Tuesday, December 21, 2010

How to Steer Clear of Stretch Marks

Being pregnant can make you feel pretty (really!); there is an undeniable healthy glow from all that extra blood flowing that causes our cheeks to have a sweet rosiness—who needs make-up during this time? And what about that super thick and shiny hair—got to love it. I certainly felt good about how I looked when I was pregnant.

One of the less-than-pretty side effects of pregnancy, though, is stretch marks. And about 50% of women will get them.
There is something you can do to prevent and minimize. Here's what I've learned about preventing stretch marks during pregnancy:
Grow slowly: Yes, some people are more prone to getting stretch marks than others, but problems occur when skin grows too quickly and the fibers that support it can't keep up. When these fibers tear, they leave behind stretch marks. Of course you're going to gain weight when you have a baby, the key is to try and 'be all baby' not 50% baby and 50% Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey! Your ob/gyn would agree that too much weight gain isn't that great for your or your baby's health. Gaining the recommended amount of weight during pregnancy—usually 25 to 35 pounds—is a great way to limit stretch marks. You may need to gain more or less weight than this, depending on your starting weight, so be sure to talk to your doctor.

Use cocoa butter: I LOVE this botanical ingredient because it leaves my skin so soft and supple. And it prevents itching—awesome for growing bellies (and regular folks with dry skin). Cocoa butter is perfect for applying to your tummy, as well as your thighs, hips, and breasts, as these are areas where stretch marks are most prone to popping up. Another tip: Apply it as soon as you step out of the shower, to damp skin, so all the moisturizing benefits are sealed in.
Eat well: Eating nourishing foods, especially those loaded with fatty acids, can also keep your skin in great condition—not to mention healthy foods are also best for your growing baby! Avocado anyone?

Drink up, water that is: Guzzling plenty of water will keep you hydrated, which helps maintain skin's elasticity. But sometimes it's hard to remember to drink the recommended 8-10 glasses a day (I tend to forget). I've figured out an easy way to remember though: one glass an hour. Doing it this way helps to spread the hydration through the day—the way your body wants it.
Pregnancy can be an overwhelming time in your life and there is lots to learn and do, taking it step-by-step and in small chunks will help get you to the goal of healthy, happy baby and mommy!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Layer Up to Keep Warm This Winter

Keeping kids warm during the winter is one way to help avoid the sniffles and sneezies. But there’s always the fear of over-dressing kids, too, especially little ones who can’t quite tell you when they’re too warm.
I still remember the look on my pediatrician’s face when he came in to check on me and my newborn son, Miles, before checking out of the hospital. I knew something was amiss by the concerned look in his eyes and the extra gentle tone of his voice as he casually asked if maybe the baby might be a bit warm… I was itching to dress him up in all the Hanna Anderson outfits I stocked up on, so yes, maybe I got a bit carried away. I took the top two layers off while indoors and slipped on the outer layer before we headed into the California sun! (I know, I know, our “weather” doesn’t count). That was my first real understanding how important layering is when you’ll be going from cold outdoor temps to the warm indoors then back out again.

Here are some tips along with the whys and hows of layering for newbies and pros alike:
  • The first layer of clothing should be made of nonabsorbent materials like silk. Cotton won’t work as well because it absorbs moisture, trapping it close to the skin and lowering body temperature.
  • The purpose of the second layer is to trap air between the first and the outer layer, as well as to allow moisture to move away from the body. Look for clothing made from warm, breathable materials like wool or fleece.
  • The third layer, or the outwear layer, should protect kids from the elements, such as wind, snow and rain. Breathable, waterproof materials that block wind are best, like water-resistant nylon.
Recently I’ve been working on creating new ‘looks’ with each layer to glam-up the repetitive layers on, layers off when moving in and out; it’s getting kind of fun, and as a California Girl, I am starting to get into the whole winter thing!