Pregnancy Stretch Marks

Preventing stretch marks during pregnancy

Stretch marks are a common yet bothersome feature of pregnancy for more than half of all women, and there is a world of creams and potions to help them deal with this. Find out about the measures you can take to prevent stretch marks in pregnancy and what you can do to get rid of them.

Preventing Stretch Marks during Pregnancy

Whether stretch marks appear in the first or last trimester, the clue to their formation lies in their name. When a lot of weight is gained quickly, as in pregnancy, the tiny fibers in your skin will tear as they stretch beyond their normal range. You're left with small, smooth stripes of scar tissue on your stomach, thighs, buttocks and breasts that vary in color depending on your skin tone. Since these marks are essentially small scars, it will be much easier to prevent stretch marks than to remove them.

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Although there is a genetic element to stretch marks during pregnancy, a healthy diet can help to improve the elasticity of skin and allow it to stretch more freely. A diet rich in vitamins A, C and E will encourage the growth of collagen in the skin, and prenatal vitamins should give your diet the boost that it needs. The more water you drink, the easier your skin will stretch in periods of growth, and the better its chances of returning to its original condition.

Any pharmacy or specialty store will carry an ample amount of creams and oils that are specifically designed to prevent stretch marks, but they all have one thing in common—the ability to restore moisture. Any good moisturizer will be helpful in the fight against pregnancy stretch marks, particularly if it's fortified with certain vitamins and minerals. A stretch mark cream with collagen-boosting vitamins, emu oil or cocoa butter can be applied twice daily to exfoliated skin in order to prevent stretch marks from forming while your body grows.

How to Get Rid of Stretch Marks

Despite your best efforts, chances are you will emerge from your pregnancy with a stretch mark or two. Depending on the area and the severity of the stretch marks, there are some methods to minimize their appearance, such as exfoliation and moisturizing. You can make a homemade exfoliating formula with some oatmeal or baking soda, or use a gentle store-bought scrub to slough off the dead skin, revealing a smoother layer with a more uniform appearance.

The connection between stretch marks and vitamin E seems to go beyond prevention: many people believe that its admirable healing properties can drastically reduce the appearance of stretch marks. Concentrated vitamin E capsules will provide the greatest benefit, but don't expect that it will make every mark disappear. For very deep, prominent or established scars, you may need to consider laser surgery for stretch marks. Like other types of cosmetic laser surgery, this can be an expensive method and it may be somewhat painful.