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How can I prevent stretch marks during pregnancy?

Is there anything I can do to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy?
Submitted by Parents.com Team

Unfortunately, not really. Whether or not you'll get stretch marks (or how bad they'll be) is mostly hereditary -- so if your mom or grandma had them, chances are you will too. More than half of all pregnant women develop these pinkish streaks around their stomachs, breasts, or hips.

Stretch marks occur when collagen and elastin (the fibers that keep your skin taut) stretch and snap as your skin expands during pregnancy. Gaining a healthy amount of pregnancy weight (25 to 35 pounds for normal-weight women) may help keep stretch marks to a minimum, since this prevents your skin from overstretching. But because this stretching happens in the underlying layers of your skin, the topical lotions and creams that promise to erase stretch marks don't really make a difference.

The one thing you can do is conceal them with self-tanner, since stretch marks are much more visible on pale skin. And keeping your skin well-moisturized with cocoa butter or other lotions can help with the itching that tends to accompany stretch marks.

After delivery, stretch marks usually fade to a light, silvery hue, and may be hardly noticeable over time. But if you're still unhappy with the way they look, a dermatologist might be able to help. Prescription Retin-A or Renova creams, as well as certain laser treatments, have been found to minimize the appearance of some stretch marks. These are most effective when the marks are new, so if you're interested, talk to a dermatologist after your baby arrives.

Copyright 2009

The answers from our experts are for educational purposes only. Please always refer to your child's pediatrician and mental health expert for more in-depth advice.

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Save your money!! I used to use Lady Soma's Stretch Mark Treatment - its $34. . .It was OK, but instead I started using Lady Soma's Skin & Nail Treatment and it worked so much better on both my stomach and thigh marks! And its 1/3 the price! Only $16, and it lasts a long time. Save your money. They prob raised the price of the Stretch Mark Treatment, but get the Lady Soma Skin & Nail Treatment and use it on your stretch marks - it works BETTER and you save money. . .
Submitted by vivianwestwood555
I am a woman with brown pigment and I have never seen pinkish marks on any of the women in my family even though we do get a couple of stretch marks as a rule but not many more. We live by slathering up in virgin olive oil and wearing garments that assist with the new found weight of pregnancy (such as bras that support your breast even while sleep & strong elastic pants under your clothes daily which has really provided needed support so that your muscles and skin don't bare the weight alone.)
Submitted by dlktabo1
Actually there is a way you can help (maybe not prevent completely) but minimize the damaging affects of stretch marks BEFORE you even get them. Here is what to do: During the first trimester before you get stretch marks, in the morning and evening (at least twice a day) rub the areas most vulnerable to being stretched with olive oil (or you can buy a product called Bio-Oil which is also really great). Don't have to rub a great amount. It helps with the itchness and a great moisturizer!
Submitted by hamza.7
This is my second pregnancy and yet there are no stretch marks in my belly. I am using maternity cocoa cream and lotion almost daily after showering while my skin is still wet and I massage it in circles. If I knew that cocoa butter has this magic I would've used it to prevent stretch marks in my hips and breasts during puberty.
Submitted by exoticrhyme1
I don't know if this is a sure shot way, but I have used a maternity belt to assist w/back pain and hold up my belly as well as used Mother friend oil to keep it from drying out, this is my second preganancy I am close to 31 weeks and no stretch marks, I have gained at least 30 pounds for this and close to 40 for my first, so hopefully this will work for you.
Submitted by firehnybee