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Paula Kashtan

Stretch Marks During Pregnancy

Here's what's up with those annoying streaks and how you can help prevent them.

What are stretch marks?

Stretch marks are reddish, purple or pink (sometimes brown, depending on your skin tone) depressed streaks that can be found on your boobs, stomach, butt, hips and thighs—just to name a few places. Stretch marks are actually scars from your skin tearing as your body grows rapidly during pregnancy.

What are the signs of stretch marks?

You’ll see the streaks on your body as your pregnancy develops; the streaks look irregular in shape and usually appear in groups.

Are there any tests for stretch marks?

There aren’t any tests for stretch marks since they’re pretty recognizable.

How common are stretch marks?

Really common! A lot of pregnant women get them during the second half of their pregnancy.

How did I get stretch marks?

Your skin is expanding at such a rapid rate—particularly in the sixth and seventh months—which causes stretch marks. You’re more likely to get stretch marks if you’re carrying multiples or a big baby, or if you’ve gained weight especially quickly. Genetics also are a factor—if your mother or sister got stretch marks, you probably will too.

How will stretch marks affect my baby?

Baby won’t be affected at all.

What’s the best way to treat stretch marks?

Your stretch marks should fade considerably in the months after you deliver and become close to your natural skin tone—so close that no one may notice them but you. If you’re unhappy with your skin’s appearance later, see a dermatologist for treatment options such as prescription creams and laser therapy.

What can I do to prevent stretch marks?

Sorry, there are no surefire ways to prevent stretch marks—but there are a few measures you can take. No hard evidence supports that lotions and creams work, but moisturizing and  staying hydrated by drinking lots of water are great ways to protect your skin’s elasticity.

What do other pregnant moms do when they have stretch marks?

“I just woke up with my first stretch mark, and I’m freaking out. I’ve been massaging my stomach with the Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula cream that’s specifically for pregnant women. I know they’re one of those things that come with the territory; however, I’d like to do everything I can to keep them at a minimum.”

“I tried everything to prevent them with my first pregnancy, but that didn’t help. What does help fade them is time. I started using Bio-Oil before I got pregnant again, and I think it helped with the appearance.”

“Neither of my grandmothers nor my mother got stretch marks, but I got them with my first pregnancy. I will say, though, that they do fade. You can hardly see mine anymore, and they were horrible and covered 90 percent of my stomach during my first pregnancy.”

Are there any other resources for stretch marks?

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

Plus more from The Bump:

Are stretch marks permanent? 

Skin Changes During Pregnancy 

How to Love Your Postbaby Body