Does pregnancy make cellulite look worse?

I'm in my last trimester of pregnancy and everything is going well, except that I'm noticing an increase in cellulite. Is there any way I can control cellulite during pregnancy? I don't think I'm allowed to try any invasive or non-invasive treatment now to stop it from getting worse. I tried massaging the troubled areas but it's quite difficult to do much with a growing belly.


F, 33, New Jersey

Tags:woman cellulite pregnancy massage

I had a problem with large, lumpy patches of cottage cheese cellulite springing up on my thighs and butt when I was pregnant with my youngest daughter. I went to the midwife I was seeing in tears and looking for a little bit of positive reassurance. It was through her that I learned that my skin had stretched tighter in these areas, allowing my body’s stored fat to poke through creating a "orange peel effect". I was in such a late stage of pregnancy at that point that she did not feel comfortable encouraging me towards an exercise regiment, so she instead pointed me towards the world of vitamin E packed creams and coconut butter based lotions to prevent stretch marks in increase blood circulation. I applied them with the urgency of a dying man, and experienced relieved when I finally saw my legs smoothing back out. Before talking to my midwife, I had been afraid that the lumps would be permanent, banning me from the world of sundresses and shorts forever. Luckily, the lotions work just fine. Cellulite during pregnancy is going to happen so don't get too upset.

I know my cellulite definitely looked worse during my pregnancy. By the second trimester, my thighs looked so weird and ripply that I avoided wearing shorts and skirts for a while. When I mentioned this to my doctor, she told me that it happens because of all the hormone changes associated with pregnancy. The increase in fluid retention and fat tends to make cellulite way more noticeable, and it's rather unavoidable. During pregnancy, there's not much you can do besides try to wait it out and avoid excessive weight gain. Fortunately, the cellulite started going away as soon as I gave birth and my bloating started going down. Post pregnancy, once I actually lost the baby weight, my cellulite smoothed out even more.

When I was pregnant with my oldest, my stomach expanded out like a beach ball, while my legs and arms stayed thin. My baby bump stretched my skin to its max. I mean I had stretch marks out the wazoo! They were all over my butt, my hips, my tummy, and my thighs. I watched them appear seemingly overnight, their numbers growing before my horrified eyes. The stretch marks, however, could not truly evoke my horror quite the way the appearance of the fat cells and cellulite did. It broke me! I cried to my husband, my best friend, and my doctor. With an air of gloating amusement, my friend took me aside and explained what I should do. Having been through a pregnancy already herself, she was all too familiar with the horror of pregnancy induced cellulite. She gave me super hydrating lotions and cellulite creams and encouraged me to apply them with a lavish hand. I did so, and over time, (but, not too much time) my cellulite receded and my stretch marks began to disappear.

Congratulations on your pregnancy! I had the same problem with cellulite during my last pregnancy but not with my first. I was also worried that it was never going to go away so I talked to my doctor about it. She said that the cellulite appears because of changing hormones and excess water retention in your body. The best thing to do to try and prevent cellulite is to exercise. Stretching, yoga and swimming are all great workouts when you are pregnant. A healthy diet and staying hydrated are a must of course.