How to Prevent Stretch Marks During Pregnancy

Stretch Marks During Pregnancy
Stretch Marks During Pregnancy

Your body is capable of adapting to massive changes-but those changes may leave a mark. Stretch marks are a phenomenon especially common among pregnant people. But what are their underlying causes?

There are several reasons for stretch marks to form while you’re carrying your baby, which include:

Physical stretching: Sudden expansion of the skin and weight fluctuations happen in the second trimester of pregnancy. Since these changes are abrupt, the skin around the breasts, abdomen, buttocks, and thighs do not have adequate time to adjust.

Elastin and collagen: These proteins play a crucial role in promoting and maintaining your skin’s resilience and elasticity. When pregnancy occurs alongside existing structural connective tissue changes that can alter elastin and collagen, it may lead to the formation of stretch marks.

Hormones: Fluctuations in hormone levels during pregnancy may encourage the formation of stretch marks.

Are pregnancy stretch marks permanent?

Since stretch marks are a form of scarring, they can never be completely removed from your skin. However, they have been known to fade over time, and certain dermatological treatments(like chemical peels, ultrasound, radiofrequency, microdermabrasion, micro-needling, platelet-rich plasma, and laser or light therapy) may make them less noticeable.

When do stretch marks appear during pregnancy?

Stretch marks are usually spotted in the final trimester, around the sixth or seventh month. In rare cases, stretch marks may present themselves as soon as the abdomen starts to grow.

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Do stretch marks fade after pregnancy?

While pregnancy stretch marks tend to be very apparent in the final trimester, they slowly begin to fade after delivery. You may even see them turning a bit lighter in color on their own.

How to minimize stretch marks during pregnancy ?

As previously mentioned, pregnancy stretch marks are caused by sudden weight gain and skin expansion. But by taking certain precautions, you may be able to lessen the effects on your body.

Consider doing the following:

Applying natural topical creams

Specially formulated creams containing hyaluronic acid or Centella may help prevent pregnancy stretch marks. A few common ingredients with questionable success include jojoba oil, shea butter, vitamin C, and aloe vera, among many others. If you use a cream, use it twice a day, beginning with the third month of pregnancy. By being proactive, you might be able to maximize the product’s effectiveness, which drastically decreases once stretch marks become visible. Choose odorless topical creams composed of natural ingredients that are easily absorbed by your skin.

Note that different products might be required to treat different areas of the body. Remember, there’s little medical evidence that using creams is effective. However, they’re generally not harmful. Of course, before starting anything new, check with your health care provider to ensure the ingredients are safe for you and your baby.

Staying well-hydrated

Drink plenty of fluids as it keeps your skin soft, supple, and elastic. Dehydrated skin is more prone to developing stretch marks.

Eating a balanced diet

By maintaining a healthy, well-balanced diet, you can add those pregnancy pounds at a slower, steadier rate. You’ll thereby reduce your chances of forming pregnancy stretch marks in the process.

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Increasing vitamin C intake

Vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants that repair skin and tissue damage. Incorporate oranges, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, pinach, and other leafy greens into your meals.

Massaging your skin

Gentle massage of the areas where pregnancy stretch marks are likely to pop up might also be beneficial. A breast massage is not recommended after week 30 of your pregnancy, especially in the nipple area. It is also recommended to avoid active belly massage.

Doing light exercise

Stay active to avoid huge fluctuations in body weight. Additionally, regular exercise boosts circulation and blood flow to your skin, making it less vulnerable to damage.

How to treat pregnancy-induced stretch marks

Although it’s impossible to completely rid your body of pregnancy stretch marks, there are a few products that serve as a remedy for stretch marks.

Note that these should not be used during pregnancy but only after your body’s fully healed and your health care provider gives the green light.

  1. Retinol cream: Derived from vitamin A, it stimulates the production of collagen and takes up to four weeks to produce visible results. As with any topical cream, consult a medical professional first, and avoid using it while pregnant.
  2. Microdermabrasion: Uses aluminum oxide crystals or other abrasive substances to remove the uppermost layer of skin. This reveals the fresh, scar-free surface below.
  3. Laser therapy: Studies show it’s one of the most effective treatments available for stretch marks. Laser therapy can be quite expensive, however, and may require multiple sessions.
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