How to prevent stretch marks in pregnancy?

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Looking for how to prevent stretch marks in pregnancy? Here a few tried and trusted tips to keep the lines away.

What are stretch marks?

Stretch marks, otherwise known as striae, are red, purple, or silvery lines that occur on the skin. Stretch marks start out as an itch, and before long, the affected area could become flattened and red. These lines can appear raised and wrinkled in the beginning, but over time, the area will flatten and the stretch marks will fade to a silvery colour. Stretch marks do fade, but it might take some years to get to a point where it is barely noticeable.

how to prevent stretch marks in pregnancy

What causes of stretch marks?

Stretch marks are very common. Men and women can get these lines at any point in their lives. But, in order to know how to prevent stretch marks in pregnancy and in general, you should know the factors that could contribute to the appearance of stretch marks.

Stretch marks develop when the skin stretches beyond its elastic limit. This is usually brought on by sudden weight gain or growth spurt. Once the skin has stretched to a certain point, it tears and the deeper layers of the skin become visible from the outer layer.

Stretch marks are red or purple in the beginning because the blood vessels have suddenly become exposed and visible through the tears. Eventually, the blood vessels will contract and become smaller, changing the colour of the marks to silver.

When can one get stretch marks?

Before you continue on your quest for how to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy, you should be aware that pregnant women aren’t the only people that can develop striae.

Here are the times when you are likely to develop striae:

During pregnancy

Stretch marks are common during pregnancy. 8 in 10 women get these marks when they are pregnant. As your belly grows in the later stages of pregnancy, stretch marks may occur. This is because your belly is growing to accommodate your baby, and this stretching can tear the skin and cause these marks.

Also, during pregnancy, the body secretes hormones to help soften the ligaments in the pelvis to make them supple for childbirth. However, these hormones can also soften the skin and weaken its elasticity, which could lead to stretch marks.

During puberty

Puberty is a time of rapid growth. Young girls undergoing puberty suddenly find themselves growing bigger hip and breasts, and sometimes this sudden growth comes with striae. It is common for boys to get stretch marks on their shoulders and back as they grow.

You should read on for tips on how to prevent stretch marks in pregnancy if you had developed it during puberty.

Weight gain

Sudden weight gain can cause stretch marks. Sudden weight loss can also lead to the appearance of stretch marks on the skin. If you want to put on weight or lose weight, it is best to do it gradually. Any sudden fluctuations in weight can weaken the elasticity of your skin and cause stretch marks.

Health conditions

Some health conditions can trigger stretch marks. Marfan syndrome and Cushing’s syndrome are known to cause it. In Marfan syndrome, the skin can’t stretch optimally because the condition weakens the skin and connective tissues, making the skin prone to tearing.

Cushing’s syndrome is a condition in which the body produces too much cortisol, a hormone known to cause stretch marks.

Corticosteroid use

If you want to know how to prevent stretch marks in pregnancy, you should know that using some topical steroidal creams and lotions can thin your skin and cause striae. These creams are popularly used in Nigeria to treat acne, eczema, rashes, and a host of other skin issues. These creams are sold in pharmacies all over the country.

How to prevent stretch marks in pregnancy?

When it comes to pregnancy stretch marks, the stats are very high. As mentioned above, 8 in 10 women get stretch marks in pregnancy, so a lot of women spend time to find out how to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy.

1. Don’t gain too much weight

We get it, pregnancy is a time when it is necessary to eat for two. But try not to gain too much weight and you’ll be able to keep off the stretch marks. Sudden weigh gain will cause your skin to stretch even more. Ofcourse the natural weight gain process should not be and cannot be avoided.

2. Use shea butter

Shea butter, popularly known as uri in Nigeria, can help you prevent stretch marks during pregnancy. Many pregnant women praise the soothing powers of shea butter and its ability to nourish the skin. To prevent your skin from overstretching and tearing, melt shea butter in your hand and rub it on your growing bump 2-3 times a day. This is a great way to moisturize a stretching skin to avoid tears. Don’t worry, you will definitely grow to love the smell of shea butter.

3. Cocoa butter

Cocoa butter is great for preventing the appearance of stretch marks. You can rub it on your belly twice a day for the best results.

4. Stay hydrated

Everything starts from within, so you should ensure that you’re drinking enough water. Drink 8 glasses of water every day if you want to prevent stretch marks. Every cream or lotion you use when you are looking for how to prevent stretch marks in pregnancy will not work well if you are not working to fix things from the inside.

5. Watch your diet

Eat healthy meals. Your diet should contain lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. This is the first step towards a health, stretch mark-free pregnancy.

 

Resource: NHS

Also read : Best early pregnancy test before missed period

Written by

Julie Adeboye