If you are pregnant, you have probably noticed some long lines or stripes on your skin that may be reddish or purple. These are the dreaded and unwelcome stretch marks. They usually affect areas like the stomach, thighs, and breasts, and you are not the only one who has to deal with this. Stretch marks affect about 90 percent of women in their 6th or 7th months of pregnancy. They fade over time into gray or white marks.
Before rushing to find information on how to get rid of stretch marks, it is better to understand how they are caused. Here are some reasons:
1. Sudden weight gain
During pregnancy most women tend to gain weight. This excess weight tends to stretch the middle layer of the skin i.e. the dermis, well beyond its elasticity, causing it to tear. The tears in the dermis reveal the blood vessels beneath; this is why your stretch marks look red or purple at first.
During pregnancy, hormones are released into the body. Their purpose is to make the pelvic ligaments soft and increase their flexibility. However, they also tend to soften fibres present in the skin. This increases the risk of stretch marks.
3. BMI and age
Women with a higher Body Mass Index (BMI) and young mothers, especially teenagers, are more likely develop stretch marks.
While stretch marks during pregnancy cannot be prevented, you can take measures to reduce the severity of them in the following ways:
- Maintain a healthy diet
A healthy diet particularly rich in vitamins (mainly vitamins A and C) and minerals (mainly zinc and silicon) help promote healthy skin. Keeping yourself hydrated by drinking at least 6-8 glasses of water is another way to reduce the risk of developing stretch marks.
- Keep an eye on weight gain
Gaining weight steadily and slowly reduces the severity of pregnancy stretch marks. Women with a healthy weight should gain around 25-35 pounds.
- Try using creams and get a bitter almond oil massage
While most creams and lotions advertised won’t make your stretch marks disappear, applying lotion on your stomach can reduce the irritation caused by dry and itchy skin. In a report in the 2012 volume of the Journal of Clinical Nursing, it was found that massaging bitter almond oil for about 15 minutes during early pregnancy reduced the development of stretch marks.
- Go for a laser therapy
Laser treatment offers safe and effective reduction of stretch marks in their early and late stages. However, do consult your doctor about the treatment that will be suitable for you.
- Be patient
In most cases, stretch marks get less noticeable over time. About 6-12 months after birth, they will fade to a point where they’re hardly noticeable.
Be it advice on how to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy or anything else related to childbirth, Pampers is here to help you and your soon-to-be-born baby get through it all.
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