Can we talk about pregnancy stretch marks for a moment?
It seems that women have a love-hate relationship with them. We love them for what they represent – they are the tiger stripes that embody the strength and courage a woman shows in carrying and birthing her baby into this world. We hate them for the reminder that our body will never be what it was – a body that is now smarter and stronger than we ever give it credit for, but further from that bikini model image.
I’ve been told over and over that stretch marks in pregnancy are genetic and that if my mom or a sister got them, then I would surely get them as well. So at the start of pregnancy I took the mindset that when I get them, I’ll do my best to embrace them. Sure it’ll be hard at first, but I’ll warm up to them and embrace the same tiger stripes so many other strong women boast about having earned.
But thanks to that love-hate relationship, I also did my research into how to avoid them and found… nothing. Yes there are overpriced gimmicky lotions but I refused to fall for them and my midwife additionally cautioned against them from the get-go, warning that they can have adverse effects on the baby. Of course, nothing is worth that risk. So I accepted the facts and decided to simply use a gentle moisturizer to ease the itching and discomfort associated with the formation of stretch marks.
I wanted to simplify my beauty product lineup for pregnancy and I’ve heard friends and family rave about coconut oil as a skin moisturizer, so decided to give it a try. It smells amazing and my midwife assured me that it’s totally safe for my baby. What I didn’t love though was its clumpiness and I definitely couldn’t see myself using it frequently if I was going to have to microwave it every time just to soften it enough to get some out of the container. And so, my love for baking came into play: I thought that if I can whip a stick of butter into a fluffy, easier-to-spread state then I could probably do the same with coconut oil.
I was right! I added in some other beneficial oils and set it to high on the kitchen mixer with a whisk attachment… and voila, light and fluffy, easy to spread coconut butter! aka: pregnancy belly butter.
But the biggest surprise? I’m just shy of 39 weeks pregnant and still no sign of stretch marks. what?! I’ve been massaging this butter on every night since the very beginning of my pregnancy, sometimes in the morning too if my skin is feeling at all dry or itchy (which, having been pregnant through winter in Iowa, was often). I’ve come to love it so much that I keep a jar of it in the living room for foot massages and I just whipped up another batch for my hospital bag to help massage aches and pains during and after labor.
Here’s what I’ve been using (scroll to the bottom for the full recipe and instructions)…
▲ I decided to make this as creamy and nutrient-rich as I could. Some believe that vitamin E oil helps mend scar tissue (ahem, stretch marks = scar tissue) and olive oil has antioxidants that are said to soothe irritation, so I decided to add a bit of those oils to my mixture.
▲ The final whipped coconut butter is so creamy and perfect for an after-shower moisturizer! Don’t you just want to eat this with a spoon?
▲ I store mine in a one-pint mason jar in the bathroom to apply right after a shower. The leftovers get divvied up between two small glass containers: one in the living room for foot massages and the other in my hospital labor bag.
Whipped Pregnancy Belly Butter
(makes roughly 24 oz.)
- 14 oz. unrefined extra virgin coconut oil
- 1 oz. extra virgin olive oil
- 1.5 oz. vitamin E oil
- Add all ingredients to mixer.
- With whisk attachment on mixer, whisk on high for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Transfer to air-tight container for storage.
Tip: virgin coconut oil has a melting point of 76°F. If your coconut oil has reached this melting point, it will not whip. Set it in the fridge for 30 minutes and try again once it has set. If you live in a warm climate where your whipped coconut butter repeatedly turns to liquid form, store it in the fridge between uses to maintain that fluffy texture.