Because your skin has to expand to make room for your growing baby and uterus, you will inevitably develop stretch marks throughout pregnancy. Stretch marks are a common side effect of pregnancy, although not every mom has them. You can think of them as a memory of your tiny baby as they grow in your belly or as a badge of honor for your hard work during pregnancy. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about getting stretch marks during pregnancy.
What are Pregnancy Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks form when the skin is unable to keep up with the rapid expansion of the body. As a result, the elastic fibers just under the skin's surface become torn that result in stretch marks. Common misconception has it that gaining weight during pregnancy causes these streaks, but the truth is that your skin stretches as hormone levels fluctuate. Stretch marks are a common side effect of pregnancy, and they can appear on anyone, regardless of how much weight they gain.
During the nine months of pregnancy, you put on around 30 pounds. Stretch marks are a common side effect of rapid growth, particularly noticeable around the belly area and breasts. Thighs, buttocks, and upper arms are just a few of the other likely areas where stretch marks appear. Stretch marks may appear red or purple at first, but typically fade to white or gray after delivery.
So, Who Gets Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks are common during pregnancy, but anyone with rapidly expanding skin, including men and women who are not expecting, can get them. Depending on the color of the person's skin, these streaky depressions could be pink, red, purple, or brown.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, almost 90% of women will develop them after the sixth or seventh month of pregnancy. Since heredity plays a part, if your mother had stretch marks, you are more likely to get them as well. Stretch marks tend to appear pinkish on those with lighter skin tones. Women with darker skin tones are more likely to develop stretch marks of a lighter hue than their skin.
If you get pregnant early, use corticosteroids during pregnancy, gain more weight quickly, and have genetic disorders like Cushing’s syndrome, it’s highly likely that you will develop pregnancy stretch marks.
Can Stretch Marks Be Prevented?
This is the most important question, and the reason why you’re probably reading this article. The bad news is stretch mark prevention is impossible. There is no magic lotion, potions, or balm that can accomplish that. To a certain extent, visible belly lines can be reduced by using a belly cream, which works by moisturizing the skin.
However, using a thick lotion or cream to moisturize your skin is a wise choice, especially if doing so helps relieve the itching that often comes with pregnancy. Staying hydrated with water is also beneficial. So, don't just rely it all on creams to lighten the stretch marks! Make sure to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate to keep stretch marks at bay.
Will You Have Stretch Marks in the First Trimester?
Stretch marks are a normal part of pregnancy, and while they may emerge at any time, they are more common in the second half. As your belly expands, the skin beneath it is subjected to increased tension.
Stretch marks may appear in the second trimester for some mothers but not for others until the third trimester. And then there are the lucky ones who do not get stretch marks at all! While it's true that over half of expecting mothers will end up with stretch marks, it's also true that many women manage to avoid them entirely.
What Can You Do to Reduce Pregnancy Stretch Marks?
A lot of ladies will tell you to be proud of your stretch marks. Many women see their stretch marks as a badge of honor, similar to the tiger stripes of a tiger, for being strong and courageous moms! Of course, if you’d like to minimize their appearance, here are some things you can do:
- Moisturize - A lot of moms find relief from stretch marks on their stomach, hips, and thighs after using a stretch mark cream and massaging it into the affected areas. Moisturizer is most beneficial when applied early in pregnancy and massaged in gently.
- Eat the right food - It has been suggested that a diet high in vitamin C, such as that found in citrus fruits and strawberries, can reduce the likelihood of stretch marks appearing on the skin. Since vitamin C stimulates the growth of collagen and tissues, it aids in the maintenance of firm, healthy skin.
- Gain weight slowly - Rapid weight gain leads to stretch marks. While it's normal to gain weight in pregnancy, it's best to do so gradually to reduce the risk of stretch marks.
- Use creams - Although belly creams can’t prevent the creation of stretch marks on your pregnant tummy or other areas of your body, they may be able to decrease the visibility of these marks after pregnancy.
There is currently no foolproof method to avoid or treat stretch marks during pregnancy. However, there are measures you may do and treatments you can explore to lessen the likelihood of developing stretch marks during pregnancy. You're developing a little wonder within your body, so try to take as much joy in the process as possible, despite common pregnancy symptoms like stretch marks.