Pregnancy stretch marks
Stretch marks occur when the body grows more than the skin can keep up. As a result, the elastic fibers just under the surface of the skin break and results in stretch marks. These small, depressed streaks in the skin usually occur on the belly in the latter stages of pregnancy. These marks may also appear on the breasts , buttocks, thighs and hips. The marks usually start out as pink, reddish-brown, purple or dark brown depending on the skin’s complexion but they usually fade away to white or grey after pregnancy.
Am i at risk of stretch marks during pregnancy ?
It is difficult to determine who will get stretch marks during pregnancy. About 50 % of pregnant women get these marks and no one can tell who will or will not get it. However certain factors increase your risk of getting it. Genetics may play a role and that means if your mother got these marks during pregnancy, you are more likely to get it too. The more your skin expands during pregnancy and the faster it does makes you more prone to stretch marks. Therefore you may get stretch marks if you :
- are carrying multiples
- gain a lot of weight more rapidly
- have excess amniotic fluid
- are carrying a big baby
How can i prevent pregnancy stretch marks ?
There is no way to prevent stretch marks. Gaining the right amount of weight during pregnancy and gaining it slowly reduces your risk. It is good to keep your belly moisturized to reduce itchiness. It is also helpful to keep your skin hydrated with water.
How can i get rid of pregnancy stretch marks?
Stretch marks usually fade away considerably in about 6 to 12 months after delivery. Topical medications such as tretinoin (Retin-A) and glycolic acid may help.
NOTE : Retin-A is not safe to use during pregnancy. There is no reliable information on the amount that gets into breast milk. Therefore it is best to avoid it during breastfeeding.
There is some evidence that laser treatment can help restore the skin’s elasticity and change its pigmentation.
Bio-oil is a topical product that is especially formulated to maximize the skin’s elasticity and ensure that it is well hydrated. Apply this product twice daily right from the first trimester to help your body better withstand stretch marks during pregnancy.
The truth about pregnancy stretch marks. WebMD. http://www.webmd.com/baby/features/stretch-marks. Accessed July 19, 2015
Stretch marks in pregnancy.NHS Choices. http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/stretch-marks-pregnant.aspx#close. July 19, 2015