stretch marks: little red badges of courage - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 20 Old 03-28-2006, 06:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I wrote about this on my blog a little while back, but I thought you mamas might have some tips, some sympathy, or want to share a laugh

Overheard at our house:

"Mama, what are all those lines all over your belly?"

: "stretch marks ... from my belly growing and my skin stretching as the baby grows inside me."

"oh"

Later on I caught her drawing on her belly - she told me she was making her own stretch marks! I don’t know whether to think it’s adorable (How cute she is!), be envious (At least her’s will wash off …) or horrified (My word! Look how many she drew! Is that what mine look like? : )

Someone asked me a few years ago, after noticing the stretch marks I had from my pregnancy with Boo, “Why didn’t you use lotion?!” Friends, this belly – then and now – is the most lotioned, moisturized, lanolized, rubbed, pampered belly in the Midwest. My husband would freak out, but during my first pregnancy I even bought this $17 bottle of wonder lotion that was supposed to help prevent stretch marks (and trust me, kids, there was no room in the budget 5 years ago for $17 lotion) and I got them anyway. :

A favorite mama friend once suggested vernix to me. Which, really, is a great moisturizer, especially if your child happens to be born covered with it the way Boo was, and is immediately placed on your belly. My stomach has never felt silkier. (and hopefully I didn't just gross out everyone reading this )

But, what about the other 40 weeks before the birth? What I am I supposed to do about that? Sneak into local births? : Declare myself the “official vernix wiper” cleaning babies off and rubbing my belly - “Don’t mind me, ma’am, I’m just here for the vernix.”

Perhaps it is because, at 32, I am an “older mother” (I hate that term!), but I think that whether I had had my first child at 27 or 17, I would have had some stretch marks. I’ll admit that my skin isn’t as elastic as it used to be, but I honestly think I’m just one of those women whose body doesn’t stretch as “gracefully” for lack of a better term, no matter *what* I rub into it. Some of us can go into our 3rd trimesters wearing our normal jeans and some of us broke out the elastic waistbands at oh, around, 10 weeks. Some of us are completely drained and wiped out by pregnancy, and some of us have more energy and creativity than ever. Some of us retain our smooth skin and some of us become living road maps.

Which is not to say, that I don’t want and welcome opinions, recommendations, home remedies, kitchen table wisdom, and sage advice regarding stretch marks. In fact, bring it on! Just try to keep it under $17 a bottle and keep in mind I’m not in the vernix swiping business.

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#2 of 20 Old 03-28-2006, 08:13 PM
 
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You're funny! Official vernix wiper??? I love it!!!

I used to be a labor and delivery nurse and I used to wonder about the moisturizing properties of vernix...

I didn't get stretch marks with dd#1 and I did use an expensive organic "salve" that did help with the itching (and let me tell you that stuff was GREASY...I felt like a well-buttered chicken ready to go into the oven!), but I don't think it kept me from getting stretch marks. I haven't gotten any thusfar with this pregnancy, but who knows? I may still get some...

I think stretch marks are a genetic thing...either you're gonna get 'em or you won't. I don't know that there's any cream out there that prevents them. I think the fact that I didn't get any last time while using the lotion was a coinky dinky. But I'll keep you posted! I'm not using anything but my organic lotion that I get at Whole Foods and that's just to help with dry skin.

Funny post!
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#3 of 20 Old 03-28-2006, 09:41 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KnittingKara
[I]
Later on I caught her drawing on her belly - she told me she was making her own stretch marks! I don’t know whether to think it’s adorable (How cute she is!), be envious (At least her’s will wash off …) or horrified (My word! Look how many she drew! Is that what mine look like? : )

Someone asked me a few years ago, after noticing the stretch marks I had from my pregnancy with Boo, “Why didn’t you use lotion?!” Friends, this belly – then and now – is the most lotioned, moisturized, lanolized, rubbed, pampered belly in the Midwest.

Perhaps it is because, at 32, I am an “older mother”
I hate that term too- I am older than you!!

I was told by my best friend when I was first pregnant- the only way to not get stretchmarks was to not get pregnant. Point well taken.

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#4 of 20 Old 03-28-2006, 09:42 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Juliwan
I didn't get stretch marks with dd#1 and I did use an expensive organic "salve" that did help with the itching (and let me tell you that stuff was GREASY...I felt like a well-buttered chicken ready to go into the oven!), but I don't think it kept me from getting stretch marks. I haven't gotten any thusfar with this pregnancy, but who knows? I may still get some...
keep it to yourself that you did not get them kwim??? LOL

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#5 of 20 Old 03-29-2006, 04:34 AM
 
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I could be an add for stretch marks, I'm not kidding.
My first pregnancy left me with deep purple gouges (they faded in time to pink, but the texture of my skin is beyond gross) from the top of my boobs to about 6 inches below my kness. Front to back, side to side. All the way around, all up and down. I was so shocked when I got them on my legs, I didn't even know that was possible! Everyone told me to use the Palmer's Cocao Butter, which it did. The smell sucessfully made me gag everyday, but other than that it didn't have much affect. I was itching so badly the last 6 weeks or so that my belly and the tops of my legs actually had bleeding sores for me digging at them constantly. I couldn't wear any pants I couldn't get my hands down, and I really tried not to go out in public incase an irresistable itch came on! Itching was my only major complaint with my last pregnancy though. I very firmly believe there's nothing you can do to prevent stetch marks. I was also drinking water constantly, that didn't help either. I've heard lighter skinned women are more prone to them. Could be true. I'm plucked chicken white... but now I look like a plucked chicken sporting a complex get away map.

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#6 of 20 Old 03-29-2006, 10:29 AM
 
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Originally Posted by grace's voice
I couldn't wear any pants I couldn't get my hands down, and I really tried not to go out in public incase an irresistable itch came on!
Oh, dear...you poor thing! But that is funny, particularly the crystal-clear mental image that sentence brings.

Quote:
I've heard lighter skinned women are more prone to them. Could be true. I'm plucked chicken white... but now I look like a plucked chicken sporting a complex get away map.
Sort of like a mommy version of Prison Break.
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#7 of 20 Old 03-29-2006, 11:33 AM
 
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Kara, your post was so funny it gave me a vision of you rubbing a newborn all over your belly!

Ah well, there's no answer to the stretch mark thing. It just happens to some, and I don't think any cream will help. I didn't get them with ds, and my waist line went from 26" to 43" and I used that Neutrogena Sesame Oil every day, and Sarna Lotion on the days I got itchy. But I don't think it made a difference because I haven't used anything on my belly this pg, and I don't have stretch marks again this time. I wonder if there are any mamas who didn't have them in one pg and got them in another pg?
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#8 of 20 Old 03-29-2006, 01:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nonnymoose
Sort of like a mommy version of Prison Break.
: That is hysterical!

And, I'm *SO* glad that some of you other mamas brought up stretch marks on the boobs, too ... man, I guess I expected to get them on my belly, but the things that pregnancy and later nursing can do to your poor boobs, that was a shocker for me, too

I'm trying to have a good attitude about it and I'm still just overjoyed to be pregnant (I know I'm in my 3rd trimester now, but sometimes I still keep expecting to wake up and it was just a dream, you know?) but yeah, stretch marks aren't exactly the body image improver I needed, you know?

At least they fade to a light color eventually ...

knit.gifKara~ Rockin' Granola wife to Christopher and mama to J (Nov. '01), M (June '06), L (May '08) and stork-girl.gif (edd 8/3/11)
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#9 of 20 Old 03-29-2006, 01:29 PM
 
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I got them with dd1 but retained the same ones (for the most part) with dd2 and dd3 and this time around too. I think I got so big the first time (gained 65#) that I stretched myself out sufficiently to maximum capacity and every other pg, they've just filled out but not gotten any worse. And mine were just boobs, hips and belly...I agree no fair having to get them on legs!! What kind of cosmic torture is that?!?!?

there's probably a little * on every bottle of + or - $17 bottle of no-stretch-mark lotion with some caveat like "guaranteed to prevent stretchmarks on women who aren't prone to stretchmarks anyway" and all these testimonials about how it "worked like a miracle" are from moms like StacyL and Juliwan who wouldn't get them anyway...it's like a $17 bottle of keep-elephants-away cream. It works b/c there aren't any darn elephants anywhere near you anyway!!

WOHM married to SAHD, living the dream w/our: 3 girls (14,12,10) and 3 boys (7,5,3) and tie-breaker due Jan 2014

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#10 of 20 Old 03-29-2006, 01:39 PM
 
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You've got me totally cracking up over here...

With my first, I did really well until the last month. In the beginning I got a bunch on my rear end and on my boobs, but nowhere else. Then...wham! They took off on my stomach like they were running a race to see who could get to my neck first!

A few weeks after delivery, another friend had a baby. Except, mine was 10.5 pounds and almost a week late and hers was three weeks early and barely 5lbs. She said to me "oh, well, you obviously didn't put on enough lotion, I put mine on twice a day every day and I didn't get any. But that's my reward for being vigilant." You seriously should have seen the look on my face. I looked at her and said "I don't care if I spent 9 months floating in a vat of lotion, nothing was going to keep my skin from freaking out over having a 10.5 pound baby in my 115lb frame!!!" What a looney. I had the expensive lotion, the cocoa butter, everything... it's all useless. All you can do is hope you get lucky.
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#11 of 20 Old 03-29-2006, 03:00 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ckhagen
A few weeks after delivery, another friend had a baby. Except, mine was 10.5 pounds and almost a week late and hers was three weeks early and barely 5lbs. She said to me "oh, well, you obviously didn't put on enough lotion, I put mine on twice a day every day and I didn't get any. But that's my reward for being vigilant."
Ex-friend. Wench!
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#12 of 20 Old 03-29-2006, 03:05 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StacyL
Kara, your post was so funny it gave me a vision of you rubbing a newborn all over your belly!
Oh my gosh, this made me pee on myself I'm laughing so hard!!!!
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#13 of 20 Old 03-29-2006, 05:15 PM
 
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Some women get stretchmarks and some don't. There isn't a miracle lotion or oil... its all genetics. :

Trust me! This is coming from someone who slathered all kinds of stuff on her skin (mainly because it ITCHED so #(*$&@(&#^ bad) during my first pregnancy. I did epson salt and sesame oil baths almost nightly to try to get the skin to not itch. Lasted about 30 minutes. And once my DD decided to drop from her position up under my ribcage (39+ weeks) and down into engagement position (OVERNIGHT!)... needless to say I've got stetchmarks.

In fact I refer to my stomach as a vertical washboard. I have so many stretchmarks that it feels like an old washboard. Having them doesn't "bother" in a visual way... its the soreness and itchiness that drives me crazy.

I'd say 90% of my stretchmarks are from pregnancy #1. Most just got little "additions" of about an inch or so with each subsequent pregnancy. I got very little from pregnancy #2 but then that boy LAID low on my cervix the whole pregnancy and he just used the space created by DD the first time.

My DH refers to them as my "Warrior Marks" saying they prove that I've used my body for a purpose that it was created for. I've seen battle and lived to tell the tale. And at present the fruit of those battles are currently pulling all the cushions of the couch ... guess I should try to round them up and get naptime going.
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#14 of 20 Old 03-29-2006, 06:00 PM
 
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I didn't get stretch marks until the last 3 weeks of my first pregnancy, when the baby flipped head down and dropped. It was SERIOUSLY overnight that a whole row of them, really low, showed up. They weren't too bad. They faded to white after about a year.

I haven't noticed them this time around, YET!

I heard they are genetic, too! But my mom doesn't seem to have any. Unless they're just so faded now you can't tell.

Mama to 3 kids. We live in a yurt!
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#15 of 20 Old 03-30-2006, 03:23 AM
 
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I agree that it has to be part genetic and part skin type. I get horrible scars really easily...celoid scars (sp?) so my belly is just a horrid road map of stretch marks from top to bottom...oh and yeah the boobs etc etc. No lotion salve cream or anything will help. Besides, not like I ever intend to wear a bikini anytime soon They do fade, but your skin is never the same, atleast mine isnt.....oh how I cant wait for the lovely elephant skin once the baby is born hehehehe
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#16 of 20 Old 03-30-2006, 10:50 AM
 
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I was so excited my first pregnancy when I didn't see any stretchmarks. Then Qualia was born, and I could see my lower stomach again -- it was COVERED in stretchmarks! DH was afraid to tell me so he figured maybe they'd fade before I ever noticed.

They did fade pretty quickly to white -- I can feel them and they don't tan, but other than that, they're not very noticeable. This time around, I have a couple new stretchmarks around my bellybutton, probably because this baby is hanging out so much higher than Qualia did, but mostly it's just my old ones coming back into play. I'm happy with them though. After giving birth, I definitely feel like they're my badges of courage!
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#17 of 20 Old 03-30-2006, 11:38 AM
 
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No woman in my family, on either side, ever got stretch marks. And I hate them all.

I, however, got stretch marks almost immediately, and tried almost everything on the market to lighten them, at least, and nothing worked until...Mustela's Stretch Mark Double Action. That stuff rocks my world. I've been using it for about three weeks now, and it's already made a difference in the marks begun by this pregnancy, and by the marks acquired over the previous 21 years! And it smells good. And it's a cream, not a lotion, so a little bit goes a long way. Plus, DH has something to do every night. He massages the cream on my belly while he talks to the Bean. It's adorable.

So yes, I know it's expensive, but coming from someone who tried everything, it really has worked for me. Worth a try if anyone is really worried! It also helped loosen my skin up enough that my belly button stopped hurting. Somehow, baby was laying in there in such a way as to stretch out the skin at the top of my belly button. Hurt like crazy. I felt like it was going to tear if I moved too quickly!

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#18 of 20 Old 03-30-2006, 12:53 PM
 
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I should add... I"m plucked chicken white too and so is every other woman in my family and none of them have stretch marks. My mom is just in shock every time she sees my stomach. They've faded to white, but it's the wrinkles left behind that make it obvious. Not to mention, when my innie went outie, it never went back innie So... my lovely mother (mother of 6 children) has told me that if she were me, belly button reconstruction would be the first thing on her to do list! This coming from a lady who wouldn't have cosmetic surgery if her life depended on it.

I had the Mustela double action It didn't do squat for me... I think that some SMs are different from others. Meaning, some respond to treatments, others there's just nothing that could be done. Especially those of us who got them very quickly.
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#19 of 20 Old 03-30-2006, 01:47 PM
 
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i used palmers coco butter with Alexandria to deal with stretch marks didnt help i started gettin them at 33wks.

so far with Ryker i've been using coco butter body wash stuff in the shower and so far no new stretch marks yet i've surpassed the weight amount i gained with Alex so i figured i would have had a few new ones since weighing more already.

heck my mom only got a few with me and with my brother she had last yr she didnt get any at all: but shes pg again and due in Aug so maybe they will catch up to her lol and she'll end up with some on her stomache.


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#20 of 20 Old 03-30-2006, 01:59 PM
 
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I'm a dayglow white girl too. BUT my mom has medium dark olive skin and she's got the same identical stretchmarks that I have. Talk about a shock to look in the mirror right before I got pregnant this time and see my mother's (30's) body staring back at me in the mirror.
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