As you may have guessed, pregnancy causes many changes to happen to your body. Hormones go wild, you start to have random cravings for pickles and peanut butter and you start to gain weight to accommodate your unborn child. After all, you are eating for two now! However, with added weight comes other potential problems you may or may not be prepared for. Of course, it is necessary to gain weight to accommodate your child and provide the nutrition they need, but along with that comes the possibility of unsightly changes, like stretch marks and cellulite.
When you gain weight in such a rapid fashion as what happens when a pregnancy progresses, the skin has a difficult time adapting. While skin has a fairly high elasticity for most women, it isn’t nearly enough in most cases to help them not face issues when their body is altering in just weeks and months. However, there are things you can do to reduce the risk of getting not only stretch marks, but cellulite as well!
The first thing that any pregnant woman who wants to bounce back from pregnancy should do is to exercise. This should occur before, during and after pregnancy (though when you are pregnant, it is highly advised to speak to a professional to see what you should or shouldn’t do). One of the causes of cellulite is excess fat buildup and by working out, you can reduce the calories that are being stored in your body as fat. If you are trying to get pregnant, you should be working out before pregnancy actually occurs because the healthier and more fit you are going into the process, the healthier and more fit you will be coming out of it.
It is also important, along with exercise, to keep a good nutritious diet in effect. Not only will this provide your child with the nutrition that they need and deserve, but it also keeps yourself as healthy as possible. If you can be consistent with a diet that is healthy, you will reduce the empty calories that enter your body. Empty calories serve no purpose as they do not provide energy, which you will need to keep active and stay healthy! You can even take it a step further and add in fiber-rich foods packed with nutrients such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables. These will not only provide your baby with the nutrients he/she needs, but they are also great at helping stave off cellulite.
Moisturizing becomes especially important during pregnancy, both for stretch marks and cellulite. Before you read on, take note of this very important fact: Not all moisturizers are created equal. It is imperative that you use a moisturizer that is safe for use during pregnancy. This should be clearly labeled on the container, but, to extra safe, consult a professional. Much like the healthier in, healthier out mantra I said earlier, the same applies here. It is important that you do not neglect the health of your skin as, during pregnancy, your skin is already being stretched to the limits. The more that you can moisturize the skin, not only will it help it’s elasticity to be able to cope with the oncoming changes that you will face, but it will also allow the skin to bounce back more efficiently after you have your child and begin the slimming process.
Cellulite during pregnancy may be something that you just have to deal with however. Unfortunately for women everywhere, thank to hormones going crazy during pregnancy, if you get cellulite is really not up to you sometimes. The female hormone estrogen, which is crucial in the preparation for giving birth, also controls fat distribution in the areas near the female reproductive organs. As estrogen production becomes higher and higher as you near birthing, more fat begins to accumulate in the typical problem areas: the buttocks, thighs and abdomen. This also results in a partial blockade and weakening of the lymphatic system between your cells which helps to remove toxins, bad cells and excess water. An increased production also can result in the weakening of connective tissues. All these factors can help contribute to the introduction of cellulite to your body and, unfortunately, there isn’t much that can be done to stop it except the preventative measured talked about above. Though there may be a few things you should do to help try to prevent the formation of cellulite while pregnant, there are also things that need to be avoided.
This should go without saying but other anti-cellulite measures such as laser treatments or body shaping procedures should be avoided. These methods are not safe while you are with child. If you are going to go with moisturizers (and you should!), make certain that you use ones that are pregnancy-safe. Topical treatments don’t simply just reside on the outer layer of skin; the body also absorbs some of those treatments into the body. With a baby on board, this is a vital concern for your unborn child and for you. As a rule of thumb, if it is a commonly known and used product, the chances are that it is safe for use. However, the more specific a product gets, the more careful you should be about its use. Below are a couple of ingredients that you should avoid:
Retinoids – Consumption of high amounts of vitamin A through superficial treatmets may be harmful to an unborn child. Oral retinoids, such as Accutane has been correlated with birth defects. This is what retinoids may look like on the label of a product:
• Retin-A, Renova
• Retinoic Acid
• Retinyl linoleate
• Retinyl palmitate
• Tazorac and avage
Salicylic Acid – Topical use may be acceptable (below 2% of salicylic acid in content) however doctors cautiously suggest against it. Products containing salicylic acid taken orally may result in birth defects. If a product contains salicylic acid, its label will show one of those ingredients:
• Salicylic Acid
• Beta Hydroxy Acid
Doctors warn that these ingredients may be detrimental to an unborn child, however this is mostly when taken in an oral format. Use of products, when applied to the skin superficially, containing these ingredients may be safe as doctors advise against them simply to err on the side of caution. However, if you are an expecting mother, you may want to think about doing the same thing. It is important when you have another person’s life to worry about, that you consciously consider the consequences of every action you make and this extends to even the seemingly small things, such as beauty products. Like my mother always told me: it is better to be safe than sorry.