Pregnancy and Birth

Pregnancy and childbirth place incredible demands on women’s bodies, and the rigors of these processes stand as a testament to our strength and resiliency. There are a number of ways that we can gently and naturally support our bodies through the pregnancy and childbirth experiences, in order to ease some of its stresses and strains.

As the skin stretches and expands to accommodate your growing baby, you may need extra help in keeping it supple and elastic to prevent tearing, scarring and stretch marks. Eating generous amounts of skin-nourishing nutrients appropriate oils and fats in particular will help to keep the skin elastic from the inside out, preventing or minimizing stretch marks. You can also apply nourishing ar*d emollient substances to the skin to reduce or pre-/ vent scarring. I always believed that stretch marks were

N badges of motherhood, and therefore desirable. So when I was pregnant with my son I applied nothing to my skin. This, combined with my rather spartan vegan diet, which included very little fat and virtually no animal products, resulted in my developing the marks of a mother. Stretch marks, which result from the skin’s tearing as it is stretched, tend to happen in the last month of pregnancy all of mine occurred in my last three overdue weeks. I do not wish to promote the idea here that stretch marks are undesirable, but only that women should have the choice of being scarred or not. Although I might make a different choice if I were pregnant for the first time today, at this point I’m happy to bear the marks of motherhood.

Emollients for preventing or minimizing stretch marks, such as oils, balms and creams, should be applied daily to the abdominal skin, breasts, buttocks and thighs. Although the majority of stretching occurs in the latter part of a pregnancy, it can help to nourish and lubricate these areas with topical emollients in the earlier stages as well, particularly if you are prone to dry skin. Note that pregnant women should avoid using scented products, even those scented with natural essential oils. This is because essential oils are absorbed into the skin and can cross the placental barrier. Some essential oils, such as pennyroyal, can actually bring on a miscarriage. Although most essential oils do not have such dramatic effects, all are highly concentrated and powerful. If essential oils are used they should be added in very diluted amounts, 2-5 drops per 1 oz. of oil, balm or cream. If you do choose to use essential oils during pregnancy, please proceed with extreme caution.

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