Skin Care During Pregnancy

stretch marks, avoid stretchmarks, ITP Pregnancy, gestational thrombocytopenia, immune thrombocytopenia during pregnancy, breastfeeding with ITP, birth with ITP, ITP birth plan, low platelet pregnancy

Feature image from GRACE & GUTS

At 5 Weeks pregnant…

If stretch marks are ‘in your genes’, then I am going to get them.  Stretch marks run in my family. My mother has them, my sister has them, and I already have them on my breasts and hips.

While pregnant I am still taking a small amount of PREDISONE which damages my skin further.  Prednisone drys out my skin, making it thin and fragile.  I see the effects of taking prednisone in my weak nails, thin limp hair and dry thin skin.

So what can I do?

I’ve done a little research.  The internet recommends exercising, taking vitamin C, rubbing myself with vitamin E, keeping my skin moisturised, drinking heaps of water and eating healthy fats.  Friends are telling me to do the same.

While I am a little skeptical that these measures will work, I have nothing to loose by trying to keep stretch marks at bay?

So lets begin…

At 5 Weeks

There is no belly at all.  We only just found out we’re having a baby.  But the first thing I do is Google how to take care of my skin during the 1st trimester.  Water seems to be the most important thing I can do right now, for my body, our baby and to help drive away morning sickness.

  • Water – At the moment, I am drinking heaps of water, like litres a day!  I am not consciously drinking for my skin.  I am craving water all day.  I am so thirsty!
  • Vitamin C – I am taking an extra VITAMIN C tablet each day to help with my bowels and because it is vital for healthy skin.  Vitamin C also fights the effects of oxidative stress, which can make you look old and causes stress in your body.
  • Exercise – I have not changed my exercise routine.  I still go to dance classes and walk almost every day.  I am conscious that this will not always be the case during this pregnancy so I am doing as much exercise now as I can.
At 7 Weeks

No change.  My stomach still looks exactly the same.  I have started to feel pregnant now, and morning sickness is creeping in.  I’ve started looking for a quality skin oil to rub into my skin, as I think it is just about to start changing.

  • Skin Oil – For the moment I am using Bio Oil and Shea Cocobutter.  I am rubbing bio oil into my belly but I am not happy with the ingredients in that stuff.  There are 12 INGREDIENTS in the fragrance alone and contains artificial colour for some reason(??)  There must be a better oil out there… 
  • Water – Still drinking heaps of water, when I don’t drink water I get headaches and feel sick.
  • Vitamin C – One daily dose of Vitamin C in the morning.  
  • Exercise – At the moment I am far too sick to keep exercising.  I am walking a little, and have been to one of dance class, but my exercise routine has fallen apart for now.  Everything is going very slowly for the time being.
At 15 Weeks

My stomach still looks exactly the same, but I keep thinking it is just about to explode.  My search for a new skin oil has continued, costing a small fortune, I have tried three more skin oils.  One in particular, had the most terrible smell!

  • Skin Oil – I have tried a couple from the chemist, but they all smell kind of weird.  I have a tiny little bump now, not that my skin is stretched out, but my belly feels full and hard now.
  • Water – Heaps of water.  I probably drink close to 3 litres a day.  When I am really thirsty I also drink HYDRALYTES to replenish lost minerals from exercise.  They are kind of like a sports drink, but have been created by scientists and don’t contain sugar.
  • Vitamin C – A daily dose.
  • Exercise – So I am back on track with dance classes.  Mostly I go to Ballet class (without the jumping) and I have started doing weekly yoga to tone and stretch.  Also I am walking when I can.
At 16 Weeks
  • Skin Oil – I found an amazing one! NATURES ENERGY have an incredible hand made Pregnancy Oil for sale in their stores.  It’s the only pregnancy skin oil I have found that does not contain chemicals.  Not only is the oil great for my skin, but I think it is actually healing my old stretch marks from when I was a teenager.  Yay!!
At 30 Weeks

Wow!  Ok, so there is a pretty huge belly down there now.

My skin has started to stretch out and my belly feels itchy all the time. I can feel it stretching from around my back.  I can feel it pulling from my hips and down my back to around my belly.  It is so weird.  I make sure to put oil all over my hips and back as well, not just my belly.

  • Skin Oil – I am applying the Natures Energy Pregnancy oil blend twice a day now.  I am putting it on when I first get up, and again before I go to bed.  I now have a horrible set of PJ’s with oil stains on them.  But, this means I am getting oil on my skin every 12 hours.  That is when I wake up and everything is bigger and different.
  • Water – Still drinking heaps of water.
  • Vitamin C – At the moment my belly is growing and changing so much at night while I sleep, that I started taking another Vitamin C tablet before bed, specifically for stretch marks.
  • Vitamin E – I know there is Vitamin E in the natural oils in the Natures Energy blend but I ate a whole avocado yesterday just in case.
  • Exercise –  Ballet twice a week.  Yoga once a week and I’m walking at lot.  We are in Sydney now so there are plenty of places to walk to from our house.
At 31 Weeks

Woke up in the middle of the night thirsty with a very itchy stomach.  There was a lot of growing last night and in the morning, my tummy had popped out even more.

  • Skin Oil – I am applying the Natures Energy Pregnancy oil blend twice a day, but last night I put some on in the middle of the night to relieve the itching.  The weather is really hot at the moment and I wonder if I am getting dehydrated.
  • Water – Last night I was so thirsty I drank water in the middle of the night.  Baby is seriously starting to grow and I need heaps of water.
  • Vitamin C – Still the same, one in the morning with my tablets and one at night before bed.  
  • Vitamin E – I forgot to eat avocados this week, and I am a little worried about my Vitamin E levels.  I will look into it this week.
  • Excercise –  Still the same, ballet twice a week, Yoga once a week and walking a little, but that is getting harder.
  • Magnesium Oil – I have just started adding Magnesium oil to the regime.  It was given to me by my sister.  Mine is from TWENTY-8 but I am sure there are lots of great brands out there.
At 32 Weeks

Accidently got a little sunburnt on the beach over the weekend.  Was not a good idea.  Skin so itchy it is killing me.

Just bought my fourth bottle of Pregnancy Blend skin oil from Natures Energy.  Hopefully, this will see me through for the last few weeks (but maybe not).

At 36 Weeks

Same as above.  Just wanted to write that I am feeling huge and small at the same time.  My reflection looks enormous, but inside my body, I still feel like the same person.  No stretchmarks so far.  I have a few more weeks to last.

The Birth!

So the baby is here and I survived.  My body has come through the other side reasonably unharmed.

Post-Baby Belly

I’m not going to stop taking care of my skin now.  I supported it while it stretched out and now I need to care for it as it shrinks back to its old shape.

Very happy with the effort I put in. Definitely worth it!!

by Meg

Meghan Brewster is a writer and blogger. She is an ITP patient and launched ITP&Me in 2011. She is a coffee lover and a try hard dancer. @meghan_brewster

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