How and Why Pregnancy Causes Stretch Marks

Striae gravidarum is how the doctors call it. Pregnancy stretch marks, strictly medically speaking, are almost never a cause of concern. However, owing to their cosmetic appearances, they end up unsettling and unnerving many women during and after pregnancy. The discomfiture created by lines appearing around the abdomen (most of the times) can sometimes be hard to deal with. However, you must first understand why pregnancy causes stretch marks.

The Two Factors Which Lead To Stretch Marks:

Perhaps your curiosity would be piqued by the fact that there are two factors that result into stretch marks. Essentially, one of these is directly linked to pregnancy. While the pregnancy progresses, the skin around the abdomen stretches and tries to adapt. The continuous expansion and contraction leaves little time for your skin to adjust. As a result, the skin is eventually unable to match up with the body’s expansion speeds, thereby tearing in the process. The resulting scar is a stretch mark, which is disconcerting because it can sometimes lead to dryness and itchiness.

The validity of the second factor remains a topic of debate amongst doctors. However, briefly, it is concerned with the skin absorbing water as result of elevated hormone levels during pregnancy. The consequences include the weakening of the fibre bonds in the skin, making it easier to tear during stretching. Apart from these, there are some other factors that have been considered as causatives for stretch marks

  1. Family history of stretch marks.
  2. Previous pregnancies; it is highly likely that you will develop stretch marks if you had them in your previous pregnancy.
  3. Weight gain: If you have rapidly put on excessive weight just before the pregnancy, you can expect stretch marks.
  4. Ethnicity: Some women, for instance, African American, have little or no tendency to get stretch marks.
  5. Nutrition: Proper hydration of the skin decreases your vulnerability to get stretch marks.

When Do The Stretch Marks Usually Form?

Although normally women find stretch marks forming during the sixth or seventh months, there are those who can spot them within a few weeks of pregnancy. Stretch marks are usually pinkish for fairer women; and lighter than the color of the surrounding skin for darker women. You can see a three-phase development that stretch marks follow:

  • First Phase: In the initial stage, the stretch marks are pink and itchy. The skin surrounding the marks feels as though it is flattened.
  • Second Phase: As the stretch marks grow in length and breadth, they change color to a reddish purple.
  • Third Phase: The color fades after the pregnancy, consequently becoming silver or whitish, and the shape becomes more irregular.

On Which Parts of the Body Can The Stretch Marks Develop?

Although the most common location is the abdominal area, you can get stretch marks on your hips, thighs, breasts, etc. Areas where there is considerable fat are more prone, and yet stretch marks can just develop in any part of your body.

About 90 percent of the women experience stretch marks during pregnancy. Applying a lotion helps prevent the annoying itchiness and can relieve you of the dryness, maintaining the elasticity of the skin at the same time.

Daniel Crieg is an expert specializing in healthcare and dermatology. He writes for StretchMarks24, a trusted website for the latest and the most efficient stretch mark removal techniques that have been tried and tested by many women.

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