and chugging lots of water will over expand your blood vessels. This will alert your kidneys to get rid of the excess fluid all at once and it will become a water in, water out situation. It is much better to sip water slowly throughout the day so your body will be able to put it to good use.
Eat a nutrient-rich diet
It’s obvious that pregnant moms need loads of extra nutrients. So what can we eat that will help our skin with this whole stretching thing?
❤️ Vitamin A is an antioxidant and plays a key role in keeping your skin firm and supple
❤️ Vitamin C helps with producing collagen and elastin
❤️ Vitamin E is an antioxidant which keeps our skin cells healthy by reducing free radicals
❤️ Vitamin D helps with the regulation and growth of new skin cells
❤️ Vitamin B-6 & 12 help collagen and elastin work together nicely
In order to get adequate amounts of these essential vitamins through diet, pregnant women should eat a variety of raw fruits and vegetables plus dairy, eggs, fish, and red meats.
I know exercise seems like the go-to cure for all things healthy, but let’s face it…exercise is one of the best things you can do to maintain your body. We were designed to move and that doesn’t stop just because we are pregnant.
Exercise improves your cardioVASCULAR system which means bigger stronger blood vessels bringing more nutrients to your skin. You don’t have to have a special gym membership to harness this benefit either. Just get outside and go on a brisk walk for an hour.
Homemade Belly Butter Recipe
For this recipe I used organic shea butter and coconut oil as the base. Both of these substances are very efficient in adding moisture and nutrients back into the skin. Coconut oil has been shown to speed healing of wounds. (source) Shea butter helps with the healthy turnover of skin by repairing dry cracked skin. (source)
Sweet almond oil adds the much needed Vitamin A, E, and Zinc to the belly butter recipe. Rosehip is high in Vitamin C and essential fatty acids.
Patchouli essential oil comes from the same plant family as lavender and is native to southeast Asia. It has been used for centuries in alternative medicine and is known to have cell-rejuvenating and scar reducing properties. (source) I have personally seen patchouli oil rejuvenate my skin.
Keep in mind that Patchouli oil has a very earthy smell to it. I happen to love the smell but if it bothers you, you can substitute the recipe with Neroli essential oil which also has beneficial skin properties.
1/2 cup of coconut oil
1/2 cup of organic shea butter
2 tbsp of sweet almond oil
2 tbsp of organic rosehip oil
15 drops Patchouli essential oil
Use a double boiler to melt coconut oil and shea butter, stirring occasionally. This will take about five minutes.
Once fully melted, remove from heat and add sweet almond oil. Stir to combine.
Then transfer the contents to either a stand-up mixer bowl or new glass bowl and place in the fridge for about an hour.
Then whip the mixture on medium high for about 2 minutes or until fluffy peaks appear.
Transfer into a mason jar and store at room temperature for up to three months. (Although it probably won’t last that long.)
How to use this belly butter recipe
Use this belly butter from the beginning of your pregnancy through the postpartum period.
The best time to apply belly butter is after a bath or shower because this is when your pores are open and easily take in all the nutrients.
Apply your homemade belly butter any time your skin starts to feel itchy.
It is helpful to cover your belly in tight fitting clothing promptly after you apply to keep the moisture in for as long as possible. Keep in mind you want to allow adequate “breathing time” for your skin as well.