Stretch marks are one among the various changes your body undergoes during pregnancy. Around 43-88% chances of developing stretch marks during pregnancy.1
Most of the times, they are undesirable and many mothers seek ways to prevent them from occurring while others carry them proudly as a sign of motherhood. They are also a proof of the extent to which your body can change to nourish and develop a human in the sanctum of your womb.
What Causes Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks can develop during 13 or 21 weeks of gestation as pink or purple streaks across the belly, thighs, buttocks, back, and breasts. Stretch marks appear when your body grows faster and your skin isn’t able to stretch as quickly. This leads to tears in the layers of tissue beneath the skin, resulting in stretch marks. Sometimes, itching and stretchy skin are preceding signs of stretch marks.
Gaining too much pregnancy weight is a common reason for stretch marks. There has been no proven or effective treatment for stretch marks. Some women who applied bio-oil from day one of their pregnancy claim that they developed little to no stretch marks by the end of 9 months.
4 Factors That Decide Whether You Will Get Stretch Marks
1. Genetic Factor
You are most likely to develop stretch marks if your mother had them during her pregnancy. It is the skin quality and elasticity that you inherit from your mother’s side, which determines whether you will develop them or not.2
2. Unhealthy Weight Gain
Mothers are always advised to gain their pregnancy weight at a healthy rate. The average weight gain during pregnancy should be between 25-30 pounds. If the mother gains too much weight too quickly, her body, especially the skin may not be able to keep up with it. Weight gain of more than 15 kilograms is likely to cause stretch marks.3
Have a nutritious diet and keep a check on the proportion of the food you eat and your daily calorie intake. Exercising will help you stay fit while drinking 8-10 glasses of water daily will keep your skin healthy.
3. Stretch Marks And Age
When you are younger, your skin is smoother and more firm—but as you age, the elasticity reduces and the skin doesn’t remain as tight to get stretched and tear. Younger mothers are likely to develop stretch marks—researches have shown that teenage mothers develop severe stretch marks as compared to women who become pregnant after 30 years of age.4
4. Previous Occurrence Of Stretch Marks
If you developed stretch marks as a teenager or during your previous pregnancies, there is a higher chance that you will have them the next time too. The reason is simple—your skin is more prone to stretch marks and it could also result in itching or deepening of the already present marks.
Ways To Prevent Stretch Marks
You may not have much control over them if they are genetic. However, you can prevent the marks from deepening or itching and reduce their severity, here is how.
1. Moisturise your skin more often. Some women apply shea butter, cocoa butter and bio-oil to prevent stretch marks, but, no creams or medications can really prevent them.
2. Watch your weight gain during pregnancy—don’t gobble your food, instead eat more frequently and in small proportions.
3. Vitamin C is good for your skin—an antioxidant that prevents damage to your skin, it also contributes to the production of collagen. Include more of it in your diet.
If you are planning for a laser therapy to remove those stretch marks, keep it for later as it isn’t safe during pregnancy. Above all, don’t feel distressed about your body aesthetics, your marks are the reminders of your incredible pregnancy journey.