Stretch marks: The two little words that are associated with the not so nice part of growing our precious little people.
These little lines, which are referred to by many mums as ‘nature’s stripes’ – are very common in pregnancy and can crop up on your bum, boobs, bump or thighs.
At a glance
- Stretch marks are common in pregnancy
- They are caused by hormonal changes and weight gain
- They can appear on boobs, bumps and bums
What causes stretch marks? (Get ready for the science bit)
Stretch marks in pregnancy are caused by a combination of those hormonal changes and sudden weight gain.
During this time the middle layer of your skin (the dermis) breaks in places, allowing the deeper layers to show through. This results in the long, thin pink, red, brown, black, silver or purple narrow streaks or lines that define stretch marks.
However, once you’ve had your baby and everything begins to settle down you’ll soon find that these marks fade to a silvery white colour and are less noticeable.
Can I prevent stretch marks?
Although you can’t totally prevent stretch marks, experts claim these can be minimised during your pregnancy by gaining weight steadily.
This means ignoring the myth about eating for two and sticking to a healthy diet during your pregnancy. This includes foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals - particularly vitamin E, vitamin C, and the minerals zinc and silicon – all known for helping your skin stay soft and supple.
Can I get rid of stretch marks?
Your stretch marks will fade to tiny silvery lines as your skin begins to repair itself and once they get to this stage, it’s likely nobody except you will even notice them.
That said, massaging your skin with moisturiser can help improve circulation and encourage quicker tissue growth so it may be worth giving it a go. There are several creams, lotions and gels on the market to help prevent the effects of stretch marks however there is currently no guaranteed way of removing stretch marks.