Pregnancy Stretch Marks: What To Expect

baby talk image pregnant womanFor many women (and men too), stretch marks can be an eyesore. When you think you have noticed all of your stretch marks, BAM comes along those long, fine, wiggly lines that pop up like vines on your arms, stomach and legs.

These marks are one of the many signs of motherhood. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, about 90% of women will get stretch marks anywhere between their sixth or seventh month of pregnancy.

What’s the Cause?

These roadmaps of pregnancy that etch themselves on your ever-growing baby bump occur when the skin loses its elasticity because of weight gain. There are some lucky women who are spared from stretch marks, while for others it’s a common occurrence because of genetics. According to the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, women with severe pregnancy-related stretch marks are found to carry particular genes (such as ELN, SRPX, HMCN1 and TMEM18) that affect their skin’s elasticity.

Just because you don’t have the genes that make you prone to stretch marks, doesn’t mean you won’t get them. Rapid weight gain causes these marks because your skin is being pulled to its limit, and these marks are tears in your skin, according to the Mayo Clinic. Remember that doctors often advise pregnant women to only gain about 25-35 pounds of weight in order to ensure the health of both the mother and child.

Will They Go Away?

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, after pregnancy these marks tend to fade overtime. There are moms who wear their marks with pride because it’s a representation of bringing life into this world. Other moms may be embarrassed, which there is no need to be because everyone should love themselves exactly for who they are. Every freckle, wrinkle, and stretch mark is a representation of your life and beauty.

There are no magical methods to make these stretch marks disappear. If it’s that much of a nuisance, some doctors may recommend topical medications such as Tretinoin Cream (a Retin-A creame that helps to reduce the appearance of stretch marks by about 20 %). There are also procedures like Microdermabrasion, which involves a handheld device that blows abrasive crystals onto the skin to remove the skin’s top layer. This will trigger the growth of more elastic skin, or lastly one could have laser treatments which use light therapies that will stimulate collagen and elastin production in the body.

Before trying any remedies or treatments, speak to your healthcare professional for their expert recommendations.

By Amanda Moses