Pregnancy skin care
Food for the skin
Collagen and elastin fibres in the skin are necessary to keep rapidly growing skin taut. So eating foods that are rich in vitamin E and C, zinc and silica can help with collagen production and act as antioxidants.
- Vitamin C is a key antioxidant that helps protect tissue from damage. Try citrus fruits, bell peppers, green beans, strawberries, papaya, potatoes, broccoli and tomatoes
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) helps to promote healthy skin. Try meats, poultry, fish (not shellfish), dairy products, fortified cereals, eggs
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin) also helps skin health. Try high proteins such as fortified cereals and breads, eggs and peanuts
- Zinc is key for alleviating skin problems. Try red meats, poultry, beans, nuts, whole grains, dairy products
Not only is exercise great for boosting energy levels, reducing mood swings and improving sleep but it can also help with preventing stretch marks. Exercise improves the circulation, which keeps skin elastic and better able to stretch as it grows. The improved circulation also reduces the possibility of varicose veins and swollen ankles during pregnancy.
Recommended pregnancy exercises include:
- Swimming - raises your heart rate and keeps your body toned without adding weight or stress to your joints
- Walking - good for your knees and easy! Make sure you stretch out before and after
- Jogging - if you are a usual jogger you can continue during pregnancy while you still feel comfortable, just make sure your well hydrated
- Cycling - this places less stress on your body as the bicycle supports your weight
- Yoga - most forms of yoga will be safe for you and your baby, as long as they are not excessively vigorous. There are also specially designed classes
- Avoid high impact or potentially dangerous sports like skiing, water skiing and horseriding
Pregnancy skin care
As well as eating right and exercising you can use a topically-applied product that is specially formulated to maximise the skin's elasticity. By starting this in your second trimester twice daily throughout pregnancy, your skin will remain well-hydrated and better able to stretch.
Bio-Oil is a stretch mark oil that is safe to use during pregnancy, find out more here
Advice from other mums
Download the Little Book of Pregnancy advice featuring tips and stories from real mums
Watch a short video featuring advice from mums about pregnancy body changes and stretch marks