As a passionate Marathon runner I was really happy when I got a spot for Chicago Marathon, as it is one of the 6 World Marathon Majors. But then I found out that I was pregnant, and that Chicago Marathon was only 4 months after the due date. I was not sure if I should or could return to running postpartum and run a race so soon after giving birth. But giving up before even trying is not an option for me. So I secretly made a plan on how I could make returning to running postpartum work. And luckily everything worked out, and I finished the Chicago Marathon 4 months postpartum.
When I became pregnant I was of course full of emotions, most of them positive. However I also had some questions and fears. One of those was how my body would deal with the pregnancy, if I would gain lots of weight and if I would get stretch marks. I had gotten a lot of stretch marks when I gained weight during puberty. And the scars still cover my legs and booty.
After lots of research on stretch marks and several months of pregnancy later I am still free of stretch marks. And I’ve decided to share all the knowledge I gained with my readers.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links to help cover the costs for hosting this website.
You can’t change your genetics
Stretch marks happen when your skin has to expand beyond it’s natural flexibility. Most of the time this happens during growth or weight gain. Both men and women can get stretch marks, although women are more likely to get them.
Women’s connective tissue in their skin is just on average weaker, causing the skin to be less stretchy and flexible. Therefore they are more likely to have cellulite or stretch marks.
The bad news first: how likely it is for you to get stretch marks is determined by your genetics. And you can’t change your genetics per se. So if you have had stretch marks in the past, you are more likely to get them again. However this is not the end of the story.
… But you can work with your body
The good news is that there are several things that you can do that help you prevent stretch marks or lessen the appearance of them. Most of these tips and tricks are easy to implement and inxpensive. However they require some sort of discipline and consistency.
1) Gain weight gradually
If you had a healthy bodyweight before you should gain a total of around 10kg to 15 kg during pregnancy. Although weight gain during pregnancy is healthy and normal, it is not an excuse to just eat whatever you want. Besides the fact that gaining too much weight during pregnancy is unhealthy and not recommended, gaining weight too fast and too much can cause stretch marks.
So one of the best tips to prevent stretch marks is to gain weight gradually and stay within the recommended ranges.
You can find a calculator here .
How can you efficiently control your weight?
- Step on the scale regularly
- Eat a healthy and balanced diet and don’t go crazy.
- Continue with a healthy workout and exercise regime. You can find my blog post on benefits and risks of exercise during pregnancy here.
Important side note: Gaining too much weight too fast could also be a sign of excessive water retention. This can be a symptom of preeclampsia, which is a dangerous pregnancy condition. Monitoring your weight can also help you see the signs of this condition early.
2) Massage your belly regularly
There are a lot of creams, oils and lotions out there that promise you to prevent stretch marks. And while no study has proven yet that the miracle potion for stretch marks exists, there are some benefits to it. Regular massages help to make your skin mor flexible and your connective tissue more elastic.
In addition the oils and creams can help to make the scars lighter and less visible. Although they will not disappear completely.
Here are my favorite oils for a regular belly massage:
The all natural stretch mark oil from Weleda is my other favorite. It is great if you want a natural, petrol and chemical free oil. It is however a bit pricey. Weleda also has a special oil for the perineum that I will start using in my third trimester of pregnancy.
Retin-oil from skin-care start-up Deciem contains retinol, which helps especially when the stretch marks are already there. However it is not a good oil to use during pregnancy, but more for after giving birth.
The main reason is the key ingredient Retinol. Retinol is a form of Vitamin A. Overdosing on Vitamin A can cause birth defects of the fetus. Although the dosage of Retinol in the oil is fairly low, and first studies have indicated that topical application of retinol is safe during pregnancy, there is still not enough scientific evidence to recommend it during pregnancy.
I would therefore stay on the safe side, and use this great product after you gave birth to your little one.
3) Wear a special support band to prevent stretch marks
I am currently testing and wearing the belly support band from Secret Saviours. It has small rubber spots on the inside. These spots help to “grab” the belly and support its weight and therefore also the lower back. The claimed result: 82% of women who have used this kit have not developped stretch marks. So far I am among these 82% and I will continue to report on this.
The kit comes with a day gel, a night cream and a waist band. There are several sizes of belly bands and colors available so it always fits your belly perfectly.
Do you have any tips on how to prevent stretch marks? Leave me a comment below!
Do you want to conceive and get pregnant soon? Here are 5 things that you should do before getting pregnant, either because they help your fertility or because you can’t do them once you are pregnant.
All of these tips come from my own personal experience. Either because I did them completely right, or completely wrong. Please note that this advice is purely personal, as a lot of my friends have asked me for it recently. I am not a doctor or midwife, so please also consult them if you want to conceive or are trying to get pregnant.
When I found out I was pregnant with my first child I was currently in the process of running 12 Marathons for charity. I still had 2 Marathons to run, and I was scared that it would be a high risk if I continued to run. But I educated myself about exercising during pregnancy and and all the benefits and risks attached. In the end I ran two more Marathons in my first trimester, as I felt confident that it would not harm the baby.
I have collected all the knowledge about exercising during pregnancy that I gained through my research here and want to share it with you. Please bear in mind that I am not a doctor, midwife or personal trainer. Any pregnancy is different, so please conduct your health professional beforehand.
Very often you will hear runners talk about gear: their favorite running shoes, compression pants or other fancy race outfits. One of the most important items that is usually overlooked is running underwear. We just don’t like to talk bout what we wear under our race gear, even though running underwear can make or break your personal PR. When you experience severe chafing around your sensitive parts you know what I mean. Disclaimer: For this post I was testing Runderwear running underwear products for free. Runderwear is a British start-up that produces (as you might guess) running underwear. They first started out with running underpants, and have since then expanded their product range to sports bras and running socks. I have been a fan of Runderwear for a while, and I recommend it because I really love the product, and I am not getting paid for it. And I love to support young entrepeneurs, as I know how challenging it can be to run your own business.
How I discovered Runderwear
I first came across Runderwear when I was looking for running underpanties to wear during my 24 hour World’s Mudder Race. At that race you have to wear a wetsuit for several hours, and avoiding chafing under the wetsuit was the top goal. A friend of mine who was also an ultrarunner suggested I should try Runderwear, and he was definitely the right. I survived the 24hour race without chafing, and have been a fan of Runderwear ever since. I have worn the underpanties in every race since then (for OCRs and for my 12 Marathons in 12 Months Fundraising Project). So I was very happy when I was offered the opportunity to test a complete set of Runderwear running underwear. I have tested it thouroughly at Romatikmarathon Füssen, Reykjavik Marathon , Berlin Marathon and Europe’s Toughest Mudder Berlin, and it is now a staple item on my packing list for World’s Toughest Mudder this year.
What to look for in running underwear
Please call me old fashioned: but what you want to look for in running underwear is functionality, not style. Don’t get me wrong, I love stylish underwear. And I wear lots of sexy and playful outfits during my pole dancing classes. But I would never consider wearing that for running.
So what am I looking for in running underwear?
- It should be comfortable. I do not want to get blisters or chafing.
- It should absorb sweat and keep me as dry and warm as possible.
- It should also support my body, especially when it comes to sports bras. Yes, all girls need a bit more support for running, and a good sports bra is crucial.
Runderwear Running panties
Runderwear offers a wide range of running underpanties. The come as briefs, hipsters hot pants and G-strings. They come in various colors but I prefer the simple black. The are nearly seamless, and the edges are super soft. The fabric is also super soft and moisture wicking. As I’ve mentioned before I have been using the briefs for a while now, and I never experienced any chafing problems. And what I really love is the little slogan ” Don’t run commando” on the inside of the panties.
Runderwear Sports Bra
Runderwear offers a standard sports crop top made out of the same fabric as the underpanties, but also a proper supporting sports bra. (This is the one I tested.) The sports bra is made of soft moisture wicking fabric. It has removable padding at the cups, wide adjustable straps and a hook eye closure at the back. At first I was a bit sceptical about the adjustable straps and the hooks in the back. I generally tried to avoid them in sports bras in the past because they would always lead to chafing. But not with this bra, so I was really positively surprised. On the contrary the adjustable straps are really helpful to get a good fit.
The bra comes only in black, but with a little bit of optional color on the trim. However, I still prefer simple black.
Runderwear Running Socks
The standard for running socks nowadays is that they come in a right foot and left foot version, with different ergonomic knitting stlyes to support the natural form around the toes, heels and arch of your foot. Runderwear running socks also fall into this category, however they are using a complete different approach to avoid blisters: the double layer sock!
Yes, this sounds strange, but is actually highly effective. With a double layer sock, the two layers are rubbing agains each other rather than the sock rubbing agains your foot and causing a blister. And for me this worked perfectly so far. Zero blisters and a lot of comfort.
And the socks are super soft and comfortable, as they are made out of breathable moisture wicking fabric. I could wear them all day.
Keen on trying Runderwear? Shop here and use discount code AERIALSPARTAN15 to get 15% off. They also offer free worldwide shipping for all orders over 30 GBP.
In fitness and sports we like to talk about goals and personal bests. But something we do not like to talk about is failure. Somehow the error culture in our modern social media influenced world is non existing. We rather present failure free and perfect lives on Instagram. But this is not the real world. Everyone fails sooner or later. It is absolutely human and we have to talk honestly about it. So I’ll make the first step: I failed and missed my Berlin Marathon goal of running a sub 4 hour time. And I am not very happy about it. And I know many other runners that also missed their goals at the Berlin Marathon 2018, and are also gutted about it. So why am I writing this blogpost? Maybe to give us all, including me a different perspective on how we can overcome our failures.