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Pregnancy Stretch Marks: Types of Treatment and Prevention

Pregnancy is a beautiful journey coupled with significant body and lifestyle changes. As your tummy grows in size to accommodate this little miracle, it leaves pinkish streaks along the stomach, breasts, or hips. These streaks are pregnancy stretch marks which by some women are considered baby-making scars, and they wear them with pride, while others may feel self-conscious about them. In any case, stretch marks during pregnancy cannot be prevented entirely, as it is a natural phenomenon caused due to weight gain during pregnancy. However, certain things can be done to help reduce the chance of getting them. Hence in this article, we have provided a detailed guide on preventing pregnancy stretch marks, along with the types of treatment at your disposal!

What are Pregnancy Stretch Marks? 

Before we dive deeper, let us know what stretch marks are during pregnancy. Coined as 'striae gravid arum’ in medical terms, stretch marks during pregnancy typically appear on the stomach, breasts, thighs, hips, and even upper arms. These are tiny tears in the supporting layers of tissue under your skin which are pulled tight during pregnancy. Genetics plays a vital role in determining the visibility and appearance of the stretch marks. For instance, if your mother had stretch marks, chances are higher that you probably will too.  Moreover, changes in hormone levels during pregnancy can make the skin thinner, making expecting mothers more susceptible to stretch marks. 

When Do Stretch Marks Appear During Pregnancy? 

If you have not yet noticed stretch marks in your pregnancy journey, don’t be surprised. Stretch marks can appear in different timelines for everyone; for some, they may appear in later trimesters of pregnancy, as the skin stretches due to weight gain. Many women get stretch marks during the second trimester of pregnancy, while some may be lucky not to get it at all.

Ways to Prevent Getting Pregnancy Stretch Marks 

According to research studies, 90% of expectant mothers get stretch marks. And there is nothing much one can do to avoid stretch marks during pregnancy. However, there are many ways to reduce the chance of their appearance. In this section, we are going to provide you with various ways to prevent getting stretch marks - 

▪ Moisturise and Nourish Your Skin 

Some research studies show that formulations in the stretch mark oil/cream with the herb Centella or hyaluronic acid can help prevent stretch marks, although it is far from definitive. However, massaging stretch mark oil or cream on the affected areas won’t hurt! In addition, moisturising your skin daily can help prevent the dry, itchy skin associated with pregnancy. So keep using stretch marks cream or gel throughout the pregnancy, as they will likely reap benefits after a few weeks of their usage.

▪ Consume Skin-Nourishing Foods 

Merely nourishing your skin from the outside with oil and creams is insufficient. Instead, you must eat a diet rich in the skin–nourishing foods, such as spinach, carrots, and sweet potatoes, packed with antioxidants. Also, consuming vitamin C-rich foods may make your skin less subject to stretch marks, as it promotes collagen and tissue production, which helps to keep your skin firm and elastic. 

▪ Keep a Check on Your Weight Gain 

One of the most common reasons for pregnancy stretch marks is weight gain. So try to keep your weight in check by following a recommended calorie intake during pregnancy and doing pregnancy-save exercise at home.

▪ Other Ways 

Few other ways in which you can prevent the appearance of stretch marks during pregnancy are -

  • ▪ Hydrate yourself regularly
  • ▪ Avoid overexposing yourself to the sun.
  • ▪ Wear a well-supportive bra to avoid getting stretch marks around your breasts.

Treatments for Pregnancy Stretch Marks 

Although if you give enough time to stretch marks after childbirth, they gradually fade on their own or lighten. However, if you are still concerned about seeing those stretch marks, you can consult your dermatologist about some treatments. These treatments may not eliminate stretch marks entirely but can make them less noticeable - 

  • ▪ Laser therapy
  • ▪ Chemical peels
  • ▪ Microdermabrasion
  • ▪ Ultrasound
  • ▪ Radiofrequency
  • ▪ Microneedling
  • ▪ Prescription retinol or tretinoin creams

Key Takeaways

  • Embrace Your Scars

Pregnancy scars are an important part of your motherhood experience, so wear them with pride.

  • It’s Normal

Stretch marks can emerge at different times for different people; for some, they may appear in the later trimesters or the second trimester of pregnancy, which is completely normal. 

  • Can Consult a Dermatologist

If you are still concerned about the appearance of stretch marks, speak with your dermatologist about possible treatments. These treatments may not completely eradicate stretch marks, but they can make them less visible.

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