Stretch Marks During Pregnancy

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Stretch marks are a really common feature of pregnancy, that affect more than three-quarters of pregnant women.

They’re characterised by purple/pink lines that appear on the skin, which will fade to a silvery colour over time.

In pregnancy, stretch marks tend to develop anywhere where the skin is stretched – most commonly occurring in the abdomen, thighs and breasts.

There’s a range of treatments that claim to minimise the effects of stretch marks, but very few of them actually work so if you’re experiencing them, don’t delay. Speak to a doctor today.

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What Causes Stretch Marks During Pregnancy?

When the skin is stretched due to rapid changes in weight, it causes the middle layer (also known as the ‘dermis’) to tear.

This exposes the blood vessels underneath, leading to the deep red colour typical of stretch marks when they first appear. When these retract, they leave a layer of fat underneath the skin visible, which is what causes their silvery colour.

Stretch marks affect most women to some extent during pregnancy, but there are several factors that can put you at risk of developing them, including:

  • Large changes in body weight
  • A family history of stretch marks
  • Pale skin
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Preventing stretch marks during pregnancy

There's several simple steps you can take to help prevent stretch marks:

Drink water: Stay well hydrated before, during and after the pregnancy

Eat healthy: Foods rich in antioxidants, vitamins and foods that contain omega 3s (although you should steer clear of foods with large amounts of vitamins A and/or E)

Exercise: This helps by not letting you gain baby weight too fast & keeps your skin supple

Watch what you eat: Consume more calories, but don’t “eat for two”. Fast weight gain is the biggest factor in pregnancy stretch marks.

Oils and Creams:  Use specifically-made creams and oils for pregnant women

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Treating Stretch Marks During Pregnancy

While the appearance of stretch marks tends to fade over time, this isn’t enough for some people.

Often, women looking to lose their stretch marks after pregnancy will turn to creams and ointments. However, in most cases – these are little more than moisturisers.

While they may help deal with localised irritation or itching, there’s not much chance that they’ll be able to prevent them from cropping up or cause them to fade more quickly.

Laser therapy is sometimes used by those with highly visible stretch marks and can reduce their appearance. Cosmetic surgery can also be used to minimise their appearance, however, this isn’t recommended due to the possibility of scarring and other complications.

If you’re looking for expert medical advice on dealing with your stretch marks, speak to a doctor online now.

Our GPs can provide tailored advice on tackling stretch marks and highlight what products are likely to be a waste of money when it comes to minimising their visibility.

See a Doctor About Stretch Marks