Stretch marks during pregnancy are a common complaint during this phase. Stretch marks usually develop in the sixth or seventh month of pregnancy. Stretch marks are pinkish streaks formed around stomachs, breasts, or hips when collagen and elastin fibers that keep your skin relaxed get stretched and break during pregnancy due to the pressure of quick weight gain. You can reduce the appearance of stretch marks during pregnancy when they are fresh. Once the scar colour changes to white, they are hard to fade.
The probability of developing stretch marks during pregnancy depends on your pregnancy and genetics. If your mother or grandmother had stretch marks, the probability is high that you’ll get them too.
How are stretch marks formed?
Stretch marks during pregnancy form when your body grows more rapidly than your skin can manage. It causes the elastic fibers beneath the skin to snap, causing stretch marks.
You usually gain about 30 pounds during the nine months of your pregnancy. Growing that fast causes stretch marks, especially around your belly and breasts, two areas that enhance the most during the pregnancy phase. Stretch marks can also form on the thighs, buttocks, and upper arms. Stretch marks during pregnancy often begin out reddish or purple, but later they gradually change to white or grey.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, about 90% of women get stretch marks after completing their sixth or seventh month of pregnancy.
If you have a lighter complexion, you are likely to develop pinkish-type stretch marks during pregnancy. Darker-skinned women are more likely to get lighter stretch marks than their skin tone.
The risk factors involved in the development of stretch marks
Stretch marks during pregnancy do not cause any serious health concerns; the permanent scar of skin tissue may cause some itching and burning sensations. In addition, they may cause some emotional stress amongst new Mums.
Researchers have discovered several factors that may play a critical role in the occurrence of stretch marks during pregnancy, such as genetics, hormone changes, age, BMI, mechanical stress on the skin, etc. Some other factors are associated with the development of the stretch marks, even though they are not fully understood yet. Let’s explore some of them.
1. Factors that are associated with genetics
• If your Mum or sister developed stretch marks during pregnancy, the probability of getting stretch marks is around three times higher compared to pregnant women who have Mums/sisters who didn’t get them.
• If you get stretch marks during puberty, there’s a higher risk of occurrence during pregnancy.
2. Factors associated with mechanical stress on the skin:
• During the pregnancy stage, the connective tissue is completely damaged, as a result, the strength and elasticity of the tissues decrease. This entire process is indirectly linked to genetics.
• Hormones such as Glucocorticoids may impact the production of collagen and elastin fibers.
• Occurrence of an inflammation phase.
• Changes associated with visual vascular changes (i.e. making the stretch marks red/purple).
3. Factors that are associated with an expectant mum:
The following factors affect the severity of stretch marks:
• Rapid weight gain during pregnancy.
• High BMI before pregnancy.
• Use of chronic steroids.
• Younger women (under 20 years of age) are at “higher risk” of developing stretch marks during pregnancy.
4. Factors that are related to baby:
• The larger the size of the baby, the higher the chance of occurrence of stretch marks.
• If you are expecting more than one baby, the probability of the occurrence of stretch marks during pregnancy is higher.
Can we prevent stretch marks during pregnancy?
Unfortunately, there’s no way to cure stretch marks. Try to keep your skin hydrated with a rich lotion or cream; it will make your skin feel better, look smoother and more toned, and lessen the itch that increases with your growing belly. Though there’s no reliable way to cure stretch marks during pregnancy, however, there are some natural ways to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy.
Here we have highlighted a few steps to cure stretch marks during pregnancy.
• Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet is paramount for baby growth and development. Stretch marks during pregnancy may form because you are falling short of certain vital nutrients. Vitamin C, E, D, and Zinc are some of the key elements of a healthy pregnancy diet that can help to reduce appearance of stretch marks during pregnancy. 
• Staying hydrated is beneficial during pregnancy for many reasons. Water helps carry vital nutrients to you and your growing fetus and cures urinary tract infection (UTI) which is common during pregnancy. Additionally, a proper level of hydration can reduce fatigue, prevent swelling, and even prevent morning sickness.
• Seeking professional advice for healthy weight gain is the best way to avoid stretch marks during pregnancy. Avoid weight gain rapidly, since stretch marks usually form when your skin tissue is pulled apart quickly.
• Vitamin D can also help you to reduce the appearance of stretch marks during pregnancy . It is important to expose yourself to direct sunlight carefully during the pregnancy phase. You should be cautious while exposing yourself as your skin tends to be more sensitive during pregnancy. Make sure not to get too overheated or dehydrated.
It’s better to treat your new stretch marks as soon as possible. Your doctor can help determine the reasons for the occurrence of stretch marks and will give you the best guidance on treatment options.
1. Can we avoid stretch marks during pregnancy?
You can follow these four steps to cure stretch marks during pregnancy.
• Intake of vitamin C, E, D, and Zinc are some of the vital elements of a balanced pregnancy diet that can help to reduce the appearance of stretch marks during pregnancy .
• Stay hydrated during pregnancy to avoid stretch marks.
• Seek doctor advice for healthy weight gain.
• Vitamin D can also help you to cure stretch marks during pregnancy. You can expose yourself carefully to sunlight without overdoing it.
2. What month of pregnancy do you start getting stretch marks?
Stretch marks usually develop in the sixth or seventh month of pregnancy.
3. Do stretch marks disappear after pregnancy?
Most stretch marks will disappear naturally after your baby is delivered. You can make them even less noticeable with several treatments.
4. How can I fix my stretch marks during pregnancy?
Stretch marks during pregnancy may form simply because you are lacking certain vital nutrients. Vitamin C, E, D, and Zinc are some of the important elements of a healthy pregnancy diet that can help to reduce the appearance of stretch marks during pregnancy. Staying hydrated is beneficial during pregnancy.
5. What are the first signs of stretch marks?
If you have a lighter complexion, you will tend to develop pinkish types of stretch marks during pregnancy. Darker-skinned women are more likely to get stretch marks that are lighter than their skin tone.
Once Prega news delivers the good news, be prepared for the parenting journey and watch those stretch marks appear. It is a natural process that can’t be eliminated but you can make efforts to reduce the same.