How to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy
One of the most common consequences pregnancy leaves on a woman’s body is stretch marks. These lines that can appear on the surface of the skin can vary in colour, from pink to brown, and almost 90% of pregnant women will notice them at some point.
But can this be prevented? Is there a way to treat them? All you need to know about stretch marks in pregnancy will be covered in the next few paragraphs, so set just a couple of minutes aside to inform yourself about the best way to deal with this problem.
But first things first - we need to start from the beginning.
What causes stretch marks?
Stretch marks are actually not something only pregnant women have to deal with. They can appear on any body that has grown relatively suddenly. This means they also appear in puberty or when a person puts on a bigger amount of weight.
The reason this problem is so common among expecting mothers is the fact that hormonal changes make the skin (more precisely, their middle skin layer) more susceptible to breaking. This is how stretch marks are formed.
They can appear all over the body: on your thigs, on your belly, your hips, your butt, etc. This is nothing to panic about, but it is an indication that you’re gaining weight relatively quickly. Therefore, you may want to start eating better or exercising more when the stretch marks appear.
Just don’t try denying yourself food when pregnant - a balanced diet is a far more suitable option.
When do stretch marks appear during pregnancy?
Since stretch marks are connected to gaining weight, the moment at which they can appear can vary, but generally speaking, they will begin to show somewhere around the end of the second trimester. Therefore, expect them somewhere around the sixth month of pregnancy.
However, they can also appear sooner than that, so don’t be alarmed if you see them, for example, a month earlier than expected.
As mentioned, most women will have to face this, but some people can avoid stretch marks due to the fact that their skin is more elastic. Either way, you should know that these lines do not impact your health negatively, nor do they cause any serious conditions. It’s more of an aesthetic issue. So what can you do about it?
Treating stretch marks
While they may difficult to avoid during pregnancy, you can expect stretch marks to fade over time. There are, however, many methods you can use to treat this problem and get your skin to tip-top shape much faster. Here are some of your options.
One of the simplest ways not to just deal with stretch marks but to prevent them is a massage. A few minutes twice a day every day should be quite enough to keep your skin nice and healthy. Do start with this early in the pregnancy, however, preferably as soon as you find out you’re with a baby, to help your skin become as elastic as possible.
Use body oil or body lotion during the massage to moisturize your skin. Cradle & Tonic Body Oil, for example, is a great product to have for this particular purpose because it is made of completely natural ingredients that soothe and soften your skin. You can use it on just about any area of your body, and the lovely fragrances will help you relax.
Get your partner to massage you and you will have some very special bonding moments together.
We’ve already mentioned the importance of a healthy diet earlier in the article, but it definitely needs to be mentioned in this part of the text, too. It’s very important to keep your skin hydrated, but there are other things you can it that can help you out a lot.
Vitamin C is one of the most important ingredients your food should have because it helps in maintaining the strength and elasticity of your skin. Therefore, citrus fruit like oranges or mandarines is a great choice, but you can also focus on things like strawberries, and even peppers are an excellent choice.
Eggs, fish and dairy products can be a great source of vitamin D, and you should also try to consume a lot of omega-3 fatty acids.
There’s always the option of covering the stretch marks up with some of the beauty products you have at home if they are on a part of your body that’s visible to others when you go out.
But know that there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of here, and many mothers are actually proud to show their stretch marks as a symbol of their motherhood.
Any skin cream you normally use can help you out too and don’t forget about the body oil we mentioned earlier, as well. Retinoid cream is especially effective if applied on new stretch marks, but you should consult your doctor if you’re pregnant or nursing before using this kind of product.
It is also possible to opt for laser therapy in treating stretch marks, but you have to be aware that this treatment may not be equally effective everywhere. Depending on the colour of your stretch marks, the healing process will be more effective - red or pink striae heal better, whereas old white ones won’t heal as well.
You can also expect this therapy to last a while because you will need to get multiple treatments (usually, four is the average), and you will need to wait a couple of weeks between two sessions. So, it’s not an instant solution.
The bottom line is that you are quite likely to have stretch marks if you’re a pregnant woman, but this aesthetic problem can be treated in a variety of ways. You can also try to prevent it by massaging various parts of your body with Cradle & Tonic Body Oil, or balm that’s safe to use during pregnancy.
In any case, this is not a serious condition and no medical problems can arise from that, although you can view it as a sign that you should switch to a healthier diet.
What trimester do pregnant women develop stretch marks?
In most cases, women develop stretch marks at the end of the second and the beginning of the third trimester. However, they can appear earlier in the pregnancy too, but this is definitely not a cause for alarm. Stretch marks form when somebody gains weight quickly, so if that happens to you let’s say early in the second trimester, don’t be surprised to see them.
What can itchy stretch marks during pregnancy mean?
Stretch marks become itchy primarily because the skin above them get quite dry. This is because the part of the skin that contains a layer of fat and water breaks and the skin loses its moisture.
There are two main causes of this - hormonal imbalance and PUPPP. Hormonal imbalance is one of the main features of pregnancy, and PUPPP (pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy), also known as pregnancy rash. This is also quite harmless and occurs usually in the third trimester. However, be careful not to mistake this for pemphigoid gestationis, a more serious condition.
What causes stretch marks during pregnancy?
Stretch marks appear when your body gains weight abruptly, and this can be helped by the hormonal imbalance during pregnancy. Because the body is growing rapidly, your skin is having trouble keeping up, which is why a layer in it tears if your skin is not flexible enough. Stretch marks are not a serious medical condition and there is no need to panic if you notice them.
Is it possible to get rid of stretch marks after pregnancy?
Yes, and there are several methods you can use. Eating healthy and regular massages every day with gentle body oils to help the skin retain moisture is one approach, but you can also undergo laser therapy and get rid of them that way. Just keep in mind that laser therapy is much more efficient while the stretch marks are still relatively fresh. Of course, you can use beauty products to cover the marks, too.
When do I start using stretch mark creams during pregnancy?
You can start using them as soon as you find out you’re pregnant because that way you may be able to prevent stretch marks from forming in the first place. Just make sure that the cream you’re using is suitable for pregnant women. In short, the earlier you start using the creams, the better!