Stretch Marks and Pregnancy

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pregnantIf you are expecting a baby, you might be interested in getting the lowdown about your skin and pregnancy.

As happy as you are about your little bundle of joy, you may be worried about developing stretch marks. This is a very real concern, as research tells us that approximately 80% of women do develop stretch marks while pregnant.

Ouch!

It seems that the odds aren’t good for not getting stretch marks while you’re pregnant and since they are virtually impossible to get rid of completely after they develop; your best bet might be prevention.

You may have seen stretch marks, but be a bit vague about exactly what they are, as well as what causes them.

What are Stretch Marks?

Stretch marks caused by pregnancy are, technically speaking, striae gravidarum.

They may show up as discolored and indented streaks or lines. Sometimes stretch marks are red, pink or even purple in color. Over time, stretch marks will fade, but not totally disappear.

Most pregnant women that do develop stretch marks have them on their abdomen. However, many pregnant women develop stretch marks on their breasts, buttocks, thighs and hips, as well.

When your skin is stretched quite a lot over a short period of time, its elasticity isn’t able to accommodate the stretching and the top layer breaks, causing stretch marks.

Some women develop more severe and widespread striae than others. Doctors believe that some of this may be hereditary or based on the color and type of skin you have.

Here are some things that might predispose you to develop stretch marks during pregnancy:

  • If you gain a lot of extra weight while you are pregnant – more than is recommended by your doctor – you are definitely increasing your chances.
  • Excessively dry skin is naturally going to be less elastic and more prone to tearing while you are pregnant.
  • Your age is another factor. As we age, our skin tends to become less elastic and to lose collagen, so older mothers are probably at greater risk.
  • Although nobody knows just why, darker skinned women are more at risk.

With 8 out of 10 pregnant women developing stretch marks, is there anything you can do to help prevent them?

Preventing Stretch Marks During Pregnancy

As previously mentioned, a good regime to try and prevent the development of stretch marks during your pregnancy is much easier than trying to get rid of them after the fact.

For centuries, pregnant women have been slathering various creams and ointments onto their bellies in an effort to ward off stretch marks.

There are a plethora of brands available, some quite expensive and claiming to possess all manner of wondrous properties to keep you from getting stretch marks. Others are more modest in claims and price, but seem to be reasonably effective.

Just as with many other products, it is a good idea to shop around.

What Products to Try?

too-many-creamsIf you decide to start using a product to help prevent getting stretch marks during your pregnancy, you might find your choices more than a little bewildering.

In order to make an informed buying decision, it pays to do some research and shop around. Read customer reviews of various products on such online sites as Amazon and note any prevailing, repetitive complaints about a product.

There are some people that wouldn’t be satisfied with a product regardless of how well it performed. Still, if you see a common theme about a particular stretch mark cream; such as it irritates the skin or has an unpleasant smell…..it might behoove you to heed the warnings and find another product.

Check out testimonials, as well. Don’t just read the wonderful (biased) things people have to say on the manufacturer’s website, but see if you can find some YouTube videos and forum comments. These tend to carry more weight and have more credibility.

Here are some of the most popular and highly rated stretch mark creams to use during pregnancy (and links to my in-depth reviews):

  • Revitol – Widely available at retail stores, both online and off. It’s reasonably priced and has a lot of great reviews.
  • Trilastin-SR Stretch Mark Cream – Another very popular product with overall great reviews and testimonials. It’s more on the expensive side, retailing for about $80 a tube.
  • Palmer’s Cocoa Butter – An old and trusted name in the world of stretch mark prevention, generations of pregnant women have used this cream. Very inexpensive, it runs about $5 a bottle.

In addition to these products, there are a lot more available. The main thing is to keep your skin moist and supple.

Regardless of which product you choose, it seems like a no brainer to use one of them if you want to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy.

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