Pregnancy is the most beautiful phase of life. There are an array of changes that women’s bodies experience during pregnancy, some are beautiful and some are really troubling for the expecting mother. One of them is stretch marks.
Stretch marks, also known as striae gravidarum in medical terms, is nothing but a physiological change of pregnancy that means they are absolutely normal. The reason behind stretch marks is the hormone cortisol which is secreted in excess during pregnancy that causes weakening of the elastin fibers which are present beneath the skin because of which the skin becomes very thin. On top of that when the skin stretches due to pregnancy the stria becomes more prominent. They can occur anywhere from thighs to underarms but more on the abdomen due to growing uterus. The intensity of stretch marks depends on genetics as does the quality of the skin. Also, stretch marks will be more if women have a twin pregnancy or excessive water around the baby as the skin stretch will be more. If the woman is obese before the pregnancy or if there is excessive weight gain during the pregnancy then all these factors contribute to more stretch marks.
Though women are embracing the marks and celebrating them, there is still a lot of stigmas associated with it. Because of which women fall for all the misinformation available on the internet. The desperate need to get the skin before the pregnancy creates all the myths associated with stretch marks. A few of the associated myths are :
There will be no stretch marks if the fusion of different oils is applied on skin
This is the biggest myth and an eyewash of the mark cream industry because stretch marks are a physiological change and it will happen due to the hormonal changes happening in the body. The only benefit of keeping the skin properly moisturized with these oils is that the marks will appear less otherwise the intensity will be the same. Sometimes excessive oiling can cause rashes over the stomach so beware of that.
It is impossible to remove the marks
It’s not true, there are lots of treatments available for stretch marks like laser therapy, ozone therapy, etc. Along with that staying hydrated and, moisturizing skin will help in recovering faster.
Overweight pregnant mothers are the only ones who can develop stretch marks.
Definitely, they are more prone to developing a lot of stretch marks but it’s not only about weight. Even women with lesser BMI can develop stretch marks. This suggests that genetics do play a major role in the development of stretch marks.
All stretch marks are of the same color.
The color of the stretch mark changes with the age of the mark. The Older it gets, the lighter it will appear. Initially, they will appear red and purplish but then will lighten and become light pinkish in color.
Tanning can reduce the stretch marks
It is again the biggest myth as tanning can cause more harm than benefit. It can also make the marks look darker and clearer. Since the skin is stretched and thinned during pregnancy, tanning can cause permanent damage to the skin.
No diet can prevent stretch marks
A good and high protein diet is very important in decreasing the intensity of marks. Foods like tomatoes, berries, bone broth, eggs are vital in the formation of collagen. So if such foods are consumed the intensity will be less. And if a high-fat diet is consumed then weight gain will be more leading to more stretch and hence more marks. So diet consumed during pregnancy is a direct marker of your stretch marks.
The bottom line is there are no ways by which you can prevent them, the best you can do is to accept them the way they are. This way you will be happier and less harsh towards yourself.
Follow a healthy lifestyle and embrace every part of you.