27 Sep Stretch Question
What are stretch marks?
Stretch marks are fine lines on the body, which are reddish or purplish in colour when they first develop and become devoid of colour later on. Between 75 and 90% of all pregnant women develop stretch marks during pregnancy.
Why do they develop?
In the course of pregnancy, women rapidly gain weight and their abdomen distends to accommodate the growing baby. These changes induce excessive stretching of the skin. Although, skin is fairly elastic, the overstretching weakens the underlying supportive dermis, by damaging its collagen fibres and proteins. This leads to dilation of blood vessels and results in red or purple coloured stretch marks. The hormones oestrogen and relaxin present during pregnancy are also thought to play a part in stretch marks
Who will get them?
This will depend on the amount of weight gain, your genetic history, and whether or not you make a concerted effort to prevent stretch marks.
Factors responsible for stretch marks
- Ethnicity / skin tone – 90% of white women develop stretch marks
- Nutritional history – a sensible diet helps the elasticity of the skin
- Skin conditions – dryer skin is less elastic than oily skin and hence more prone to stretch marks
- The amount of weight gained during pregnancy
Guidelines to limit their appearance
- Eat a healthy, diverse and balanced diet that keeps your weight gain within the recommended range. Excellent nutritional status is vital for your developing baby, but it also contributes to the strength and health of the body’s largest organ: the skin
- Take your nutritional supplements to ensure proper nutritional status
- Drink plenty of water – it is critical to healthy skin. The greater amount of water the skin can absorb the more elasticity it will retain
- Do regular exercise to keep your skin supple and free from toxins. This will help toning the skin of your body and increasing its elasticity
- Keep your skin liberally moisturised with oil. Apply an oil that possesses natural ingredients that are proven to reduce the appearance of stretch marks during and after pregnancy while strengthening and deeply softening your skin
Massage your body areas where stretch marks are more likely to form – abdomen, thighs, breasts. This will increase the circulation to the areas decreasing the likelihood of stretch marks.