The truth about stretch marks

Many things change during pregnancy, but by far the greatest transformation is that of your body. Starting with week 13 of pregnancy, you may see stretch marks on your breasts, rear, inner thighs and hips.

Ninety per cent of women get stretch marks during pregnancy so it’s very common. If you’ve seen celebrities whose skin looks perfect after birth, then they’ve probably had cosmetic procedures.

It’s almost impossible not to get any stretch marks during the nine months of pregnancy. As you’ll discover below, stretch marks are a natural reaction of the skin and there are many women who have had them ever since adolescence, especially on their hips.

Why do stretch marks appear?

Stretch marks occur when certain parts of the body start growing and the skin isn’t able to stretch as fast. More precisely, under the skin we have elastic fibres that make up the connective tissue. Take your tummy for example: as it grows, these fibres stretch up to a point, but after a certain limit, they break, leading to small cracks in the connective tissue. As they heal, they leave scars behind. These scars are the stretch marks.

All women gain weight during pregnancy, so stretch marks are a normal skin reaction that don’t need to worry you. They don’t cause pain or affect your skin in any way. Stretch marks are more visible when they first appear but after a few months, they change in colour from pinkish to to ivory white and are much less visible. It is down to your genes too – if your mother had stretch marks in pregnancy, you are likely to get them too.

How to care for your skin

Healthy food and moderate exercise can prevent excessive weight gain, which means the skin will not stretch as much. Also creams with vitamin E can improve elasticity, but even so, the risk of getting stretch marks isn’t entirely eliminated.

Important! Consult your doctor so that he or she can recommend the best solutions to lessen stretch marks. Some cosmetics contain dangerous substances that can be absorbed by your and affect the baby, so only use products approved by your doctor.