Pregnancy stretch marks are very common. They can make many women feel a bit self-conscious. The good news is that not only are stretch marks treatable, but one can also prevent stretch marks during pregnancy.
Stretch marks typically develop on your stomach (as well as other body parts) between the sixth or seventh month of pregnancy, at the completion of the second trimester, or at the beginning of the third trimester. Nevertheless, they do occasionally show up earlier. Up to 90% of all pregnant women experience these pink, red, brown, or even purplish lines.
These stretch marks are completely normal, and it is also completely alright to want to avoid them. The most common treatment that many people suggest to moms developing stretch marks during pregnancy is to use lotions or stretch mark creams; however, there is no scientific proof that these can help you avoid stretch marks or even prevent them.
Why Do You Get Stretch Marks During Pregnancy, and What Are They Caused By?
Well over 50% of pregnant women get pregnancy stretch marks, commonly known as striae. They are normal. Stretch marks could also appear on both men and women, regardless of whether they are pregnant, whenever their skin stretches quickly. Based on the person, these crepey markings on the skin might be pink, red, purple, or even brown. Itching in a spot where the skin is thinning could be the first symptom you notice.
Stretch marks don’t cause any harm, and they don’t lead to any health issues. Stretch marks are the product of the elastic fibers just beneath the skin’s surface breaking. Your skin may be affected by pregnancy hormonal imbalances, increasing your risk of getting stretch marks. Whenever the dermis, the skin’s central layer, is substantially stretched and injured, stretch marks appear. Stretch marks are dependent on your skin type as some people have much more supple skin than others. This can be seen in your family history, such that if your mother had stretch marks, it makes sense to expect that you will too.
The amount and rate of pregnancy weight gain is a crucial additional factor influencing the chance of developing stretch marks. You become more susceptible to this pregnancy sign if you gain weight quickly. The likelihood of leaving a mark increases as your skin expands fast.
Do Stretch Marks Fade After Pregnancy?
Once the baby arrives, your stretch marks will gradually begin to fade in color and will become much lighter. This could be because the pregnancy skin is much more sensitive than normal. Even so, they will not completely disappear on their own, and you will need some other treatments to completely get rid of them.
Can I Prevent Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks from pregnancy aren’t for everyone. Speak with your healthcare practitioner if you wish to reduce or improve the size and texture of your scars. There are several therapies to think about; which option is most suitable for you can be determined by your doctor.
Stretch marks throughout pregnancy cannot be avoided with any degree of certainty. Start to look at them as contemporary art for your growing baby, and keep your hard-earned money for a postpartum treatment rather than blowing a lot of money on experimental treatments. Even so, there are some things you can do which can minimize the appearance of stretch marks.
What Is Best to Prevent Stretch Marks During Pregnancy?
1. Avoid rapid weight gain
Keeping your weight gain under control is one of the most effective things to do to avoid stretch marks, regardless of whether you are pregnant. When you experience rapid weight gain, your skin tears quickly, and stretch marks will develop. Stretch marks might be noticeable after rapid, significant weight loss. Certain people may get stretch marks during times of fast growth, such as puberty.
Following notable improvements from training or steroid use, they are noticed by many others, like bodybuilders. Your best chance might be to try to prevent bodily changes from occurring too soon. Eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly to assist with weight maintenance. It could be a smart idea to see your doctor to see why you experience sudden weight gain or reduction, especially during pregnancy.
Slowly and methodically gaining weight during pregnancy is among the best strategies to help avoid stretch marks because quickly gaining weight is one of the causes of them. If you eat a healthy diet, it may be easier to overindulge. Follow the standard guidelines for calorie intake while pregnant as closely as you can to assist in ensuring a healthier pregnancy altogether for you and your unborn child.
2. Eat a diet high in nutrients
If you don’t get enough nutrition in some areas, stretch marks could also develop. It might beneficial to consume a healthy diet that improves skin health. Make certain to eat foods high in:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Protein, zinc, and vitamin E
Choosing natural foods in a variety of colors is one method to ensure you’re getting a diversity of nutrients. A meal of eggs, whole wheat toast, and mixed berries, for instance, brings a lot of colors and a range of nutrients to your table.
Keep yourself hydrated
Enough water consumption may maintain your skin hydrated and soft. When compared to dry skin, stretch marks don’t show up as often on hydrated skin. The Institute of Medicine’s most recent recommendations for daily consumption of water are 3.7 litres for men or 2.12 litres for women.
Coffee and other caffeinated drinks may actually increase the chances of stretch marks. If you drink coffee, make sure to balance your fluid intake by drinking lots of water, herbs, and other beverages devoid of caffeine.
Increase your intake of vitamin C
Your skin remains elastic and robust thanks in part to collagen. It aids in minimizing wrinkles, but it can also be crucial for avoiding stretch marks. A crucial essential for the growth of collagen is vitamin C. Many fruits and vegetables contain vitamin C. Oranges and lemons, two citrus fruits, are particularly excellent providers of vitamin C.
Absorb some vitamin D
Stretch marks occur more commonly when vitamin D levels are low, according to a study. As per experimental research results, stretch marks might be less likely to emerge if you maintain good levels of vitamin D. The greatest way to get vitamin D is to be outdoors in the sunlight.The vitamin is frequently included in foods like cereal, bread, and dairy goods like milk or yogurt.
Consume meals high in zinc
An essential vitamin for healthy skin is zinc. It participates in the healing of wounds and aids in reducing inflammation. Although there is little proof to date that zinc causes stretch marks, eating foods high in zinc, such as nuts and fish, can help you maintain good skin.
3. Treat any new stretch marks as soon as they appear
If you can’t completely avoid getting stretch marks, you may try to lessen their visibility so they won’t be as obvious over time. If you have recent stretch marks, arrange a visit with your physician or a dermatologist to go over your choices. Your doctor can help you determine what is causing your stretch marks and may be able to recommend treatments that are most effective for fresh stretch marks.
4. Massage and nourish your skin
Applying a stretch mark balm or cream to your legs, waist, and belly won’t harm you. Although the proof is far from conclusive, some research revealed that compositions with the herb Centella or hyaluronic acid might help avoid stretch marks and also improve skin health.
No reliable research has established the efficacy of cocoa butter, olive and almond oil, vitamin E, or coconut oil in avoiding stretch marks. However, some research has indicated that these, along with other anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant plant compounds, help to heal wounds and restore skin’s elasticity and barrier while also hydrating the skin. Daily moisturizing will at the very least help with the rough, itchy skin that comes with pregnancy.
To get the most benefit from moisturizer, apply it earlier in your pregnancy and gently rub it in. Some experts believe that the effectiveness of stretch mark creams may come from the rubbing process rather than the active ingredients.
Throughout your pregnancy, continue using the stretch mark cream or lotion of your choice because any improvements from these treatments will probably take a long time before they reduce stretch marks.
Keep on taking your daily supplement to ensure that you receive enough of the different minerals that are good for your skin and for the growth of your unborn kid.
Consuming a lot of vitamin C-rich foods, such as strawberries, citrus fruits, and peppers, may also help to prevent stretch marks on your skin. Vitamin C promotes the development of collagen as well as other connective tissues, keeping skin soft and having the potential to soothe skin.
Having enough vitamin D in the diet may also assist with stretch marks; however, this is far from proven to have an effect. It surely can’t harm. Take advantage of the abundance of vitamin D as well as other prenatal nutrients and vitamins in fatty fish, yolks, enriched dairy products, and dairy alternatives.
5. Be patient
Stretch marks gradually lessen and fade on their own when given enough time. However, if your worries persist after giving birth, speak with your dermatologist about additional therapies. Although none of these treatments can completely remove stretch marks, they can all lessen their visibility:
- Retinol or retinoid creams on prescribed medication have been shown to be effective. Vitamin A is the source of retinol. Its capacity to enhance wrinkles, skin texture and skin hydrated levels make it a common element in over-the-counter (OTC) anti-aging beauty products. These particular retinoids have been demonstrated to successfully treat stretch marks by aiding in the skin’s collagen regrowth. Before you observe any effects from retinol creams, you may need to use them consistently for at least six months. Possible adverse effects include dry skin, irritation, discoloration, and photosensitivity. Consult your doctor to find out if using them while nursing is safe.
- Laser skin resurfacing can be classified as surgery. Your medical professional shines brief, intense, pulsed beams of light on the stretch marks. Your skin’s layers are carefully removed with the help of a laser, which allows the formation of new collagen fibers within the skin, and this improves the smoothness of your skin. Following surgery, you ought to see a difference right away. Your skin will continue to improve for one year, and the improvement might stick around for a while. A few possible adverse effects include milia, irritation, black spots on your skin, as well as light spots on the skin.
- Chemical peels.
- Surgery is a sort of dermabrasion. Your medical professional removes your stretch marks using a specialist tool. Your skin’s shape is improved, and new skin is produced that is smooth. Your skin won’t likely recover for at minimum two weeks. After a couple of months, you should fully and completely notice the outcomes of the operation. Possible adverse effects include milia, hyper- or hypopigmentation, edoema, and acne breakouts.
- Microneedling. Your healthcare professional will jab your skin with tiny needles during micro-needling. To make your skin cells firm, minute punctures encourage the development of new collagen fibers. To begin seeing improvements, most patients require three to six sessions. Some people get comprehensive, long-lasting improvements in just four to six months. However, it can take longer. Possible side effects include skin flaking, edoema, burning, and inflammation.
- Even though you may have needed a solution earlier, wait to use these techniques after pregnancy. None of these are believed to be safe during pregnancy.
Know That You Are Not Alone
Fortunately, stretch marks usually disappear after pregnancy. Stretch marks are a type of scarring; therefore, they may not totally disappear, and the fading will take some time. Keep in mind that caring for a baby inside your tummy often results in stretch marks, which are normal and frequent. During pregnancy, your body will unavoidably alter, and that is normal, necessary, and perfectly acceptable. Remember that you’re not the only one experiencing this because every pregnant woman goes through it at some point.