How To Deal With Pregnancy Stretch Marks
By Charles Hopkins
Published 09/20/2007 | Health
One of the things women dread about pregnancy, apart from morning
sickness and a backache, is stretch marks. Stretch marks look like red
or purple streaks on your skin. These streaks eventually become a less
obvious silver or white. Stretch marks most notably appear around the
bulging abdomen, but can also appear on the buttocks, hips, thighs,
breasts and arms. Between 75-90 percent of all pregnant women develop
stretch marks during pregnancy. Yes, unfortunately the statistic on
that is quite high. Nonetheless, many pregnant women strive to achieve
a stretch-mark-free pregnancy.
So, how do you prevent the development of stretch marks?
1. The first thing most women look for is a cream or oil that they
can apply. Take note that you shouldn't just choose any moisturizing
product from off the shelf. You will need a product that can go deeper,
past the skin's top layer (epidermis). Highly recommended are products
that have high amounts of vitamin A, vitamin E, collagen, elastin,
glycolic acid, and emu oil, liposomes and aloe vera gel. These
ingredients are able to penetrate into your second layer of skin called
the dermis. The dermis is where the stretch marks occur. They help to
replace damaged skin cells and also activate the renewal of healthy
2. Eat foods that promote skin health such as those rich in
vitamins A, C, D, E, zinc, silica and protein. These would include
nuts, fish, carrots, citrus fruits, milk, eggs and leafy greens. The
right kind of nutrition will help your skin stretch better and also to
bounce back quicker after birth. Avoid coffee, caffeinated drinks, tea
and smoking, as they are not good for your skin's health.
3. Drink lots of water to keep yourself hydrated. Hydration is an important factor for healthy skin.
4. Control your weight gain. Doctors recommend women gain between
25 and 34 pounds during pregnancy. Gaining it slowly may help reduce
your chances of getting them. Try not to experience excessive or rapid
Taking the steps listed above does not guarantee that you will be
free from stretch marks. Whether you get stretch marks or not are
influenced by many factors such as:
- Genetics. If your mother or sister had them during pregnancy, the chances of you getting them are higher.
- Skin condition. Dry skin will be less elastic and makes you more prone to stretch marks.
- Amount of physical stretching. If you are carrying a very large
baby or more than one baby, you are more likely to develop stretch
- Ethnicity and skin tone. If you have fair skin, the probability of having them increases.
You will hear about women who took all the necessary steps to
prevent stretch marks but got them anyway. What then? How do you remove
Only one cream has been proven to be highly effective and that is
tretinoin cream, also known as Retin A. It is very expensive and must
be prescribed. However, this cream is not to be used by pregnant women
or nursing mothers as its effects on the fetus or nursing baby are
still questionable. Laser therapy is another option. It's quick and
involves very little recovery time. The therapy reduces the appearance
of the stretch marks and also improves your skins elasticity. Cosmetic
surgery is usually a last resort to remedy severe stretch marks. Before
selecting laser or cosmetic surgery, consider first the high cost of
Many women fear stretch marks because they are permanent and very
rarely disappear. There are steps you can take to reduce the chances of
getting them. However, that is all you can do -- reduce the chances. It
does not guarantee that you will not get them. To get rid of them after
they occur could prove expensive. It would be best to just enjoy your
pregnancy and your bundle of joy and be consoled that stretch marks,
naturally, do become less noticeable over time.