Stretch marks during pregnancy are among the most common things we have learned to live with. However, we all must also know that not every pregnant woman needs to get marks. Specific reasons cause the stretch marks in pregnancy, and it is also possible equally to prevent them. The bodily changes that occur at this beautiful point in time in every women’s life are natural. But it is all about learning about them, embracing them, and finding out what can be undone and what is still good to go with.
Now, if you are wondering how to go about with them? Let us help you out and explain to you all about the science behind pregnancy stretch marks. Let’s get started!
What is Stretch Marks, and Is Stretch Marks Normal During Pregnancy?
The stretch marks are visible significantly during 13 weeks on the way to 21 weeks of Pregnancy. As soon as your skin bounces, it inclines to divide into specific areas, the level of collagen and new skin cells are reduced, supporting the creation of stretch marks. During pregnancy, the body grows sooner than the skin (1). This results in stretch marks as the fibers under your skin surface begin to break. The color of the stretch marks is purplish streak-like or narrow pink outlines which grow on the exterior of the skin. They are also recognized as striae or stria. In most cases, the black stretch marks during pregnancy are found on your breast, butt, tummy, upper arm, hips, and upper thighs and also on the breast.
What Causes Stretch Marks During Pregnancy:
The stretch marks are tiny tears in the secondary coats of tissue below your skin. The most commonly known causes behind the creation of stretch marks on a pregnant belly and body are as follows (2).
If you do not have an active lifestyle, then it can lead to stretch marks too.
In most cases, it can go back to genetics too. If your close family members have stretch marks, most likely, you will also experience them during pregnancy.
Fast weight gain during Pregnancy is also responsible for catching stretch marks.
Hormonal changes that take place during pregnancy can also lead to stretch marks.
In most cases, the stretch marks appear after the second trimester or at the last second trimester. Several women begin to develop these marks around the second to the third trimester or in late pregnancy, then of early one. The weight gain, hormonal changes, and lifestyle gradually start to mark the stretch marks on our body’s most common parts, such as the belly, legs, ribs, back, waist, thighs, hips, and breasts.
How to Prevent and Avoid Stretch Marks in Pregnancy:
Now, here we are telling you some essential tips that are helpful for you to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy. In no way, complete prevention may be possible in most cases; however, a few tricks and changes can help prevent and avoid pregnancy time effects (3, 4). However, studies are sparse and scientific results are not great, which exhibits that such prevention can be entirely possible.
How to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy? The tips are as follows:
1. Moisturize Your Skin with Oil:
During Pregnancy, apply a good moisturizer on the lower back, tummy, hips, upper arm, legs, and thighs in a circular motion to move in deep sufficient into the skin. Use different oils like castor oil, coconut oil, till oil, or sesame oil to massage the skin. Cocoa butter is also a practical option. Thus, in your Pregnancy, mildly massage the areas is a good idea to match up with significant skin changes, weight gain, and managing elasticity in tissues. This is the most common home remedies as well for stretch marks during pregnancy.
2. Drinking Water:
Retain your body well hydrated. In the pregnancy period, your blood level is raised, and you also have to hydrate your baby too. There is a great demand for water. Hydration plays an essential role in ideal skin elasticity. It is advised to get 8 to 13 glasses of water per day. If you feel tired, dry throat or lips, absence of concentration, and headaches then, these are the symptoms you are dehydrated.
3. Eat Vitamin Rich Foods:
Vitamin C, A, and E are well required for your skin. Nurture your skin as of the inside. Vitamin C foods benefit you to retain your skin toned plus less focus to stretch marks. Whereas vitamin A supports skin muscle healing, vitamin E helps keep the skin membranes intact. Overall, it helps in weight control and good immunity too.
4. Perform Exercises:
Workout like Pilates benefits your skin to preserve its bounciness, controls and raises movement in the body, then benefits you to inhale extra oxygen. So, it helps your skin to make it more, and thus, stretch marks are diminished or well in control.
5. Lookout Your Weight:
Consume your food in moderation but not too much. Only eat advised caloric intake in Pregnancy. Healthy food, good nutrients, high in fiber can indeed help out in this process.
6. Creams and Modalities:
However, fewer scientific studies claim that specific treatments can help control or prevent stretch marks or striae. Natural herbs or medicines like Centella, almond oil, Hyaluronic acid, glycolic are known to manage the condition to an extent.
Remedies to Reduce Stretch Marks After Pregnancy:
Specific handful remedies are possible to cure or reduce the intensity of stretch marks after the pregnancy period. While these remedies’ effect does not remain the same on every woman, they are definitely worth a try! Here is how to remove pregnancy stretch marks.
1. Essential oils and creams:
The goodness of essential oils, particularly almond oil, olive oils, and those which have vitamin E within them, are useful and beneficial. These essential oils for stretch marks during pregnancy can help reduce the intensity. However, not every woman can see the exact changes; for instance, there are equally studies that assert that olive oil is not beneficial for everyone to reduce the marks (5).
Further, as per the famous advice, creams such as shea butter and cocoa butter available in several medicinal and drug store shops are helpful to lessen the stretch marks. They help to keep the skin moisturized well and hydrated.
2. Nutrient diet:
How about overall good food? Nutrient diet definitely may not stop the weight gain (remember, the weight gain here is healthy during pregnancy?) but indeed can control it to be slow, steady, just as needed. Foods rich in fiber and proteins can help the body get the right dosage of nutrients, which is ideal for both baby and mother. If you are wondering how to get rid of pregnancy stretch marks and control them, this helps.
3. Foods rich in Vitamin D, C, and Zinc:
The high foods in Zinc and vitamins also help nourish the skin from inside and on the surface layer. Wholesome foods and foods with citrus and peppers reduce the marks and promote collagen and tissue production.
Treatment for Stretch Marks During Pregnancy:
The treatment for heavy stretch marks is also available. However, the idea and aim here are to increase elastic fiber production, reduce inflammation and raise hydration to treat and relieve them (6).
Here are the most common treatments available for stretch marks in pregnancy time.
Over-the-counter cosmeceuticals are popular to reduce the severity and intensity. The cosmetic products and moisturizers mainly aim to reduce the appearance of scars (7). Silicone gels are equally recommended and proved efficient in several cases, too. These medicines effect for stretch marks during pregnancy varies.
Tretinoin cream is quite helpful and beneficial to improve the appearance of heavy scars and stretch marks. These are to be used every day and frequently, and at early stages too. This helps to increase skin cell turnover raises collagen growth. However, breastfeeding mothers should take advice while using them (8).
Chemical peels, laser therapy, or other radiofrequency methods are also used in rare cases for the unwanted and very high issue of stretch marks. These methods aim to reduce the intensity and blend these marks with other skin surfaces (9).
Several lotions and creams are also available as over-the-counter medicines and treatments. Retinoids, glycolic acid, and others are useful to lessen the appearance and also keep at bay with other new marks being formed. However, these creams’ effect on every woman can differ as per the body nature, health conditions, and other factors.
The following are the most common risk factors for developing stretch marks.
Family history and genetics
Overweight than required
Dramatic weight loss after pregnancy
We hope you learned about stretch marks during pregnancy and aftermaths today. The stretch marks are pretty standard for most women; it is essential to make sure that one accepts them and does not go out of the way to eliminate them or lessen the appearance. Any method and remedy should always be discussed with the doctor first.
Consult your physician or gynaecologist and health care provider for personalized suggestions on stretch marks and other skin concerns. No method or medication should be tried out during pregnancy without your health care provider’s advice and recommendation. The content mentioned above in the article is only for knowledge purposes, and we are not responsible for any error.
Yashasvi developed a deep passion for writing ever since she was completed her Master’s in Mass Communication and Journalism from Andhra University, Visakhapatnam and has chosen a career that is driven by creativity. A Parenting expert who believes in communicating effectively with a personal touch, she writes about pregnancy, baby care, lifestyle, and just about anything else.