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Can Stretch Marks Really Be Prevented When You are Pregnant?

By Published On: March 20th, 2012

Most pregnant ladies have a number of image concerns concerns about how their bodies will be changed both during pregnancy and after they have given birth. One of the biggest of those tends to be whether or not they will develop stretch marks and what they might be able to do to prevent them.

What are Stretch Marks?

Stretch marks are depressed streaks in the skin, usually relatively small, that are left behind as a result of larger amounts of weight gain (or serious weight loss) They are a result of damage to the elastic supportive tissue that lies just under the skin caused by rapid changes in weight.

Over time stretch marks will usually fade somewhat. Those that begin as a livid purple or brown – depending on your natural skin tone – will eventually take on a more subtle appearance in many cases and often in as little as six to twelve months. But once stretch marks are there they will never quite disappear, even if you opt for expensive cosmetic surgery.

Who Will Develop Stretch Marks During Pregnancy?

About half of all pregnant ladies will develop at least a few stretch marks over the course of their pregnancy. The stretch marks that are a result of pregnancy weight gain usually develop right on the belly but some ladies also develop them on their thighs, buttocks and even their breasts.

Whether or not you personally develop stretch marks as your pregnancy progresses is not something that is easily predicted. Some clinical research studies have seemed to suggest that to a certain extent the tendency may be genetic – so if your Mum or sisters developed stretch marks during their pregnancies than your chances of doing so may be increased.

Other studies have also suggested that younger Mums are more likely to develop stretch marks, especially younger mums to be in their teens. Mums carrying multiples or those who gain a lot of weight quickly are also prone to developing more stretch marks although again that tendency will vary from Mum to be to Mum to be.

How Can I Prevent Stretch Marks?

If someone could invent a magic cream or potion that could guarantee that a pregnant lady would not develop stretch marks if they used it then they would make a fortune! Although there are claims that certain products do just that they really do not.

There are some things that people have tried that may be effective though, in lessening the appearance of stretch marks if not preventing them altogether. Some studies have suggested that rubbing a vitamin E based serum or cream over the abdomen whilst pregnant can help prevent stretch marks while other people swear that cocoa butter helped them avoid stretch marks but it has not performed as well in research studies as Vitamin E has.

If you are going to use Vitamin E as a stretch mark prevention tool do look carefully at all the ingredients in any creams you might be considering. Many skincare products contain Vitamin A as well and while a pregnant lady needs some Vitamin A she does not need too much and applying topical Vitamin A during pregnancy is something that doctors advise against as an excess of Vitamin a can be toxic.

One tip I have heard from many doctors is that if want to be sure that all you are using is Vitamin E – and probably save some money too – then you could go to the health food store, buy the kinds of Vitamin E capsules that contain a Vitamin E oil in a capsule and then break open the capsules and massage the liquid into your skin (or have your other half do it for a nice relaxing treat for you)

Can You Get Rid of Stretch Marks?

Right now even the finest and most expensive plastic surgeons in the world do not have a technique that will “get rid” of stretch marks entirely but their are some procedures and medications that can lessen their appearance.

A dermatologist may offer a topical medication and some laser treatments can help restore some of the affected skin’s elasticity resulting in stretch marks that are less obvious. These are all cosmetic treatments though and as such are not at all inexpensive!

These are a few of the things you can do to help lessen the appearance of stretch marks or even maybe how many you get. Its worth remembering though that there is an upside to pregnancy related stretch marks – they are your badge of honor in a way for achieving the amazing feat of bringing a new life until the world. Therefore stretch marks are never anything you should be ashamed of!