Stretch marks during pregnancy

Though your baby’s not yet born, she’s already leaving her mark on you!  Most of the pregnant mothers start to notice stretch marks on the stomach (and elsewhere) around the end of the second trimester and the beginning of the third trimester.

They do sometimes appear sooner. 

Up to 90 percent of all expecting mothers get these pink, red, brown or sometimes purplish streaks mostly  across the belly, butt, thighs, hips or breasts. 

Stretch marks are caused due to tiny tears in the supporting layers of tissue under the skin as it’s pulled tight during pregnancy. 

Stretch marks has a lot to do with the elasticity of the skin. 

Genetics play an important role. If your mother had stretch marks, chances are greater that you too will develop them. 

Lifestyle habits, including eating well and exercising regularly, also promote skin health and elasticity.

Important factor affecting the likelihood of stretch marks is how much weight you gain during pregnancy and how quickly. Rapid weight gain makes you more prone to these stretch marks. The faster your skin stretches, the more likely is the possibility.

Few ways to try to prevent stretch marks and lighten or minimize their appearance during pregnancy:

Moisturize and massage 

Massaging a stretch mark oil or cream on your belly, hips and thighs may help prevent stretch marks.

Cocoa butter, olive oil, almond oil, vitamin E or coconut oil are effective at preventing stretch marks.

Moisturizing daily will also help with the dry, itchy skin associated with pregnancy.

Be sure to use moisturizer early on in your pregnancy, and massage it in gently to maximize effectiveness. Many think it’s the massaging action and not the ingredients that may make stretch mark creams effective. 

Keep using the cream or gel of your choice throughout your pregnancy.

Nourish your skin 

Keep taking your vitamins, which helps you to get enough of a variety of nutrients that help both your baby’s development and your skin health.

Vitamin C-rich foods like citrus and strawberries may also make your skin to resist stretch marks. Vitamin C promotes collagen and tissue production, which helps keep skin strong and elastic. 

Vitamin D in your diet may also help with stretch marks. 

Fish, fortified dairy or dairy substitutes, and eggs are rich in vitamin D, and other pregnancy-friendly vitamins and nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids and choline.

Try to gain weight slow and steady

Since rapid weight gain is one of the reasons behind stretch marks, slow and steady weight gain during pregnancy is one of the most effective ways to help prevent them.  

This also helps for overall healthier pregnancy.

Given enough time

Stretch marks gradually lighten and fade away on their own. 

There are few methods which will help to make them less noticeable but do not eliminate them completely and are advisable post delivery as they are considered unsafe during pregnancy.

  • Retinol or tretinoin creams. These help to rebuild the collagen in skin. 
  • Laser therapy
  • Chemical peels
  • Microdermabrasion
  • Ultrasound
  • Radiofrequency
  • Microneedling

Unfortunately, there’s no proven way to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy.

Pregnancy stretch marks usually lighten to a less noticeable silvery gray or pale glistening color within about six months of birth. Meanwhile, try to wear them with pride.

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