What are Stretchmarks in Pregnancy
You’re in your first trimester and is anxious to know how to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy. After all, your mum and sisters are all victims of those unsightly lines and it’s inevitable you’re worried. Are your genes stacked against you? Are you doomed to live with those stretch marks while being pregnant with the little one?
Now before you start getting paranoid, here’s the reality. More than 1/2 of all pregnant mums get stretch marks during the course of their pregnancy. In fact, there are situations where up to 90% of ladies surveyed have stretch marks during their gestation period.
Stretch marks develop when the skin is stretched too fast to support the growing fetus. They are actually small tears in the elastin fiber network that support the skin and allow it to stretch. They may vary based on one’s skin color and texture. Women of darker color are likely to have lines in a lighter shade whereas lighter toned ladies’ stretch marks tend to be reddish or pinkish.
It’s common to find stretch marks appearing on body areas such as the upper thighs, breasts, buttocks or hips during the 3rd or 4th trimesters as that’s the period when the tummy starts expanding. Though they don’t cause any pain or harm and will eventually subside over time, women are conscious of them as these lines can be rather unsightly. Who wants to wear bikinis with stretch marks?
Who Gets Stretch Marks?
It has long been suspected that one’s genes’ have a part to play. The truth is since stretch marks are caused by a lack of elasticity in one’s skin and that itself has a connection to one’s genetic makeup, you’re likely to develop severe stretch marks during your pregnancy if your mother did.
Other factors have to be considered too. For example, you’re more likely to get stretch marks if you’re conceiving twins or triplets. That’s because your tummy will grow much larger than ladies with single births. The same applies if your baby is big.
Extra Weight gain During Pregnancy
The extra weight you gain during your pregnancy and the speed in which you acquire it can also increase your likelihood of getting stretch marks. Our skin is pretty elastic and can handle quite a substantial amount of stretching. But if it gets rather drastic at a very fast speed, stretch marks occurrence is very likely.
Here’s a summary of other factors that you’re likely to develop stretch marks :
- If you’re already overweight before your pregnancy or have increased quite a substantial amount of weight rapidly during the period
- If you’ve got a history of stretch marks development (such as during your puberty, or in a prior pregnancy etc)
- If you’re not as well hydrated or nourished
Dealing with Stretch Marks During Your Pregnancy
Cream and Oils
There are a wide variety of creams, oils, and lotions that claim to prevent stretch marks. You may even have friends or fellow mums-to-be recommending a particular brand of cocoa butter, copper-related creams etc. While some women swear by them, most of these off the shelf products aren’t clinically proven. Though they seem to be a popular and easy answer to people’s query on how to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy.
That said, it certainly doesn’t hurt to give your baby a warm and comforting massage. Besides, most of these creams have a great moisturizing effect that keeps your skin supple and fresh. More importantly, however, you will also feel assured knowing that you’ve done what you can to prevent stretch marks. That has a tremendous psychological effect on your general well being.
Another preventive measure is to monitor your diet and only gain the amount of weight recommended. Which averages between 24 to 35 pounds. Such recommendations are usually based on numerous considerations such as your current weight, the size of your baby, your medical history and so on. By controlling your weight gain in different phases of your pregnancy, you prepare your skin for the stretching and hence lessen the likelihood of developing stretch marks.
Be Hydrated and Exercise
Besides adhering to the weight gain restrictions, another 2 ways to lessen your chances of getting stretch marks is to stay well hydrated and exercise frequently. Drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day will not only keep your skin and body moisturized, it flushes out your bodily toxins. Which is great for your general health as well.
You can also get those enriched beverages such as Calc Fluor 6X, which contains an added elasticity salt and other nutrients great for you and your baby. Regular maternity exercise also helps tone up your skin and keeps it firmer. Firmer skin is healthier, more stretchable and hence less likely to develop stretch marks.
That’s all. Hope these tips help to answer your questions on how to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy!