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10 Tips to Prevent + Treat Pregnancy Stretch Marks

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Stretch marks are a common trademark of pregnancy. In fact, up to 90% of women get stretch marks at some point during pregnancy. But that’s not surprising; your body goes through a lot during that time (it literally grows an entire human being from scratch.)

And while knowing that the most important thing is a healthy baby, I still wanted to do everything I could to prevent them. Depending on your genetics and the hormonal changes you experience, sometimes you will get a few new stretch marks no matter what you do.

But if you want to keep your skin looking and feeling its best, give these tips a try!

How to Prevent Stretch Marks During Pregnancy

1. Stay hydrated

Keeping your body hydrated is one of the best ways to keep your skin healthy.  And if you’ve heard it once during pregnancy, you’ve heard it about a zillion times—drink plenty of water. Isn’t that the remedy for 90% of pregnancy ailments?

Well-hydrated skin is better able to handle stretching, so drink up! I tried to drink at least 100 ounces every day. 

Bonus tip: Keeping a reusable water bottle with you will help you drink enough water throughout the day.

2. Apply Moisturizing Creams or Oils

Applying external moisturizers is another great way to promote your skin’s elasticity. It can also combat the discomfort of itchy skin if you’ve had the misfortune to experience that so far.

I already used coconut oil on my skin after showering daily, so as soon as we found out we were expecting, I started applying the oil to my tummy and lower abdomen, too.

I kept this up for the first 7 months of pregnancy and then switched to an alternative natural skin remedy recipe that our birth instructor shared with us. (I’ve shared the exact recipe below.)

There are also endless moisturizers available to purchase if you decide not to go the DIY route. Shea butter, cocoa butter, aloe vera and plant-based oils are all popular for helping with skin elasticity and the dry skin some expecting moms experience.

If you can, aim for something with as natural ingredients as possible. It’s good to avoid overloading the body with chemicals at any time, but especially during pregnancy. Just be careful with any essential oils they contain since some aren’t suitable for pregnant moms.

Unfortunately, there’s little evidence to prove that most dedicated skin care products marketed to prevent the development of stretch marks – and diminish them once they exist – work for everyone.

But anecdotally many Moms swear by something they’ve used! So, find something that you feel does the best to keep your skin supple.

3. DIY natural stretch mark remedy

I came up with my own personal approach to ward off stretch marks. When it comes down to it though, my “strategy” was pretty simple and could apply to keeping your skin healthy whether pregnant or not.

Just like I wanted to stay as healthy as I could throughout the pregnancy, I wanted to do the same with my skin.

If you’re into home remedies, you could give this quick and simple skincare recipe a go. Now, I’ll just throw this out there: this treatment looks gross.

But it seems to work, so give it a try!

Homemade Belly Butter for Stretch Marks

  • Prep time: 5 mins
  • Total time: 5 mins


  • ½ cup aloe vera gel
  • 1 cup virgin olive oil
  • 4 capsules vitamin A oil
  • 6 capsules vitamin E oil


  • Place all ingredients in a blender and mix until well blended.
  • Store mixture in an airtight container in the fridge.
  • Apply at least once daily.

Just another FYI, I was told that it is also safe to use to promote the elasticity of skin elsewhere. So feel free to apply it to your “nether regions” to assist in natural birth when the time comes.

4. Using Hyaluronic Acid in Pregnancy

Hyaluronic acid is one particular ingredient that is renowned for maintaining flexibility and elasticity of the skin. Studies are starting to show that it’s effective when used on newer stretch marks, too. The bonus is that it’s generally considered safe to use during pregnancy but do check what other ingredients are included in any hyaluronic acid skincare products you choose. 

If you don’t like it, you can always switch back to one of the more conventional stretch mark creams.

5. Strive for healthy weight gain

Another factor that contributes to stretch marks during pregnancy is weight gain. Obviously, as you gain weight, your skin stretches. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean the appearance of stretch marks now or loose skin after pregnancy, but it might, especially if you experience rapid weight gain.

So, it goes without saying that maintaining a relatively steady level of weight gain can help with preventing stretch marks and saggy skin.

Everyone’s body responds differently to pregnancy, so you can’t necessarily completely control your weight gain. However, by following a balanced diet and exercising regularly, you can better regulate your weight gain and avoid adding a lot of excess weight.

I didn’t work out heavily throughout my pregnancies, but I made sure to walk several times a week. This one habit alone seemed to really help me control how much weight I gained throughout the entire pregnancy.

Weight training can also be really helpful during pregnancy. It boosts blood circulation, which is good for skin health, and it can help with staying a healthy weight. Speak to your medical professionals for advice on what’s appropriate for you during and after pregnancy.

6. Eat a Healthy Diet

As I’ve mentioned above, eating well goes hand-in-hand with maintaining a healthy weight throughout your pregnancy. But what you eat affects more than just your weight.

Healthy, elastic skin starts from within. Putting lotions and potions onto the surface of the skin can be a helpful boost. But ideally, you want to be taking in the dietary nutrients you need for your skin fibres to be supported and grow healthily.

Vitamins A, C, and D, along with zinc and plenty of protein, are building blocks for robust new skin growth. Vitamin C, in particular, is critical for collagen production. So be sure to include plenty of citrus fruits and green leafy vegetables like broccoli.

7. Avoid Caffeine

If you’re breastfeeding, you might have already decided to cut down your caffeine intake. And doing so could also reduce the likelihood of getting stretch marks. 

Coffee and sodas containing caffeine are dehydrating to the body. As we talked about above, it’s important to stay well-hydrated during pregnancy.

Taking in lots of drinks with caffeine just challenges your body on that front even more than it already is. And that can really affect your skin texture.

These tips will hopefully help to avoid stretch marks from pregnancy. But what can you do if you already HAVE stretch marks? Is it possible to completely get rid of them?

How to Remove Stretch Marks After Pregnancy

Technically, stretch marks are scars, so it can be difficult to get rid of them completely. However, there are various medical treatments and topical treatments to try that may improve the appearance of them.

8. Try Topical Products

After pregnancy, you can use tretinoin creams or something containing vitamin A-derived retinoids. These ingredients help with collagen production and may help the look of your scars.

Note that these ingredients will get into your breast milk, so you need to wait until you’ve finished lactating to use them.

As mentioned above, hyaluronic acid is safe to use at each stage, although it works best on early stretch marks.

9. Minimally-Invasive Dermatological Procedures

Treatments like microdermabrasion and microneedling can stimulate collagen production on the affected areas and help to blend the appearance of postpartum stretch marks. Chemical peels with ingredients like glycolic acid might also be appropriate.

Speak with a dermatologist to find the best way to treat stretch marks for you and your skin type as well as what’s suitable if you’re breastfeeding.

10. Laser Therapy

There are various laser treatments available these days that can improve skin elasticity and boost the production of collagen fibres. As with the other dermatological procedures, discuss treatment options with your healthcare provider to decide what is likely to have the best results for you.

Accepting Your Changing Body

New Moms have so much change to get used to. It can be difficult to take everything in but if you can, try and accept the changes you see.

Allow things to be how they are right now. That doesn’t mean you can’t work to get back down to your pre-pregnancy weight if you want to or take steps to address the newer stretch marks or sagging skin on your body.

But aim to love the changes you feel and the newer stretch marks you see. If you did gain a few, know it’s not the end of the world.

Stretch marks fade over time, even without specific treatments. Besides, pregnant women aren’t the only people in the world that get stretch marks. Plenty of men get them too.

And the good news is that most people don’t care about these things as much as we think they do.