The development of stretch marks is influenced by the speed with which an expecting mother gains weight, being caused mainly by the hormonal imbalance that appears and by the sudden stretching forces that strain the skin.
Factors Contributing to the Formation of Stretch Marks
Stretch marks form in the dermis due to a combination of factors, which include variations in the hormone levels and tension in the skin of different areas of the body, especially the abdomen.
The fluctuation of hormones can obstruct the creation of collagen and elastin by the fibroblast cells in the dermis that become unable to sustain a soft, smooth skin. Moreover, the fast growth causes great strain and physical stress on certain skin areas of the mother’s body, which can result in the formation of stretch marks.
5 Effective Exercises for Controlling of Weight Gain
Although it is difficult to control the hormone levels, an expecting mother can manage the weight gain during pregnancy, and it is important that the weight input be gradual and limited to the growth of the baby. The additional fat deposits on the hips, thighs, buttocks, belly and breasts should be kept under control with an exercise routine meant to help with a healthy and gradual weight input. Exercising is necessary, and so is maintaining a good blood flow throughout the body in order to help the skin keep its elastic properties.
While exercising during pregnancy is beneficial, the workout sessions should be adapted to the doctor’s advice. They are usually planned based on the mother’s previous experience with physical activities, as the demanding exercises are to be avoided, especially in the last trimester. There are routines that ensure a healthy and moderate physical exercise and will help the body relax.
1. The Benefits of Yoga
Yoga is a beneficial type of exercising, as, in addition to helping with weight control, it can alleviate stress and relax both the mind and the body. While more advanced techniques should be kept for experienced practitioners, as it is easier to get tired and overheat during the pregnancy, there are classes especially dedicated to expecting mothers. These classes adapt the type of exercises to the necessities of pregnant women.
2. Relaxing the Mind and Body with Tai Chi
Another useful activity is Tai Chi, a Chinese form of martial arts performed since ancient times. The aspect that makes it special is that the movements are carried out slowly and deliberately, making for a gentle type of exercises during pregnancy. Just as yoga, Tai Chi provides a healthy way of eliminating stress and relaxes the organism of the mother by encouraging blood circulation.
3. Reducing Strain by Swimming
Swimming is also a helpful physical activity fit for the last months of pregnancy. As the baby grows in weight, the mother is likely to face straining in the body and a session of swimming can turn into an excellent solution for relaxing her muscles. The water takes over a part of the weight of the belly and contributes to relaxing the body.
4. Strengthening Muscles and Toning with Low Impact Exercises and Aerobics
In order to tone and strengthen muscles, a low impact kind of exercising can be carried out, using light weights and repetitive movements. However, the actions need to be slow and deliberate in order to prevent straining. In addition, heavy weights are to be avoided.
Another type of useful exercise is mild aerobics, which help with the blood circulation as the heart rate elevates. It keeps the body in good shape and helps maintain a general state of health.
5. Maintaining a Good Blood Circulation by Walking or Running
One of the most accessible types of physical activity is walking. Any pregnant woman can perform it, no matter whether she used to exercise before the pregnancy. Half an hour a day can help with the blood flow, the health of the heart and also that of the articulations and bones. Women that have been active before pregnancy can keep running during the first two trimesters, after having consulted their doctor, of course. During the third trimester, running can be replaced by walking.
Important Notes before Starting Your Pregnancy Exercise Program
- Physical exercise is recommended for most women during pregnancy. However, with certain sensitive pregnancies, the physician should indicate the best course of action. For women that used to exercise regularly before, continuing with their exercises during pregnancy should not be a problem.
- For any type of routine, it is essential to prepare the body in advance and calm it when everything is over. A 5 to 10 minutes warm-up and a cool down afterwards can help the mother adjust to the effort and calm her heart rate and the tension in her muscles. It will also avoid abrupt straining of the body.
- Because of the already existing tension in the body, during pregnancy, exercising can turn into an additional strain if the intensity is exaggerated. For this reason, it is recommended for the expecting mother to avoid intense routines and exercises that carry a high risk of injury, such as climbing, rollerblading, skiing.
- The center of weight changes throughout the last months of pregnancy, making it more difficult for the mother to maintain her balance while performing various soliciting exercises. Since calories are burnt during physical activities, it is very important for the body reserves to be replenished. The cravings that appear during pregnancy are a sign that the body demands certain types of foods in order to refill its reserves.
- Another essential aspect while exercising is to drink sufficient amounts of water. In order to avoid dehydration, the basic required amount of 8 to 10 glasses of water daily should be increased depending on the outside temperature and on the physical activities are involved.
As one’s metabolism is accelerated during the workout and the risk for overheating is high, when it comes to pregnant women, the water intake strongly influences the health of the body and how it reacts to the routine.
The most important aspect of exercising is to maintain a good blood flow and control the weight intake, which, in turn, will help maintain the general health of the body and of the skin and avoid the formation of stretch marks.