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Pregnancy Cellulite and How to Prevent It

It’s no secret that pregnancy changes the body in many ways, and one of them is cellulite. Cellulite appears as lumps or dimples on the skin, most notably on the thighs and buttocks. It can be very noticeable during pregnancy due to hormonal changes, weight gain, and other factors.

We want to be clear that cellulite is completely natural and happens to 80%-90% of women, especially when you’re pregnant. Pregnancy cellulite is nothing to be ashamed of and we hate that a lot of time in our society it is made to make women feel bad about their bodies. It is often also used by pharmaceutical companies to try and push products to you that will end up doing very little if nothing at all.

So, we are not here to mislead you, or make you feel bad and push something to purchase.

Instead, we hope this article can be useful in helping you learn more about cellulite during pregnancy, what actually causes it and how to alleviate the appearance in a healthy, non-invasive way.

Table of Contents

What is cellulite and pregnancy cellulite​

Cellulite is a term to describe lumps and dimples which can form on the skin, in particular around the buttocks and thighs (such as lumpy legs during pregnancy). It is a physiological condition as opposed to pathological which means it is caused naturally and not as a result of a disease, virus or other external conditions. This is exactly what we mean we say it is a completely normal thing to occur.

Cellulite and pregnancy cellulite are the same thing.

According to Healthline, “Cellulite occurs when the skin overlying certain areas of fat is pulled downward to the deeper tissues by connective tissue bands. This creates an uneven surface.”

To me and you, it’s the lumpy texture you can get, typically on the bum, thighs, legs and belly. But it’s usually the legs and bum.

Pregnancy cellulite is exactly the same as any other cellulite, but there are reasons why cellulite during pregnancy can sometimes be more prevalent. 

Appearance of pregnancy cellulite

What causes pregnancy cellulite ​

The general causes of non-pregnancy cellulite are the reason why getting cellulite while pregnant is more likely. Or if you have existing cellulite, it could make its appearance more prominent.

Let’s take a look at some of the main causes of cellulite and why being pregnant can make cellulite worse.

An increase in body fat

The appearance of cellulite is caused by fat deposits underneath the skin. As such, with the normal increase in weight during pregnancy, which includes higher fat levels, the appearance of cellulite during pregnancy is increased. At no point do we recommend going on any extreme diets to combat cellulite as the priority should be to eat enough and to eat healthily.

Water retention creating cellulite ‘packets’​

Having more water in the body can push cellulite packets closer to the skin increasing the likelihood of the skin having a lumpy appearance. Pregnancy causes the body to hold on to more water to help grow a healthy baby. Water is crucial for a healthy pregnancy and we do not advocate reducing water intake just to try and avoid cellulite. 

A significant change in levels of hormones (estrogen)​

There is a clear link between estrogen levels and the appearance of cellulite. This is why women are more likely to get cellulite than men. During pregnancy, hormone levels go through the roof which is what leads to pregnant women being more likely to get cellulite or for existing cellulite to get worse. There is absolutely nothing you can do stop this and one of the reasons why we stress that pregnancy cellulite is a completely normal thing to happen.

Lifestyle changes such low activity levels

The lifestyle of a person has an impact on cellulite, many studies have claimed. It is quite easy to take your foot off the gas in terms of going to the gym during pregnancy, especially in the later stages which can lead to more cellulite in pregnancy.

We recommend keeping your activity levels more or less the same during early pregnancy and there’s no reason why you can’t continue to go to the gym. Of course, during the later trimester this might not be possible but you are still able to walk and do pregnancy yoga, as an example.

Poor diet​

A poor diet is also a leading cause of cellulite so it’s important to eat healthy foods throughout if you want to do everything you can to alleviate the appearance and reduce the risk. A healthy diet during pregnancy can do a lot more than just prevent cellulite as it can lift your mood, reduce the risk of pregnancy complications and help you sleep better.

Stress

High stress levels have been heavily linked with pregnancy cellulite. Unfortunately, this is something a lot of women struggle with as we try to balance the needs of existing commitments while growing a healthy baby and trying to prepare for its arrival. Obviously, we want you to live a stress-free life during pregnancy! While this may not be achievable, it’s good to have it as a goal and remember to lean on your community as much as possible.

Poor circulation​

Poor blood circulation can lead to fewer essential nutrients moving around the body. In areas such as the bum and thighs this can lead to the skin tissue weakening, and the result is lumpy legs during pregnancy which we all know as cellulite.

Good blood circulation is important during pregnancy and, as such, any indications of poor circulation should be addressed as soon as it happens. If left untreated, it may lead to more worrisome symptoms than pregnancy cellulite such as varicose veins.

Genetics

Genetics also plays a part in who gets cellulite and who doesn’t. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do about this as it is something that has been determined by the genes you inherited from your parents. Some people are simply more prone to cellulite than others, and just because you have it doesn’t mean you aren’t healthy!

healthy diet and exercise for pregnancy cellulite

Can you prevent pregnancy cellulite?​

We hope you realise by now that cellulite, and in particular cellulite during pregnancy, is a completely normal thing to have, for various reasons.

That being said, there are some things you can do during pregnancy to reduce the chances of it happening and reduce the severity of it.

Eat healthy foods​

There is a link between a bad diet and the formation of cellulite. Eating healthy foods is something we would always recommend before, during and after pregnancy. As well as eating nutritious and balanced meals, avoiding processed foods, foods high in sugar and saturated fats, and a lot of salt.

Eating foods that are naturally high in vitamin C such as oranges, kiwis, strawberries, peppers and broccoli are all encouraged to help reduce cellulite. And drink plenty of water too!

We would also add to make sure not to overeat and gain too much weight during pregnancy. Remember, the phrase ‘eating for two’ is a dangerous myth which can lead to obesity and complications far more worrying than cellulite!

Stay active​

At times you may not feel like being active, especially during the later weeks. But, having an active lifestyle has been linked with reduced cellulite so try your best to keep your life the same even after you find out you’re pregnant!

Being active does wonders towards having a good pregnancy so you should aim to do it not just to avoid cellulite. You should be able to do everything you did before pregnancy for most of the first and second trimester. In the third trimester, if you can’t do the intense exercises try to do gentle exercises such as walking and pregnancy yoga or pilates. We are so fortunate now that there are many ante-natal exercise classes available, so look some up in your area.

Improve circulation​

If you’ve quit smoking and drinking, are eating healthy and staying active you should have no problem with blood circulation. However, if you want to make double sure then why not invest in the services of a masseuse that can do pregnancy massages or treat yourself to a nice body brush! Go on, you know you want to (and you deserve it)!

Does pregnancy cellulite go away​?

You may be wondering – does cellulite go away after pregnancy? Post pregnancy, as you lose weight and water, the appearance of cellulite will get better but it is unlikely it will go away completely unless you are genetically gifted or change your lifestyle completely.

Because cellulite is a natural occurrence, there is no real cure for it. You may see or hear of products or treatments that claim to get rid of cellulite but these can be expensive and rarely work. Cellulite creams may improve the appearance and make the skin firmer but it will not get rid of cellulite. So, save your money and relax!

To help reduce the appearance of cellulite after pregnancy as much as possible, then you can try following many of the tips listed above for preventing it: eat healthy and be active working on both burning fat and building muscle. Stay away from fad diets and try to lose weight gradually. 

There is no magic potion for pregnancy cellulite!

It is as simple as that, don’t let the media, celebrities and influencers make you feel bad about a completely natural occurrence that the majority of women will experience! Embrace it as part of being a woman and a mum!

lumpy legs during pregnancy

Frequently Asked Questions about Pregnancy Cellulite

Can you use cellulite cream while pregnant​?

Not only are cellulite creams pointless (they may reduce the appearance but will not remove cellulite), but they also have chemicals which can be harmful to mum and baby during pregnancy. Therefore, we would absolutely not recommend their use during pregnancy.

Cellulite creams often contain methylxanthines which is a form of caffeine, and as we know, caffeine intake during pregnancy should be reined in. You don’t need to give up caffeine completely, but rubbing caffeine into your bums and thighs when you don’t need to isn’t advised!

Does pregnancy cellulite go away with breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding is a great thing to do for both you and your baby but it won’t necessarily help with cellulite. Even though you may lose weight from breastfeeding, the fat cells are still there which will cause the cellulite to persist.

Will drinking water help prevent or reduce cellulite during pregnancy?

Drinking lots of water is always important and encouraged, especially during pregnancy, and can potentially help with cellulite. Drinking more water helps to flush toxins out of your body, reduces water retention, and improves skin elasticity. These are all factors which can lead to a reduction in cellulite.

The Bottom Line

Overall, pregnancy cellulite, and cellulite in general, is a common occurrence and there’s no magic potion to make it go away. The best way to manage the appearance of your cellulite is by eating healthy foods and keeping active. With these tips in mind, you will have healthier habits which will benefit not just your physical health but also your mental well-being too.

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