Other things which can effect the development of stretch marks in pregnancy include amount of weight gained and the rate of weight gain. Gaining not more than the recommended weight at a steady rate allows your skin time to stretch.
My belly butter is equal parts coconut oil, shea butter, and cocoa butter. There are many different brands available for purchase. I chose these organic Shea and Cocoa butters. I used the same large container of organic coconut oil which I use for cooking.
To make the belly butter:
- Bring one inch of water to a simmer in a shallow pot. Combine equal parts (around 1 cup each) coconut oil, shea butter, and cocoa butter in a glass bowl. Place the bowl in the pot, double boiler style. The simmering water should not touch the bottom of the glass bowl.
- Allow the products to melt completely and stir to a smooth consistency.
- Transfer to a mixer bowl, or leave in the glass bowl and use a hand held mixer.
- Allow the mixture to sit until it begins to thicken, around 30 minutes. If your house is warm, you can put it in the refrigerator to speed up the process.
- Beat the mixture until it resembles cake frosting and looks tasty enough to eat, around 3-5 minutes. If your mixture isn't resembling frosting you need to allow it to cool a little longer.
- Transfer to glass jars. Once your belly butter has cooled, cover the jars for storage - I liked these Ball 8 oz Wide Mouth Jars and Storage Caps which I purchased from Target. I filled 3 jars from one batch.
An important thing to realize is that coconut oil, shea butter, and cocoa butter are all solids at anything below around 72 degrees. So in the winter, or if you keep your house very cool, you will have a very solid product. For easy spreading, I simply place the sealed jar by the drain during my shower and the heat softens it up. (Make sure you do not step or slip on the jar!) In summer time, the butter was always perfect consistency to use right out of the jar.
This butter is a little greasy and has a definite cocoa butter smell. I applied it in the evenings after showering before bed. I never had an issue with it staining my clothes.
Some alternative commercial products I also liked...
Burt's Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter. This product absorbs fully into your skin leaving no residue or smell so it is great if you want to apply something just prior to getting dressed to leave the house. If I was going into the office and wearing dress clothes, I always used this product.
The Honest Company Organic Belly Balm. This product comes in a smallish container to be spreading all over your belly, in my opinion! I actually used it after delivery on my breasts because I was very paranoid about developing stretch marks due to the constant size fluctuation that accompanies breast feeding. It has a pleasantly mild smell and is only slightly greasy, kind of like vaseline jelly.
My least favorite product...
Bio-Oil. I saw this recommended a lot for belly use online, but did not purchase as I was using my own butter. I bought it after delivery on recommendation of my OB/GYN to put on my c-section scar. I used it faithfully for a few weeks. It is the greasiest product I've ever used. I applied it using a cotton ball, but even so, after only a few uses, my bottle was slick with grease and it left a greasy ring in my cupboard. My skin stayed greasy after applying it (just a little bit on a cotton ball!) and it never seemed to really absorb. I will say, my scar looks great! But whether that's a result of this product or simply lucky genetics, is much harder to say.