Stretch marks are common and there’s not much you can do to avoid them or treat them. Some people get them and others don’t. Whether you get stretch marks or not can depend on your skin type – some people just have more elastic skin that can stretch easily without leaving a mark.
Skin is made up of three main layers – the epidermis (outer), the dermis (middle) and the subcutis (inner). Stretch marks happen when the middle layer of the skin is stretched and breaks. Mums-to-be who put on more than the average amount of weight and those who have twins or more are also more likely to get them.
Creams that claim to prevent or stop stretch marks are unlikely to have any effect. They won’t prevent the skin breaking because they can’t reach the middle layer or dermis.
Stretch marks will fade over time after your baby is born.
1. Macdonald S, Magill-Cuerden J (2012) Mayes’ Midwifery, 14th edition, London, Ballière Tindall
2. NHS Choices [accessed 10 February 2015] Stretch marks in pregnancy. Review: 17 July 2016:http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/stretch-marks-pregnant.aspx#close .
3. Brennan M, Young G, Devane D (2012) ‘Topical preparations for preventing stretch marks in pregnancy’, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 11: CD000066: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23152199Hide details