One of the most common concerns during pregnancy is gaining stretch marks. Also known as striae distensae, these are indented streaks on your skin that appear on the thighs, bottom, hips, chest, and stomach. They are either red, purple, or silver that does not only develop during pregnancy.
Let us break down what causes them and ways on how to avoid stretch marks in pregnancy. Keep in mind that stretch marks are not only developed from pregnancy. There are other risk factors such as having a family history of stretch marks, being overweight, gaining or losing weight quickly, or having breast augmentation, to name a few.
When stretch marks in pregnancy start to develop?
There are tons of changes in your life from the moment you learn you are pregnant. Once you give birth, you have to deal with your new sleeping schedule, exhaustion, and the physical changes happening in your body.
Pregnant women complained about the itchiness and tightness of their skin during pregnancy. That’s when you’ll notice the lines starting to appear. About 50 – 90% of women develop stretch marks in pregnancy, so if you start noticing these silver streaks on your skin, don’t worry because you are not alone.
What are the Reasons for Stretch Marks in Pregnancy?
Do you know that you can gain at least thirty pounds when you’re pregnant? Stretch marks occur when your body is growing faster than your skin. When your skin can’t keep up, the elastic fibers under the surface break, leaving you with stretch marks from your belly to your breasts. You will also find them on your thighs, upper arms, and buttocks.
There are also hormones to blame. Hormones bring water to the skin more than it needs. This water relaxes the skin and makes it easier to tear when stretched.
How to Avoid Stretch Marks in Pregnancy?
Avoiding stretch marks in pregnancy can be difficult or almost impossible. But here are ways on how to reduce the risk or lessen their appearance on your body.
- Watch out for your weight. One of the leading causes of stretch marks is gaining weight faster than you should be. Instead, keep an eye on the scale and gain weight steadily. Just because you have a growing baby inside you does not mean you have to eat twice as much. You might want to check the recommended calorie intake during pregnancy.
- Keep your body hydrated all the time. Keep your skin hydrated and soft by drinking enough water. Having softer skin reduces the risk of stretch marks compared to having dry skin. Try to avoid caffeinated beverages unless you can balance them out with your caffeine-free fluid intake.
- Eat nutritious food in your diet. You develop stretch marks when you lack nutrition in some areas. Your diet must include food rich in vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, zinc, and protein. Vitamin C helps build collagen that keeps your skin elastic and reduces the appearance of wrinkles. Eat more citrus fruits and vegetables in your every meal.
- Treat fresh stretch marks right away. You can focus on fading these stretch marks by discussing with your doctor or dermatologist the different treatments available and what would be the best for you. In-office treatment includes lasers that heat the skin, boosting collagen growth and shrinking dilated blood vessels. There are also gentler procedures such as dermabrasion that help renew the skin.
The Best Stretch Mark Creams for Pregnancy
We’ve come up with a list of the best stretch mark creams for pregnancy. Remember, when choosing the right stretch mark cream, avoid creams with harmful ingredients such as phthalates and parabens.
These are the most recommended and most effective in the market.
Burt’s Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter
Overall, this is the best stretch mark cream to get. It is fragrance-free, so it will be safe and effective. It consists of naturally hydrating cocoa, shea, and jojoba butter that nourishes your belly before, during, and after pregnancy. It also helps your stretched skin recover. It has EWG scores of 2.
This oil is a best-seller when it comes to stretch mark oil for pregnancy. Clinically proven and dermatologically tested, it can treat scars, stretch marks, or dull, aging skin. As your belly gets bigger, Bio Oil adds the much-needed moisture to your skin and aid restoration during postpartum. Bio oil has a EWG score of
Pipette Belly Butter
If you are looking for a hypoallergenic, free from synthetic fragrance and EWG verified, Pipette belly butter is your best choice. Since it does not contain fragrance, some people may not like the scent but aside from that, this product help reduce the appearance of stretch marks and retain your skin’s moisture.
Palmer’s Cocoa Butter
If you enjoy a soft massage in pregnancy, consider Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Massage Lotion for Stretch Marks. It is highly rated for its special skin-strengthening formula, as well as its shea butter and cocoa smell. Palmer’s cocoa butter has a EWG scores of 5.
Note: Understand the EWG scores
Stretch marks in pregnancy will be around for a bit even after giving birth, but they won’t stay so obvious forever. Once the baby arrives, they start to fade, making them less noticeable with a silver, gray color.
You may choose to cure them with various treatments available right now, or you may also embrace them – wear them as a badge of motherhood. This is how our babies are leaving the marks of their soul on you.
How do you treat your stretch marks? Share your experience in the comment box below.
4 thoughts on “Stretch Marks in Pregnancy”
This is such an informative article, especially for new mother’s who weren’t taught all the ins and outs of pregnancy as well as some others were. Several of my friends that have already had children swear by Palmer’s Body Butter and it’s a bonus that is smells really good to. I will look into the other three options you have recommended as well and be sure to keep them in mine for either myself or for friends who may be getting pregnant soon.
I am glad that you found it helpful, Rachel. Really appreciate your comment.
This Bio-oil seems to be a good solutions. Several friends (2 at least) have suggested it, and now you do too. I’ll try it to add this needed moisture. In my book, the best way to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy is to use a specially formulated Stretch Marks Cream or Stretch Marks Oil. I hope I don’t get to many, LOL! Thank you for giving us all these options.
Yes, i love Bio oil as most of the mothers do. My stretch marks was obvious especially on my lower belly during my third trimester but after using Bio oil for few months after child birth, I am glad that it helps to reduce the appearance and become less noticeable now.