Maternity leave usually comes to an end around the time your baby’s “fun” phase is beginning: the cooing, the smiling, the (almost) sleeping through the night. And if you’ve been nursing, 12 weeks is also around the time when you feel like an old pro (rather than a flailing newbie). You’ve seen how your baby has grown, thrived and turned into a little butterball on your milk. Sore nipples and engorgement are a thing of the past.
If you’re thinking of getting pregnant, or already have passed that home pregnancy test with flying colors, you’ll want to make sure you’re doing everything you can to grow a healthy baby. That means quitting smoking and drinking, exercising in moderation, eating a healthy diet—and taking a prenatal vitamin every day.
Some women call stretch marks “badges of honor.” But when I first noticed bright reddish purple streaks on my hips towards the end of my first pregnancy, I can’t say I felt particularly honored. A healthy baby is enough commemoration for me, thank you very much!
Time helped fade my once-bright marks to thin, silvery grooves, but I still wanted a little help airbrushing their existence—and preventing more of them from cropping up when I was pregnant again (and again) with my first badge of honor’s younger siblings.
After much trial and error, here’s what worked for me:
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