Tips for Feeling Beautiful After Your Baby Is Born

Being pregnant is beautiful. People look at you everywhere you go; they can’t help but smile when they see you. Everyone talks about how you’re glowing. Everyone wants to touch you—even if you don’t want to be touched—and they’re all very willing to help you out by opening doors and carrying groceries.

Once your baby is born, however, things change instantly. You’re no longer pregnant, and it’s not obvious to strangers on the street that you just gave birth. Your baby bump is gone, but your baby weight, stretch marks, and scars linger. You have deep dark circles from not sleeping, and there’s a good chance that you’re walking around the store with a spit up stain on your shirt and you don’t even know it.

It’s difficult to feel beautiful after your baby is born. Not only has the way people treat you changed dramatically, but your body has transformed into something you don’t recognize. If you’re struggling with self confidence in your postpartum world, consider these tips for feeling beautiful again.

Be Patient

If this was your first child, you may have thought that once your baby was born your body would morph back into its pre-pregnancy shape. Of course, that is never the case. It will take time to get back to normal. You’ll lose the baby weight once you and your child are sleeping more regularly and you have time to exercise. Your scars and stretch marks will fade. You can even buy a stretch mark removal cream to expedite the fading of your stretch marks if you’re feeling very impatient.

Do the Things You Want to Do

It’s easy to feel like your life is totally out of your control after your baby is born. Babies require almost all of your attention; when you’re not holding your baby or feeding him, you’re pumping your breasts or just hoping he’ll fall asleep so you can take a much needed shower.

To feel in control of your life, you need to do the things you enjoyed doing before your baby was born. If you want to go swimming, go swimming without being ashamed of your body. Buy an adorable bathing suit or bathing suit cover and take your new baby out to the pool. Stop wearing your maternity clothes. Buy a new outfit to wear out on a date with your partner and call on your friends and family to keep your baby for a night so you can have some time to be you.

Be Proud

You brought a life into this world. You nurtured it with your own body for nine months and were torn apart giving birth. When you feel ashamed of your body, remind yourself of how amazing you are. Remind yourself of how beautiful new life is. And know that you’re not alone—every other woman in the world who has ever given birth dealt with the same issues. Talk to other mothers in your circle of friends about the things you’re feeling self-conscious about. Sometimes knowing you’re not alone can be a relief, and your friends may even have good advice of their own.

Is Vitamin E Safe to Use for Stretch Marks While Pregnant?

Most women are aware that the things they take in to their bodies while pregnant can affect their unborn babies. Drinking alcohol, smoking, and taking over the counter medicines or prescriptions should obviously be avoided unless approved by your OB/GYN.

However, did you know that simple exposure can also affect your baby? Products and chemicals applied to the skin or inhaled can be just as damaging as those you consume. Because of this, it’s critically important to fully investigate the beauty products you use while pregnant.

Generally popular for pregnant women because of their increased risk are stretch mark prevention products. A common product for preventing stretch marks is Vitamin E oil. Below, we discuss one study’s findings on the potential dangers of Vitamin E intake during pregnancy. Keep in mind that this is intended to be informational only; you should always check with your doctor when making a determination on whether or not a product is safe for use during pregnancy.

Potential Dangers of Vitamin E Use During Pregnancy

A study published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology in February of 2009 found that high consumption of Vitamin E during pregnancy resulted in an increased risk of infant congenital heart disease.

The study was conducted by surveying 757 mothers: 351 were mothers of children suffering from congenital heart disease, and 406 were mothers of healthy children. Each mother completed a food frequency questionnaire, answering questions about their food intake for the previous 4 weeks. The mothers were also asked if their diet had changed since they’d given birth, and mothers who said their diet was different after pregnancy than during pregnancy were removed from the study.

What remained were 600 valid study participants: 276 who were mothers of children suffering from congenital heart disease, and 324 who were mothers of healthy children. The researchers then evaluated the surveys in order to determine potential factors leading to congenital heart disease in infants.

What they found was that the mothers of children with congenital heart disease had a significantly higher daily intake of Vitamin E than the mothers of healthy children. The study concluded that higher-than-recommended levels of Vitamin E consumption could lead to congenital heart disease in infants, with the highest risk periods being just before conception and during early pregnancy.

Conclusions

While this study covered intake of Vitamin E and not application of it, the findings are worth considering when determining the safety of Vitamin E oil use during pregnancy because of the ability for exposure to have an impact on fetus development. While it may be possible that Vitamin E applied to the skin isn’t absorbed into the body in the same way that it is when ingesting it, it’s still worth careful consideration when choosing a stretch mark prevention product.

If you have concerns about the safety of Vitamin E and other ingredients in beauty products during your pregnancy, make sure to consult with your doctor.

Pregnancy Week 5: Getting the Big News

Though you’ve probably been pregnant for a couple of weeks now, it’s around week five that you’ll notice your period is late and discover that you’re pregnant. While you’re reeling from the big news, you may also have a sudden list of new stresses and concerns. From worrying about stretch marks to deciding when and how to tell your family and friends your big news, discovering you’re pregnant can be both exciting and stressful.

Your Body at Week 5

If it weren’t for missing your period, you probably wouldn’t know yet that you’re pregnant. Your current clothes will still fit for a few more weeks, and if you’re going to suffer from morning sickness, that likely won’t start for a few more weeks either.

Even though your belly hasn’t started getting bigger, your fifth week of pregnancy is a good time to start using a stretch mark prevention lotion or cream. The sooner you start using the product, the less likely it will be that you will develop stretch marks—the lotion will elasticize your skin and make it less prone to stretching and tearing as your body grows.

Make sure to avoid stretch mark prevention products that contain chemicals that may be unsafe during pregnancy. Potentially unsafe chemicals include Retin A, Retinol, Accutane, DMAE, and DHA, among others. Check with your obstetrician to make sure your preferred product is safe for use while you’re pregnant.

Other Things to Start/Stop Doing

Now that you know you’re pregnant, there are some other lifestyle changes you’ll want to make in order to make sure your baby stays happy and healthy in your womb. First, you’ll want to start taking a prenatal vitamin to make sure your baby is able to get the folic acid and other nutrients it needs. You can buy prenatal vitamins at any drug store, and take them as directed on the bottle or according to your doctor’s instructions.

If you haven’t yet been to the doctor, you’ll want to set up an appointment with an obstetrician to confirm your pregnancy and learn more about what to expect and when you’ll need to go in for visits throughout your pregnancy. Your doctor can also tell you what you can expect your pregnancy to cost: how much you’ll need to pay out of pocket and how much your health insurance will cover.

If you’re a current drinker or smoker, it’s time to quit. Drinking alcohol and smoking while pregnant can have detrimental effects on your fetus, so the sooner you stop, the healthier your baby will be. You doctor will also likely recommend that you stop drinking caffeine, so you may want to switch to decaf coffee and caffeine-free sodas. If you have a hard time giving up caffeine, try to cut back gradually over the next few weeks until you can quit completely without terrible caffeine headaches.

Finally, make sure you ask your doctor for a list for over the counter medicines that are safe to use while expecting.

Pregnancy Week 4: Preparing Your Environment for Healthy Baby Development

In the third week of your pregnancy, you conceived. This week, the egg that was fertilized in the last week of your pregnancy has moved into your uterus where it will live for the next nine months. Once the embryo sets up its new home in your uterus, it divides in half: half of the cells form your baby, and the other half form the placenta.

Your Baby at Week 4 of Pregnancy

In week four, your baby is tiny—only a millimeter in diameter. However, the changes that your newly conceived baby are going through right now will become the basis for its organ development for the next ten weeks. Healthy organ development is critical for a growing fetus, so it’s important that from this point on you avoid ingesting or exposing yourself to potentially unsafe chemicals in your environment.

Keep in mind that the things you eat and drink, any medicine you take, and any products you inhale (think spray tan or hairspray particles in the air) or apply to your skin may impact your baby’s development. The fourth week of your pregnancy is the perfect time to start doing research on which medicines and skincare products are safe during pregnancy and which should be avoided.

Your obstetrician can be a valuable resource in this research as well, so don’t be afraid to go in for your pregnancy confirmation test with a list of questions.

Your Body at Week 4 of Pregnancy

At this point in your normal cycle, your body would be preparing to shed its uterine lining and begin menstruation within the next week. However, since you’re pregnant, your body will not go through this process, and you will not have another period until after your baby is born.

It’s possible in your fourth week of pregnancy to still get a false negative on a home pregnancy test. If you get a negative result this week but don’t start your period in the next week, take another test. Home pregnancy tests can generally give you a more accurate result in the fifth week of your pregnancy. Once you’ve confirmed that you’re pregnant, set up an appointment with your obstetrician.

While you’re probably not noticing many changes with your body this early during your pregnancy, this is an important time to start taking care of yourself to make sure your body is prepared. If you haven’t already, start taking a prenatal vitamin daily after getting a positive pregnancy test in order to make sure you’re getting all of the nutrients you need to support your developing child.

Preventing Stretch Marks

Over the next few weeks, your body will start to show signs of pregnancy. The signs will be minimal at first—other people may not even notice you’re getting a little rounder—but the beginnings of your pregnancy growth signal an important time to start using a stretch mark prevention product. During your pregnancy, you’ll be at high risk for developing stretch marks, and using a stretch mark prevention lotion or cream may strengthen your skin and help prevent stretch marks.

Pregnancy Week 3: You’re Finally Pregnant!

If you’re pregnant, it’s probable that you conceived during the third week of your pregnancy. The reason for this is that your due date is calculated based on your last period, so the first two weeks of your pregnancy likely occur before you’ve actually conceived. In the third week of your menstrual cycle, your body is fertile and ovulating, so it’s likely that the third week of your pregnancy is the week where your baby was conceived.

Your Baby at Week 3 of Pregnancy

Once a single sperm fertilizes an egg produced by your body during ovulation, you’re pregnant. Your baby starts as a single cell but quickly divides into hundreds of cells that become the embryo and placenta. Your baby at this stage is smaller than a grain of salt, and though you won’t know its gender for many more weeks, its gender has already been determined.

Your Body During the Third Week of Pregnancy

Once you conceive, your body starts producing a hormone called hCG that prevents your uterus from shedding its lining. Since your body will not shed its uterine lining again after you conceive, you will not have another period until after your baby is born.

It’s possible that you can test positive with an early detection pregnancy test in the third week of your pregnancy, though you’ll get more certain results if you wait a week or two more. If you take a pregnancy test in your third week of pregnancy and it comes back negative, don’t be discouraged. Wait another week and test again for more accurate results.

Preparing for Your Baby in Week 3

Whether you’ve determined that you are in fact pregnant or you’re trying to get pregnant and hoping you are, there are several things you can do now to start preparing for your baby:

  • Buy a Pregnancy Guide: Being a new parent is terrifying, and a pregnancy guide will help alleviate your fears by educating you on the ins and outs of pregnancy. Reading about pregnancy ahead of time can teach you what to expect during your pregnancy, what to worry about while you’re pregnant, and what not to worry about because it’s perfectly normal.
  • Give Up Alcohol: If you haven’t already stopped drinking, this is the time to do it. If you’re the type of person who has a glass of wine after work to relive stress or before bed to relax, start looking into other methods of unwinding. Taking a hot bath, meditating, or drinking a warm glass of milk may be good substitutes while you’re expecting.
  • Start Using a Stretch Mark Prevention Product: More than 50% of women get stretch marks while pregnant, and you’re more likely to get them if your mother got them while pregnant with you. However, there are things you can do to avoid getting stretch marks. An easy way to prevent stretch mark scarring is to use a stretch mark prevention lotion twice a day while you’re pregnant. Find a stretch mark prevention product.

Pregnancy Week 2: Things You Need to Do to Prepare for Your Baby

During the second week of your pregnancy, your body is ovulating. Very soon, likely in the third week of your pregnancy, you will conceive.

But wait—if it’s the second week of your pregnancy, shouldn’t you already be pregnant?

There’s really no way to identify the exact moment when you conceived, so doctors calculate your due date using the first day of your last period. This means your first four weeks of pregnancy happen before you even know you’re pregnant—they are the four weeks between the last day of your last period and the first day of your first missed period.

So in the second week of your typical menstrual cycle, you’re probably not pregnant yet. However, your body is preparing itself in hopes of conception—your uterus is forming a special tissue lining in order to support conception, and your ovaries are producing eggs. By the end of the second week of your pregnancy, you will ovulate. In the third week of pregnancy, ovulation will be the catalyst for conception.

Even though it is extremely unlikely that you will know you’re pregnant in the second week of your pregnancy, if you’re trying to conceive, there are some things you can do now to prepare for your baby. If you followed our tips for week one of your pregnancy, you’ve already started exercising, you’ve given up coffee and cigarettes, and you’ve started taking a vitamin daily.

Here are some other things you can do now to start preparing for your pregnancy.

Start Researching ObGyns

While you’re pregnant, you will feel like your ObGyn is a new best friend you recently made and can’t stop hanging out with. You will spend a lot of time with your doctor—over the course of your pregnancy, you’ll likely have 15 or more appointments with your ObGyn. Because of this, you’ll want to do your research early. Find a doctor you trust: one that uses hospitals you trust, that uses methods you trust, and that has a proven track record of successful deliveries. But also make sure to find a doctor you get along with on a personal level.

Start Thinking About Baby Names

As soon as you start announcing to your friends and family that you’re pregnant, they’re going to ask if you have any names in mind. Everyone will have suggestions of their own, so it will save you from having to tell people you really dislike their suggestions if you already have names of your own in mind.

Prevent Stretch Marks

It may not seem like a serious concern at the moment because you’re not yet pregnant and are certainly not growing around the waist, but the sooner you start using a stretch mark prevention product, the less likely you’ll be to develop stretch marks during your pregnancy. Stretch mark prevention lotions will strengthen your skin and make it more flexible and less prone to tearing. Find a list of products here.

Pregnancy Week 1: Prepare Your Body for Your Baby

It’s impossible to know that you’re pregnant during your first week of pregnancy. Your pregnancy can’t be confirmed until you miss your first period, so most women don’t discover they’re pregnant until a few weeks to a month after conceiving. However, if you’re trying to get pregnant, there are some things you can do now to promote a happy and healthy baby from the very first week of your conception. To prepare your body for your baby, follow these tips while you’re trying to conceive:

Start Exercising

Unless specifically told not to exercise by your doctor due to complications during your pregnancy, exercising while expecting will be good for your body and your baby. Regular exercise will help you avoid gaining excess weight, will help you lose your baby weight more quickly after delivery, and will help you avoid developing stretch marks or varicose veins while you’re pregnant. If you get into the habit of exercising before you conceive, it will be easier to continue your exercise plan while you’re pregnant.

Give Up Coffee and Sodas

Your doctor will tell you that drinking caffeine is unhealthy for your baby, so you’ll need to take some time off of coffee and caffeinated sodas while you’re pregnant. Your first trimester may be difficult in and of itself if you suffer from morning sickness, so giving up caffeine before you conceive will lessen your discomfort by not adding caffeine headaches to the mix of first trimester ailments.

Stop Smoking

If you’re a smoker, it’s best to put down cigarettes during or before your first week of pregnancy so that you and your baby are both nicotine free. Smoking while pregnant may cause premature birth and may increase the likelihood that your child will become a smoker later in life, so the sooner you kick the habit, the better.

Start Taking Vitamins

You’ll need to take prenatal vitamins during your pregnancy, so it’s best to get in the habit early. You can go ahead and start taking prenatal vitamins while you’re trying to conceive, or you can simply take women’s vitamins. Getting in the habit of taking them every day is the most important thing.

Start Using Anti-Stretch Mark Lotions

Because your body expands rapidly during pregnancy, expecting mothers have a high risk of developing stretch marks while they’re pregnant. Stretch marks are caused when brittle skin tears and scars due to stretching, and if you develop stretch marks during your pregnancy, you may have them for the rest of your life. Because of this, it’s best to take preventative measures over the course of your entire pregnancy in order to avoid stretch marks.

Many lotions and creams are available that will strengthen your skin and make it more elastic during your pregnancy, reducing the likelihood that your skin will stretch, tear, and scar as your body grows to support your developing fetus. Applying a stretch mark cream or lotion every day during your pregnancy—from the first week of conception to delivery—will drastically reduce the likelihood that you will get stretch marks.

Potentially Unsafe Chemicals to Avoid in Your Skin Care Products While Pregnant

There are certain things that are pretty obvious to avoid while pregnant. Smoking, drinking alcohol, and using drugs are at the top of every pregnant woman’s list of things to avoid. However, as an expecting mother, it’s not only ingesting chemicals that you need to worry about. According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, just being exposed to toxic chemicals in your environment can have “significant and long-lasting effects on reproductive health.”

Since simple exposure to chemicals can have adverse effects on your developing fetus, it’s important to choose your household cleaners wisely, and it’s also important to avoid chemicals in your skincare products. Skin care products that can expose you to potentially unsafe chemicals include shampoo, conditioner, hand soap, face wash, acne treatment, sunscreen, sunless tanners, makeup, and stretch mark lotions. Below are some potentially unsafe chemicals to avoid while pregnant:

Accutane

Commonly used to treat acne, Accutane has been linked to so many cases of birth defects that the FDA has imposed rules around its prescription that require women to have two negative pregnancy tests prior to the drug being prescribed as well as to agree to use two forms of birth control for the duration of time that Accutane will be used.

Dihydroxyacetone (DHA)

DHA is an ingredient commonly found in sunless tanners. Some studies have shown that DHA may be safe when applied as a lotion or cream during pregnancy because it will not penetrate the skin, but it can be dangerous when applied as a spray because of the likelihood of inhaling the chemical during spray application. However, since safer means of tanning are available during pregnancy, DHA is probably best avoided in all forms.

Diethanolamine (DEA)

DEA is a petroleum-derived chemical that is commonly found in shampoo, hand soap, hairspray, and laundry detergent. In studies of the chemical’s effects on pregnant women, it has been shown to inhibit brain development in fetuses and may also cause miscarriage.

Other Chemicals

Many other chemicals have been questioned as to whether use is safe during pregnancy or not. Questionable chemicals include parabens, benzoyl peroxide, and hyaluronic acid. The effects of these chemicals when used by pregnant women is unknown, so it’s best to check with your doctor to find out if your preferred skin care product is safe for use during pregnancy or not.

Stretch Mark Cream

One skin care product you’ll likely want to use frequently during your pregnancy is a stretch mark lotion or cream. Because these products help prevent stretch marks at a time when you’re at high-risk for stretch mark scarring, most women apply them at least once per day during their pregnancy to help prevent stretch marks. Because of the frequency of application, it’s important to avoid potentially unsafe chemicals in your stretch mark cream. Find prevention products that do not use the chemicals listed above.

Signs That You May Develop Stretch Marks While Pregnant

Stretch marks are a common concern for expecting mothers, and with good reason: along with weight gain, rapid muscle development, and growth spurts caused by puberty, pregnancy is one of the most common causes of stretch mark scarring. Even women who follow all of the suggestions for preventing stretch marks sometimes get them anyway. If you’re concerned that you’re going to end up with stretch marks, consider these common signs that you may be at risk:

Itching

While stretch marks sometimes appear with no notice or symptoms, some pregnant women report their skin itching prior to stretch marks appearing. If you’ve been experiencing increased itchiness on your baby bump, you may be forming stretch marks. Using a stretch mark prevention lotion can help alleviate itchiness and may reduce your likelihood of developing stretch marks by strengthening your skin and improving its elasticity.

Excess Weight Gain

If you have a healthy BMI before you get pregnant, gaining between 25 and 35 pounds during your pregnancy is considered normal. Gaining more than 35 pounds may increase your risk of developing stretch marks by increasing stress on already-stressed skin. Eating healthy foods in moderation during your pregnancy can reduce your risk of gaining more weight than is necessary, decreasing your likelihood of forming stretch marks.

Family History

Unfortunately, there’s no way to prevent stretch marks if you’re genetically predisposed to developing them, but one possible sign that you have an increased likelihood of developing stretch marks is having a family history of stretch marks. If your mother developed stretch marks while pregnant with you, you may be more likely to develop stretch marks during your pregnancy. Taking steps to prevent stretch marks is much more important if you have a family history of striae.

Lack of Prevention

Doing nothing to prevent stretch marks may increase your likelihood of the skin on your abdomen and breasts tearing and scarring when it stretches to accommodate the life growing inside of you. To reduce the chances of this happening, take steps during your pregnancy to strengthen, protect, and elasticize your skin: use a stretch mark prevention lotion, wear sunblock when spending time outside, and drink plenty of water during your pregnancy.

Treatment

It’s important not to stress too much about stretch marks while pregnant. In the end, there may be nothing you can do to prevent them, and the stress won’t be good for your baby.

If you do end up with stretch marks, many treatment options are available after you give birth that can fade or remove stretch marks. A dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon can perform a variety of treatments like deep chemical peels, laser treatments, or microdermabrasion to reduce the appearance of stretch marks. However, these treatments can be expensive and time-consuming.

Over the counter stretch mark treatment creams can also effectively fade stretch marks and are a less-expensive alternative. Regular and frequent application will increase your likelihood of success with this treatment option.

Great Halloween Costumes That Will Hide Your Stretch Marks

Women’s Halloween costumes tend to start with the word “sexy”: sexy cat, sexy nurse, sexy stewardess, etc. But if you’ve recently given birth and are suffering from stretch marks, you may be feeling anything but sexy, and you’re probably not looking for a costume that highlights the parts of your body that you’re anxious to keep hidden. However, having stretch marks doesn’t mean you have to dress up as a witch. Check out these creative and covering costumes for ideas for your Halloween costume this year.

beatrix-kiddo-costumeBeatrix Kiddo

Mothers are awesome, and few movie characters have displayed how awesome mothers can be as much as Beatrix Kiddo from the Kill Bill movies. This costume is simple and easily recognizable, and it will cover up all of the areas you want to keep hidden. Best of all, you’ll feel like a ninja and a supermom wearing it. Get it for $49.99 from HalloweenCostumes.com.


The Mockingjayadult-katniss-mockingjay-costume

If you’re looking to dress up as a more current powerful female character, consider wearing this Katniss Everdeen costume. It’s tight, so it may not be the thing if you’re feeling self-conscious about your post-pregnancy weight, but it will cover your entire body and will definitely keep you warn if you’re taking your little one out for trick-or-treating. Get it for between $69.99-$99.99 from HalloweenCostumes.com.


plug-and-socketPlug and Socket

If you’re feeling cheeky and want to surprise your friends, consider talking your partner into dressing up with you as a plug and socket. The socket costume will cover any stretch marks or weight issues you’re trying to hide, and the plug will cleverly remind people that you just had a baby. Get the set for $69.99 from HalloweenExpress.com.


Zombiezombie

You probably feel like a zombie if your new baby isn’t sleeping through the night, so play the part by dressing up like one. This zombie costume will cover up all of your problem areas, and it’s cute enough that you’ll feel like the most adorable zombie that ever walked the earth in search of brains. Get it for $49.99 from HalloweenExpress.com.


orange-is-the-new-blackOrange Is the New Black

New mothers can sometimes feel like prisoners, but the feeling doesn’t last forever. Soon, your baby will be sleeping through the night and you’ll have time to use the restroom, shower, and take care of yourself again. In the meantime, though, play up the feeling by dressing up as a prisoner of Litchfield Penitentiary. This costume is available for only $29.99 from SpiritHalloween.com.


Prepare for Halloween 2017

Though you can cover your stretch marks with creative and clever costumes this year, if you start taking measures now, you may be able to wear what you want next Halloween without having to worry about stretch marks. There are many treatment options available for reducing the appearance of stretch marks or getting rid of them altogether. If you start using a stretch mark removal cream this fall, you may even be able to fade your stretch marks enough to feel good in a bikini before the weather gets warm again.