Three ways to stay stretch mark free during pregnancy

Research suggests that stretch marks, those small, depressed streaks in the skin that appear mainly around the stomach in the later stages of pregnancy have a lot to do with genetics: If your mother or sister got stretch marks during pregnancy, you’re more likely to get them, too. Other studies show that younger moms, particularly teens, are more prone to getting stretch marks.

The key to keeping them at bay is to make sure you don’t pile on the weight too quickly. The recommended amount of weight during pregnancy in most cases, is 25 to 35 pounds. Gaining it slowly may help reduce your chances of getting stretch marks, as will drinking lots of water, which helps keep your skin cells plump and supple.

Foods rich in Vitamin E (seeds and spinach), zinc (beef and lamb) and silica (celery), will also help to form collagen, while Vitamin C (oranges, peppers) in particular is an important antioxidant that helps protect tissue from damage, while helping it to form collagen.

There are also lots of fantastic creams on the market that are designed to be used day and night to keep the skin hydrated and smooth and help build tensile strength.

Here are three of my favourite that I have used everyday of my pregnancy. At 34 weeks, I can safely say that I’ve not got an inkling of a stretch mark – I must be doing something right…

1) Zita West Beautiful Belly Balm
This restorative moisturiser from fertility and pregnancy guru Zita West contains all natural plant extracts, designed to help keep the skin of your stomach in good condition throughout pregnancy.
It’s really rich, smells gorgeous – and is not greasy making it perfect to put on in the morning before you get dressed.
£18.95; www.zitawest.com

Image

 2) Mama Mio Tummy Rub Stretch Mark Butter
This is great for all over protection from stretch marks as a little goes a long way. It’s made with super-elasticising Omega 3, 6 and 9’s oils to help build your skin’s strength and has a rehydrating shea butter base, making it super thick, and really smooth to apply.
£23; www.mamamio.com

Image

3) Fushi Really Good Stretch Mark oil
Rubbing anything unnatural on my tummy is a no-no for me, which is why I love this stretch mark oil. It contains Holy Basil, known for its superb skin healing powers and renowned benefits for stretch marks, African Baobab oil, which holds the properties of omega 3, vitamin E and D, and is ideal for scars, blemishes and stretch marks. The oil is a little greasy but keeps my  skin hydrated for hours, which is why I like to put it on last thing at night.
£14.45; www.fushi.co.uk 

Image

Advertisements

Top pregnancy supplements to help look after your bump

Screen Shot 2013-11-14 at 16.36.25

Eating a healthy diet is always a good idea, especially during pregnancy, but since falling pregnant 32 weeks ago, I’ve taken a pregnancy supplement every day without fail to help cover any nutritional gaps in my diet.

Even with the most solid diet, it’s extremely difficult to make sure that you’re getting enough nutrients for both you and baby. While I don’t recommend going crazy with the supplements, there are a handful that have been shown to help with pregnancy and your baby’s health.

Here’s a round up of what I’ve found to be effective:

Solgar Prenatal Nutrients Tablets

Solgar is a brand I’ve always trusted and I took these for a good few months before I fell pregnant.

The NHS recommend you have 400 microgram of folic acid every day while you are trying to get pregnant and until you’re 12 weeks pregnant, which is why I like this supplement.

Each tablet has the perfect amount of vitamins/minerals, without exceeding 100% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA), except for iron (which is supposed to be higher for pregnant women anyway, to help fight fatigue).

It also had an adequate level of folic acid, which as I said before is extremely important prior to conception as the neural tube develops in the first 30 days of pregnancy (before most women know they are pregnant) and supplementing folic acid can prevent many cases of conditions like spina bifida.

Viridian Pregnancy Complex 

I like this brand because it has a healthy amount of DHA, which is vital for helping your baby’s brain develop. You can get DHA from eating fish such as salmon, sardines and herring but what with my morning and afternoon sickness, the last thing I wanted was fishy fish!

It also contains a healthy dose of vitamin D, which is good for regulating the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, and is needed to keep bones and teeth healthy.

The NHS recommend you take a supplement of 10 micrograms of vitamin D each day when you are pregnant and if you breastfeed to provide your baby with enough vitamin D for the first few months of its life.

Zita West Vital Essence 3

I knew of Zita West, since I had read many of her books when planning to conceive, so it was a no brainer to try her  supplements, which are tailored to suit each trimester. You take one, three times a day with food and they will then provide you with everything you need to safeguard your everyday diet, including 400mg of folic acid plus lots of protective ingredients such as Beta Carotene (a safe way to help support your intake of vitamin A), copper, magnesium, manganese and zinc, all of which support normal cell division and help to protect DNA.

I also brought her Vital DHA, which you have twice a day and contains Omega 3 essential fatty acids (necessary for baby’s brain development, and to ward off inflammation), plus a small amount of zinc.

Please speak to your doctor or health adviser before taking any supplements. 

Have you booked your Babymoon yet?

I was recently lucky enough to go on my babymoon. At 26 weeks I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to get some sunshine and relaxation before the airlines ban me from flying. I find flying uncomfortable at the best of times, let alone with a bump and already swollen ankles.
Me and my hubby booked the seven-night Babymoon package  at the Kempinski Hotel in Barbaros Bay, Turkey. Knowing it was my babymoon, I was really expecting to be surrounded by other pregnant women, enjoying the same package as us. We wasn’t. I was the only pregnant lady there (I think) and we were truly looked after. 

Image

In between relaxing around the pool and paddling our feet in the turquoise Aegean Sea, I had a treatment every day, ranging from a 50-minute pregnancy massage to a 80-minute facial in their exclusive spa.

Daddy-to-be had a few massages thrown in too, to help relief his tired body, and give him some much-deserved TLC after looking after me for the last six months.

I also had a wonderful new treatment called Watsu. Now I’ve been to a few spas in my time, but never heard of this, which is a holistic therapy, that immerses the body in warm water and allows the water to gently stretch the joints. It’s hard to imagine, but you basically tie mini floats around your legs and let your therapist gently rock you and twist and turn you as the water supports your body, while stretching out your limbs.

The idea is that the warm water (about 92 to 94 degrees) relaxes your muscles whilst you floating in the water takes pressure off of the vertebrae and your joints and so they can be manipulated easily and any aches and pains can be soothed and relieved. It was a very relaxing treatment, although I did find it hard to let go at first and let my therapist swoosh me around in the water. It lasted 50 minutes and by the end I felt weightless and totally away with the fairies. I would most certainly like to try it again.

Image

So would I recommend that you go on a babymoon before your little one arrives? Absolutely! Apart from coming back with a renewed sense of energy, I have a glowing tan to match my glowing and growing bump, I feel totally prepared and excited to face my third trimester and I’ve had a chance to read a few books that have helped prepare me better for my pregnancy and labour (Like Effective Birth Preparation by Maggie Howell and Your Pregnancy Companion by Zita West, to name a few.)

Me and my husband have also totally reconnected and talked lots about what’s to come, whilst spending some quality time together without work and nursery decorating getting in the way.

 

Review: Pregnancy Supplements That’ll Look After Your Bump!

Back in December, I was prescribed Tamoxifen to help me fall pregnant. As explained in my very first post my body fat was too low to conceive due to too much training and a restricted diet plus my husband had testicular cancer nine years ago so we needed all the help we could get. Chemotherapy in high doses (Mark had it for four months – he stayed in hospital for one whole week every month and had an 8-hour dose a day and then did weekly day visits for a top up) kills the stem cells that produce sperm. He also had to have one testicle  removed altogether due to the cancer, so as you can imagine we thought our only chance of having babies was through IVF.

My specialist gave me hope and told me the Tamoxifen should do the job because Mark recovered well and was very healthy.

So to compliment my Tamoxifen I stared taking a pre-natal supplement, to make sure my body had all the right nutrients. It’s important to start taking these a few months before you conceive because recent research suggests that they can help boost a healthy pregnancy and also help with healthy childhood development.

They also contain Folic Acid, which is important right from the very moment your baby is conceived, because studies show that it can protect your baby from some serious birth defects, including spina bifida, a life-threatening spinal malformation.

So here are my favourite Pre-natual supplements that I have experimented with over the past seven months.

ImageSolgar Prenatal Nutrients Tablets
I started taking these back in December. Solgar is a brand I have always trusted and I took these until I fell in April.

They have the perfect amount of vitamins/minerals, without exceeding 100% of RDA,except for Iron (which is supposed to be higher for pregnant women anyway) and Vit. C ( which doesn’t really have a toxicity level).

It also had an adequate level of folic Acid, which as I said before is extremely important prior to conception as the neural tube develops in the first 30 days of pregnancy (before most women know they are pregnant) and supplementing folic acid can prevent many cases of neural tube defects.

Viridian Pregnancy Complex 

ImageAs soon as I found out I was pregnant, typically I had just run out of my Solgar supplement, so in a mad dash I ran to Revital, a local Health shop near me. They had run out of the Solgar also, so I spent a good half an hour scouting al the other supplements and came across Viridian. I went for this brand because it had a healthy amount of DHA, which I had read was vital for the development for the baby’s brain. You can get DHA from eating fish such as  salmon, sardines and herring but what with my morning and afternoon sickness, the last thing I wanted was fishy fish! These did the trick and had everything in there that I needed!

Zita West Vital Essence 2
ImageSince hitting my 2nd Trimester and getting my normal healthy appetite back (well sort of – I’m still off meat!) I decided to look into getting more specific supplements to suit that stage of my pregnancy.

I knew of Zita West as I had read many of her books (which are amazing BTW) so I opted for her Vital Essence 2 supplement, especially for women in weeks 13-28.

You take one, three times a day with food and they will then provide you with everything you need to safeguard your everyday diet, including 400ug of Folic Acid plus lots of protective ingredients such as Beta Carotene (a safe way to help support your intake of Vitamin A), Copper, Magnesium, Manganese and Zinc, all of which  support normal cell division and help to protect DNA.

I also brought her Vital DHA, which you have twice a day and contains Omega 3 essential fatty acids (EFA’s), plus a small amount of Zinc.Image

I totally trust Zita West and her products, as she’s renowned for being a leading fertility and pregnancy expert, and a practicing midwife, acupuncturist and nutritional advisor. I love all her books and often see her in magazines and on the TV giving women (and men) fertility advice.

So, I’m confident that my supplements are working well. I’m now 17 weeks and feeling fantastic and full of energy. I’ve had another scan, which reveals I’m having a baby girl and that she is very healthy and active. I’m on cloud nine!

Image