Stretch marks are common and there’s not much you can do to avoid them or treat them.
What causes stretch marks?
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.
Genetics and stretch marks
Some people get stretch marks 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. If you have a close relative who got stretch marks in pregnancy, such as your mother, you're more likely to develop them yourself.
Rapid weight gain and stretch marks
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. During pregnancy, it's normal to put on weight over a relatively short period of time. However, it's a myth that you need to 'eat for two', even if you're expecting twins or triplets. Most women gain between 10kg and 12.5kg (22 and 28lb) in pregnancy, although weight gain varies a great deal from woman to woman.
Can I prevent stretch marks?
There are many creams and oils on the market that claim to prevent or stop stretch marks but they unlikely to have any effect. They can’t reach the middle layer or dermis.
A review of two studies looking at two specific creams marketed as preventing stretch marks found that massaging the skin may help to prevent stretch marks in pregnancy but more research is needed to find out conclusively whether this works.
Some creams claim to remove stretch marks once they've appeared, but there is no reliable evidence that they work.
Stretch marks will fade over time after your baby is born.
I've been slathering myself in Bio Oil and some hideously expensive body butter stuff meant especially for pregnant tums and for combating stretch marks since about month two.
- Macdonald S, Magill-Cuerden J (2012) Mayes’ Midwifery, 14th edition, London, Ballière Tindall
- 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 .
- 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/23152199
- Buchanan K, Fletcher HM, Reid M. Prevention of striae gravidarum with cocoa butter cream. Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2010;108(1):65–8. doi: 10.1016/j.ijgo.2009.08.008
- Osman H, Rubeiz N, Tamim H, Nassar AH. Risk Factors for the development of striae gravidarum. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2007;196(1):62.e1–e5. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2006.08.044.
Back ache or pain is very common in pregnancy, but there are things you can do to reduce it.
You are likely to find that your second pregnancy has differences to the first time you were pregnant.
It’s common to feel unusually tired when you’re pregnant, and it can be very frustrating if you can’t get to sleep.
The fact that you’ve had a previous abortion is not likely to affect your pregnancy.
As a pregnant employee you have legal rights, and this includes paid time off for antenatal appointments or antenatal and parenting classes.
No, it’s unlikely you will have an internal examination (inside your vagina) until you go into labour unless there is any concern that needs to be investigated.
After 12 weeks it is not harmful to take folic acid but the neural tube will have grown and so it will not benefit from it.
If you have already had a normal pregnancy and baby, and this pregnancy is considered low risk, giving birth at home has been shown to be just as safe as birth in a hospital unit.
The Department of Health has developed a vaccine for pregnant women to protect their babies against this illness until the babies can be immunised themselves.
If you are over 28 weeks pregnant some airlines will ask you for a letter from your doctor or midwife. Most airlines will not carry pregnant women after 36 weeks or 32 weeks if they are carrying twins.
There doesn't appear to be any evidence to show that hair dye is unsafe in pregnancy.
By Thania (not verified) on 24 Aug 2017 - 09:57
I used dermalmd stretch mark serum right from the second trimester of my pregnancy for massaging my belly. Everyday. I don't have even a single stretch mark.