Pregnancy does come with a lot of changes, and the appearance of stretch marks during pregnancy is one. The appearance of stretch marks during pregnancy occurs in roughly 90 percent of pregnant women. So, if you have postnatal stretch marks, you need not worry as you are not in this alone. In this content, we will explain what causes stretch marks during pregnancy and possible treatments.
What are Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks are narrow streaks, stripes, or lines that develop on the skin. Anyone can actually develop stretch marks, although they tend to be more common in women than men. Stretch marks may appear when the skin is suddenly stretched. They can appear on a range of body parts, including the stomach, thighs, hips, breasts, upper arms, and lower back. According to research, women having a larger belly circumference, a higher body mass index prior to pregnancy, and more weight gain are more susceptible. In addition, stretch marks normally appear in the final trimester, during the sixth or seventh month for the majority of pregnant women. Stretch marks can appear as soon as a pregnant woman’s abdomen begins to develop in rare situations.
Causes Of Stretch Marks During Pregnancy
The appearance of stretch marks during pregnancy can be as a result of a lot of reasons, which include:
- Hormones: During pregnancy, changes in hormone levels play a role in stimulating the production of stretch marks.
- Physical stretching: During the second trimester of pregnancy, the skin expands rapidly, and weight fluctuates. The skin around the abdomen, buttocks, and thighs does not have enough time to adjust because the changes are sudden. The skin’s surface ruptures as a result of this.
- Elastin and collagen: These are two proteins that play an important role in creating and maintaining the strength and elasticity of the skin. Elastin and collagen are altered during pregnancy, and as a result, the skin becomes more sensitive.
How to prevent Stretch Marks During Pregnancy
Pregnancy stretch marks are produced by rapid weight gain and skin expansion, as previously stated. However, you may be able to decrease the impact on your body by following specific precautions. Consider the following suggestions:
- Staying well-hydrated
- Eating a balanced diet
- Applying natural topical creams
- Increasing vitamin C intake
- Doing light exercise
- Gently massaging your skin
Although it is hard to entirely eliminate pregnancy stretch marks from your body, a few items can help. Amidst the very few treatments for stretch marks, these three mentioned below can efficiently help neutralize the scars’ visibility, making them less noticeable. However, it’s important to note that they should only be utilized when your body has fully healed and your doctor has given you the go-ahead.
- Laser Therapy: Studies suggest that laser therapy is one of the most effective stretch mark treatments available. However, laser therapy can be costly, and numerous sessions may be required.
- Retinol cream: This is a product that contains the active ingredient retinol. It is derived from vitamin A and increases the creation of collagen, with observable benefits taking up to 4 weeks. Consult a doctor before using this cream, and don’t use it if you’re pregnant.
- Microdermabrasion: This is also known as micro-needling, and it’s a procedure that involves removing the top layer of skin with aluminum oxide crystals or other abrasive chemicals. The fresh, scar-free surface beneath is revealed.
The appearance of stretch marks during pregnancy is inevitable as only a few pregnant women don’t end up with them. However, if you are one of the majority who has them, you’re not alone and do not have to feel sad or worried. Even when stretch marks can affect physical appearance to some extent, they do not negatively affect your health, so that should be a relief. And since stretch marks are a form of scarring, they can never be completely removed from the skin. However, they have been known to fade over time, and some treatments may make them less noticeable. There are lots of stretch mark creams specially designed for pregnant women, but it is important to see your doctor before opting for one.
Although pregnancy stretch marks tend to be very apparent in the final trimester, they may slowly begin to fade after delivery. In fact, you may even see them turning a bit lighter in color on their own.