Self-care is the key to a harmonious pregnancy
In a period of nine months a new life enters the world. This is an amazing and wonderful time and you should be able to appreciate and love the miracle that is taking place. Taking this into account, the presence of stretch marks is really a secondary concern.
However, you can find ways to add some self-care to your yoga practice which can help to improve the elasticity of your skin, allowing it to stretch harmoniously and contract back down to size. In order to do this, it is helpful to understand how the stretch marks are created in the first place.
How stretch marks form during pregnancy
Any time that the skin undergoes stretching in a relatively short time due to rapid weight gain, there is the risk that the fascial tissue can tear. This tissue is located directly under the skin in what is called the subcutis. The result of this are the visible lines across the skin where the tearing took place, known medically as striae distensae . These stretch marks are reddish at first due to bursted blood vessels. Over time the subcutaneous layer becomes scarred and thin white lines remain across the skin. Stretch marks are particularly common during pregnancy, so much that they even have their own medical term, striae gravidarum. Most often these marks appear on the chest, abdomen and hips. Over 75% of all women are affected by these unsightly lines.
Most important tips to promoting healthy connective tissue
It goes without saying that you will reduce your chances of getting stretch marks if you maintain healthy habits during your pregnancy. The following tips provide a good basis in order to promote the elasticity of your connective tissue, allowing it to expand with less damage:
- Healthy diet: Do something good for your connective tissue by eating a sufficient amount of fresh fruit and vegetables. This is because the vitamins C (citrus fruits, kiwi), E (nuts, oils, vegetables) and A (carrots, broccoli, peppers) are so important for our fascia. They keep the tissue supple and elastic.
- Exercise: When you are active and moving, you help to promote circulation to your skin, allowing your connective tissue to adapt better to changes. Not only that, it can help you to gain weight in balanced increments.
- Drink right: Drinking enough of the right fluids is often overlooked during pregnancy. You should be drinking 2-3 liters of water a day. Coffee and black tea should be avoided in pregnancy because they have a negative effect on connective tissue.
- Spa and massage: A gentle massage and sensible skin care to keep the skin moist is a great way to promote elasticity. Taking a hot bath or going in the sauna can strain connective tissue and promote breakage.
Find a comfortable seat. Gently pull a small skin fold on the abdomen just below the navel and move upwards with a rolling movement until you reach the chest. Then starting from a point beside your first roll, create the same upward movement until the entire abdominal area has been covered.
Effect: This exercise allows the fascia to become more supple and prepares it for further stretching as the pregnancy advances. In this way, you can avoid the type of skin damage that causes stretch marks.
Enjoy the practice of self-care, mama!