Stretch marks are representations of tearing of the deep planes of the skin which occurs due to rapid stretching of the skin exceeding its limits. The tearing will happen in the collagen base of the skin and would appear lighter than the rest of the skin in dark skinned people and as a pinkish mark on white skinned people.
In pregnancy, the condition of appearing stretch marks is known as ‘striae gravidarum’ and is considered to be a normal occurrence in almost 50% of pregnant mothers. The marks can appear as flamed shaped lines along its vertical axis or can appear as an occasional spot. The marks are most prevalent in the abdomen and could occur even in the breast and even in the buttocks. Usually, the stretch marks will disappear over time and in certain individuals the marks can remain at a less prominent level.
There can be many factors contributing to the formation of stretch marks and most often than not, the genetic susceptibility has been mentioned. Other common factors associated with this condition are the dryness of the skin, over weight in the pregnancy period, poor nutrition and excessive stretching due to twins or large babies.
Although not scientifically proven, following practices are recommended in preventing or at least minimizing the appearance of stretch marks in pregnancy.
Prevent being over weight during pregnancy: The recommended weight gain for a pregnant mother is 25 – 30 pounds and thus anything in excesses can give rise to complications as well as less serious effects such as stretch marks. Hydrate your self adequately: Being a pregnant mother, you should drink plenty of fluid and specially water. This will keep your skin moist as well as healthier thus reducing the effects of skin stretching. Exercises: Gentle stretch exercises as well as relaxing exercises practiced for a significant duration can result in better stretch ability to your skin. Thus, daily exercise routines will facilitate growth of the baby as well as unnecessary stretching of the skin. Application of moisturizing creams and lotions: This will allow the skin to be most and prevent the dryness that is said to be associated with excessive stretching. Good nutrition: Adequate nutrition would improve the elasticity of the skin and thus will maintain adequate tone and complexion in the skin. Cocoa butter: Pure cocoa butter seems to have worked for some with itching and associated stretching of the skin.
Making use of these measures will do no harm to your baby but will be beneficial for you as well as your baby.