Many pregnant women worry about the appearance of pregnancy stretch marks, and a question often asked is whether it is possible to avoid them. Around eighty per cent of pregnant women will develop stretch marks. For some, they may just be a silver glisten around the thighs, whereas for others could develop thick purple stretch marks across their bump.
What are stretch marks?
Stretch marks are narrow streaks or lines that appear on the surface of the skin. Areas most likely to develop pregnancy stretch marks include the bump, thighs and breasts. It’s obvious why – there’s a lot of stretching taking place while you’re busy growing a new person. It’s not unusual to go up a few cup sizes during pregnancy, and these changes can happen suddenly so it’s no wonder the skin on your breasts can get a little stretched. Likewise with your bump, the baby pads out in the past few weeks and you’ll notice your bump ballooning then too.
Even women who have avoided stretch marks throughout the rest of the pregnancy, often find they develop some during the last couple of weeks. Some pregnant women report stretch marks appearing across their hips around this time due to the excess weight combined with the loosening and widening of the pelvic area.
Can I prevent pregnancy stretch marks?
There are a whole host of creams, lotions and oils on offer claiming to prevent stretch marks. There is little science to back up the claims made by these products, and so it is unclear whether this is worth the investment.
It is important to keep your skin moisturised during pregnancy anyway, regardless of whether it will prevent stretch marks. Be sure to stay hydrated. If you don’t want to cover your bump in chemicals, you can moisturise using a natural product such as organic coconut oil which will help to hydrate your skin.
Stretch marks are thought to be hereditary. So, if your mum has stretch marks from carrying you, chances are you are going to get them too, regardless of how many oils and lotions you cover yourself in.
In time they will fade
One of the good things about the bump is, it’s probably big enough to obscure your view of the stretch marks during those last couple of months. But, once the baby is born, and your body slowly starts shrinking back down, you may be disappointed to discover stretch marks across your skin.
In the months immediately after the birth, the stretch marks will be red or purple and probably quite noticeable, but in time they will fade. They will become thinner and the purple hue will fade to a pale silver, and they will be less noticeable. Rejoice in your body – these are the badges of courage!
Written by Fiona (@Fiona_Peacock), mother, writer and lover of all things baby related.
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2018. All rights reserved.