After nine long months of carrying a baby, your stomach looks more like a brain than a stomach – at least mine did. The intricate network of stretch marks created an artwork of pink and red lines stretching from my left side to the right side and the top of my tummy to the bottom. There was not one inch of space that wasn’t covered in stretch marks. At first, I didn’t care about the marks, but I soon became pregnant with baby number two and things got a lot more interesting. The stretch marks that appeared during my first pregnancy doubled in number – literally. I was scared to death this weave of stretch marks was going to stick around for life — but I was wrong. 

It Takes Time and Hydration

I was amazed by the number of expensive lotions on the market that claimed to make stretch marks disappear. None of these products are going to work as claimed. At best, they will help speed up the natural process of fading. Over time with proper hydration and skin care, stretch marks turn from red to pink and eventually to your natural skin color. Today, 16 years after my first pregnancy, I still have every stretch mark I earned along the way, but they are barely noticeable to the naked eye. Run a hand over my stomach, however, and you will feel every indentation. 

Reduce the Severity of Stretch Marks During Pregnancy

The best way to keep stretch marks to a minimum is to prepare for them during pregnancy. Don’t gain weight too quickly – you are eating for one not for two. Use lotion on your belly several times a day and eat lots of healthy whole grains, omega fatty acids, and lean proteins. Believe it or not, your diet is directly related to your skin health. 

Stretch marks are a part of pregnancy nearly every woman has to endure. I gave birth to two 11 pounders and a set of twins that weighed more than 13 pounds, so my stretch marks were not going to be stopped, but with time and patience, they faded away leaving just a small reminder behind of the pleasures of carrying a baby.