During pregnancy, especially with the onset of the third trimester, a belly becomes increasingly larger as a fetus and subjacent tissues grow in size. And as the skin doesn’t keep up with the growth, it results in overstretching and torn subcutaneous tissues. These tissue tears emerge as richly pink spots on the skin and then pale into white scars. They are scars indeed, formed in the area of tears which have been restored with connective tissue, as with any external cut. Besides belly, pregnancy stretch marks may appear on hips, buttocks and breasts.
Why Do Stretch Marks Change The Color with Time?
The tear is restored with connective tissue filled with blood vessels needed to sustain its growth. That’s why stretch marks are pink when they appear. As connective tissue stops growing, blood vessels no longer pump blood so the connective tissue grows pale. Scar tissue doesn’t have any pigments so stretch marks stay white even when you get suntan.
Why do some women have stretch marks and others don’t?
Outer layer of skin has some elasticity potential which may vary for every woman. So some women may get stretch marks in earlier pregnancy period while others won’t have them even with a very big belly. This difference in skin elasticity depends on genes. If your mother or grandmother didn’t have pregnancy stretch marks, your odds to get them become very small. On the other hand, if someone in your family did have stretch marks, you are likely to have them, too.
The following factors increase the risk of stretch marks:
- Unbalanced diet, carcinogens in food;
- Smoking during pregnancy;
- Age of pregnant woman (elasticity weakens with age);
- Weak belly muscles (abdominal muscles)
- Pointed pregnancy belly (often if pelvis is narrow);
- Accelerated weight gain during the third trimester;
- Metabolism disorders (diabetes, obesity).
How to Prevent Stretch Marks during Pregnancy
- Weight control during pregnancy. Try to gain weight gradually and what’s most important, don’t seek to eat more;
- Balanced diet. Enrich your pregnancy diet with vitamins and minerals for healthy skin;
- Use of bandage may reduce the pressure on lower belly and ease the stretching of skin;
- Belly massage using olive oil for better blood circulation and blood flow to the skin. This would strengthen skin tissues and improve skin elasticity.
- Use of special skin care products against stretches. Appling creams and body lotions on a regular basis may improve skin elasticity, although you don’t have to expect these products to make wonders for you if you are susceptible to stretch marks.
If you had stretch marks in your first pregnancy, it doesn’t mean you’ll have them in your succeeding pregnancies. Short break between childbirth and a second pregnancy makes it quite possible you won’t have new stretch marks.
If you already have stretch marks
It’s important to remember that stretch marks are not disorders, they are not harmful for your health. They are natural for the process of giving a new life. Obviously, every woman wants to have a beautiful skin before and after pregnancy. But stretch marks are not so high a price to pay for the joy of motherhood. What’s more, stretch marks may never happen.
Source of the image: sxc.hu/profile/bjearwicke.