Recently I have been asked a lot about skin care (which I have discussed before on this blog), particularly pre and postpartum skin care and what I have found works best for me. I thought I would share a few products and tips for maintaining healthy skin throughout pregnancy and those crucial few months after childbirth.
1. WATER. This is by far the most obvious, yet can me the most difficult to remember. Water, water, water. It gets so old….right? The truth is that water not only helps with water retention (hello 3rd trimester!), but it helps keeps your skin moisturized and prevents stretch marks. So drink up, my friends!
2. COCONUT OIL. I have publicly pledged my love for this product before, but I can’t say enough about it for both pre and postpartum body care. Every night I cover myself in it….literally everywhere (lady lumps, thighs, butt, etc). It can leave an oily residue on some clothing so be cautious what you wear right after applying. Coconut oil is also great to use after you have your baby because stretched skin needs to stay moisturized to return back to its original state. (TMI observation: If you and your husband/spouse anticipate any intimacy then I would skip this until afterward. It’s slippery and doesn’t taste great to most people (wink).)
3. OLIVE OIL. Honestly, I tend to be an olive oil snob. Once you have tasted high quality olive oil, you never want the cheap stuff again. But, for the sake of skin care….plain old run of the mill olive oil should do the trick! (I do try and stick with organic though.) I usually try and coat olive oil on my skin about twice a week, always at night, and after I get out of the shower so my skin is nice and soft. I usually top it off with a lighter coat of coconut oil but don’t forget the clothes here as it can stain as well.
4. BODY LOTION. Invest in a good body lotion. This particular one is what I use, from Whole Foods. I only apply the oils at night and will occasionally use this afterwards, but mostly I use the lotion for morning application so I don’t feel greasy throughout the day.
5. SHOWER GLOVES. My best friend introduced me to these gems several years ago and I was immediately smitten! They have a slightly rough texture and are able to exfoliate your skin as you wash. When I was pregnant with my son I was unaware how itchy my skin could get as it stretched and while in the shower one day I scratched my stomach so bad that it left bruises (similar to stretch marks) all over. I was terrified that I had scared myself, but thankfully the bruising healed along with the marks. Since then I have always made sure to use these gloves when I shower so any “scratching” can be done in a more gentle (but still effective) manner! You can pick these bad boys up at pretty much any drug store for only a few bucks.
6. SHRINKX HIPS. I probably neglected this product more than I should have when pregnant with my son, but I have heard some amazing results from people who used it as it is recommended. I wore this off and on for a few weeks but found that it was not as comfortable as I had hoped. Shrinkx Hips is designed to help close your hips as they naturally open during pregnancy. This time around I plan on being a little more committed to this product. (**Remember to apply your oils before wrapping to help keep your skin soft)
7. THE CINCH. If I had to choose one product that I had to have, it would be the Cinch Wrap. This little gem was no joke. Not only did it flatten my tummy after my son was born, it did very quickly! Now, before you roll your eyes, let me just say that the use of this product was not fueled solely on vanity. Did I want my figure to, once again, at least remotely resemble that of a woman? YES! But, I also knew there was a good chance that nothing would be left unscathed, and I was totally ok with that. Not only did the Cinch help shrink my uterus, but I found that it also helped with the pain and discomfort that went along with that process. (Often times when your uterus is retracting it can cause severe contraction and cramping pains – especially when you first start breastfeeding) The Cinch also came in handy while I was nursing. It helped correct the terrible posture I had developed during pregnancy and thus made breastfeeding much more comfortable! (**Remember to apply your oils before wrapping to help keep your skin soft)
8. ACE BANDAGE. I added this here because both the Cinch and the Shrinkx Hips are not very inexpensive. An ace bandage, if used correctly, can have the same or similar effects. Also, I have had several girlfriends who had trouble immediately fitting into their wraps right after birth so they wrapped themselves with an ace bandage until the swelling went down enough to fit into their wraps. (**Remember to apply your oils before wrapping to help keep your skin soft)
9. PRENATAL VITAMINS. This is my go-to vitamin. Many other prenatals left me feeling a bit nauseous but Rainbow Light seemed to be gentle enough for me to take any time of day.
So, this is pretty much my skin care routine for the next 6 months….and has been for the past 8 or so! If you have additional products that worked for you I would love to hear about them!