Health Pregnancy

Preventing and Treating Stretch Marks

Stretch marks are a common worry among pregnant women and new mothers. They are the result of the weight you gain during pregnancy. This weight causes the skin to stretch beyond its normal limits. This stretching causes the collagen and elastin fibers in the skin to tear. The connective tissue breaks down as a result of this tearing. The result is a small scarred area that is known as a stretch mark.

by Patricia Hughes

Stretch marks are a common worry among pregnant women and new mothers. They are the result of the weight you gain during pregnancy. This weight causes the skin to stretch beyond its normal limits. This stretching causes the collagen and elastin fibers in the skin to tear. The connective tissue breaks down as a result of this tearing. The result is a small scarred area that is known as a stretch mark. 

The sudden increase in your body weight during pregnancy is the cause of [tag-tec]stretch marks[/tag-tec]. Changes in your hormone levels make stretch marks more likely during pregnancy as well. The hormonal changes actually interfere with the body’s production of collagen and elastin. This makes the tearing that leads to stretch marks more likely. The darker your skin, the more you will notice these marks.
 

The best known treatments for stretch marks are the lotions and creams that are advertised on television. Some of these are all natural products that contain essential oils and extracts from plants to help lighten the marks. A prescription Retin A cream may help more with dark marks or if you have a large number of stretch marks to treat.
 

The most effective treatment for stretch marks is [tag-ice]macrodermabrasion[/tag-ice]. This needs to be performed by a dermatologist. The process involves exfoliating the skin to reveal newer skin underneath. Be sure to choose your doctor carefully and only visit a licensed dermatologist that is very experienced with these treatments. This will help avoid damage to your skin from the treatments. Some women report a small amount of pain with this procedure.
 

There is no magic potion that will protect you from stretch marks. Some women swear by using cocoa butter or other lotions to prevent the marks. There is no evidence to suggest these products work. If you really want to try it, they won’t hurt. Skin tends to get dry during pregnancy and additional moisture is good for dry skin.
 

A healthy diet may help prevent stretch marks. A diet rich in protein, vitamin C and vitamin E is good for the skin. This may make the connective tissues stronger and less likely to tear. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. water is important to healthy skin. Drinking enough water may help prevent some of the damage caused by the tearing in the skin.
 

One way to minimize the marks is to gain a healthy amount of weight during your pregnancy. Gain weight slowly over the course of your pregnancy. Sudden gains increase the number of stretch marks you will see. Weight gain can be controlled with a healthy diet and exercise. Eat healthy meals and avoid too much junk food which can help you pile on the weight. 

Get regular exercise to help prevent excessive weight gain. Take a brisk walk in the evening for a good, low impact workout. Talk to your doctor about a safe exercise routine for you. In most cases, exercise is perfectly safe for the baby. It’s good for you too. You will be in better shape for labor and will get back in shape faster after the baby is born if you exercise regularly.


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BiographyPatricia Hughes is a freelance writer and mother of four. Patricia has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Florida Atlantic University. She has written extensively on pregnancy, childbirth, parenting and breastfeeding. In addition, she has written about home décor and travel.

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