You know all those beautiful fantasies you have of being pregnant and swanning around like a total ‘earth mother’ in floaty dresses with flowers in your hair? Yeah, if that happens, you go girl, but for the most part you can forget everything instagram shows you – pregnancy is so not that. Replace the image with waddling like a penguin, huffing and puffing when you go any further than two steps, living in compression leggings and gross things happening to your body that are totally unexpected and that nobody ever tells you about because they are just.too.awful. And then there’s stretchmarks.
No mama-to-be is happy about the thought of their skin tearing into permanent ‘tiger claw scars’ as mums refer to them. And the itchiness related to the skin stretching to accommodate baby (or in my case babies) is really a bit of a kick in the bum as well.
I have been religious about applying oil to my belly morning and night and so far so good – minimal itching and zero stretchmarks. However, we do need to get real … stretchmarks are mostly down to genetics. I do have stretchmarks on my breasts and hips from sprouting from child to teenager, so that could mean I am prone to them, or it could be put down to teenage hormones. My mother’s belly is stretchmark free, but she never had twins. So will I get them, who knows? Regardless, I’m doing everything I can to care for my belly and prevent stretchmarks throughout pregnancy.
Massaging my belly also provides a (sort of) bonding time with my babies, which I had little time for in-between working, preggie appointments and preparing for the onslaught of twins. I’ve tried a few stretch mark prevention oil products over the past few months, so here’s my pick of the bunch.
I’ve never met a Verite Spa Organics product I didn’t love and this one is no different. This is a luxurious blend of potent oils featuring: hemp, rosehip, argan, marula and baobab oils. It smells a little smokey, which I put down to the hemp oil, but it doesn’t bother me as I like earthy smells. Like all Verite Spa Organics, the packaging is exquisite – featuring a clean and tidy pump and a gorgeous dark purple glass bottle to protect the ingredients. This beauty is vitamin rich and is designed to be used safely throughout pregnancy and for 6 weeks after to help minimise trauma to the skin as it shrinks back to its former size. I really adore using this oil as I feel these oils are very beneficial for pregnant stretched skin and despite the rich blend of ingredients it absorbs quickly and then leaves my skin feeling soft all day and night.
Weleda Stretch Mark Massage Oil has a base of sweet almond oil as well as organic arnica flower extract to ease tightness on the skin. It also contains nourishing wheat germ oil (a personal favourite) which conditions and refines your skin’s texture with a high quantity of vitamins A, D and E. It’s all natural so you don’t need to worry about toxicity of ingredients. I love this oil, but found it was best used for night time – it is very thick and decadent, but the downside to that is that it takes a while to absorb. It pours out of the bottle quickly, so you end up using this very quickly. I think I went through a bottle in a couple of weeks. I am greedy with product use though and usually abide by the ‘more is better’ sentiment.
Mountain Ocean, Mother’s Special Blend Skin Toning Oil, $19 (plus shipping)
This is a simple yet interesting blend as it contains almond oil, coconut oil, cocoa butter and vitamin E. The cocoa butter is a good addition as it is reportedly good at preventing stretch marks. I love this as a moisturiser because although it is oily it absorbs relatively quickly. It has a slight scent of cocoa butter, which is pleasant. I have been using it to soothe pregnancy eczema that I have developed on my upper arms and it has been helpful at easing that. It also makes a great hair treatment and due to the light scent, I have used it as a facial oil in a pinch as well. A little goes a seriously long way, so a bottle seems to be lasting me a long time despite being so gung-ho with application.
Essano Body Oil, $24.99
This luscious body oil is formulated with sunflower oil, certified organic rosehip oil, moisturising jojoba oil, wheatgerm oil (a fantastic oil for ageing and dry skin), pomegranate oil (rich in antioxidants), along with vitamin E. 97.75% of the total ingredients are from organic farming and it isn’t tested on animals. It is specifically designed to minimise the appearance of scars, stretch marks, dry, cracked and ageing skin – in other words, it’s great for preggie bellies. The packaging is a spray bottle which I find super convenient and saves a little time faffing around with a lid when your hands are slippery with oil. It also smells gorgeous which is an added bonus. The downside is that I go through this like crazy. It’s a thick oil and even if you warm it in your hands the bottle doesn’t last long if you are covering your breasts, belly, hips, thighs and bottom. I can’t fault the product however, I guess I am just greedy.
Scrimp: Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, $10-$15 dollars.
A super cheap but still great option is good old coconut oil. Seriously what is coconut oil not good for? I used to slather this on my skin prior to pregnancy and my skin was always so soft as a result, so why not do the same with a belly bump? I like that this product is so cheap that you don’t have to feel guilty about using a tonne of it multiple times per day. Because it’s sold in big glass jars, it’s a bit of a pain to get out of the jar without making a mess, but I like the way my skin feels when I use it. It does take a while to absorb into the skin, so it can end up on your clothes if you’re not careful, but is a nice skin conditioning treatment and a jar lasts a long, long time.