Stretch Marks During Pregnancy: Can They Be Prevented?

The market to pregnant women is certainly not lacking in products that promise to prevent stretch marks or make them go away. There are creams, gels, butters, vitamins, and more. That tells me that women are terribly concerned with avoiding stretch marks. But before you go out to buy the latest product to slather on your belly and your hips, how much do you really know about stretch marks?

Stretch marks happen when the dermis skin layer is torn, forming a scar. This happens frequently during pregnancy when the skin is stretched by the growing baby and uterus. Hormones may also play a part in how these marks are formed. They can fade with time but will not completely go away.

Your Genes

While there may be some environmental and nutritional factors that come into play, the truth is stretch marks are genetic.

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Just like the color of your skin and your hair, your genes are what determine the amount of elasticity in your skin and how it reacts to changes and aging. This means that there is not much you can do about whether or not you get stretch marks, so quit blaming yourself.

Women who escape the marks of a growing belly have nothing to hide. They are simply blessed with different genes.

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Things You Can Do

There is no secret formula to get rid of or prevent stretch marks, but there may be a few things that you can do to lessen their severity. You can start by eating a healthy diet that is full of good fats and fresh fruits and vegetables.

Try to get at least 30 minutes of sunlight a day and take a multivitamin. Creams can help with itching associated with stretching of the skin, and may slightly reduce the severity of stretching. To sum it up, your best defense against those pesky marks is to take care of yourself.

Embrace Them

Society says they're ugly, but you don't have to. You can be among the many women who look upon their stretch marks with pride and see beauty and womanhood.

I'll be the first to say that I don't think stretch marks are a big deal. I look upon mine with great joy because they remind me of my first pregnancy. My once small belly stretched and swelled to great size, the embodiment of love and fertility.

Those marks are the remembrance of belly kicks and the perfect little infant that I held in my arms after 9 long months. There is no need to look upon the changes your body is going through with dread.

Vanessa Pruitt, PLMHP, MS