Skirting Stretch Marks

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Stretch marks — two of the most dreaded words when it comes to the after-effects of pregnancy.

A stretch mark is essentially a scar. Technically speaking, it’s where elastin and collagen fibers tear. It’s a result of the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy.

Now, when it comes to stretch marks, no method of prevention is completely foolproof. Who gets them and who doesn’t can depend on many factors, including genetics.

That said, there are preventative measures and here we list five.

Expecting Expats - Skirting Stretch Marks

Balanced diet

This is extremely important to your baby and it also plays a big role in your body. Eating right means more strength and elasticity in your skin. This includes drinking plenty of water to help hydrate your skin and focusing on the right nutrients (see below).

Eating the right amount

There is such a thing as over-eating, even if you’re pregnant. Your body needs a certain amount of calories per day and while it’s normal to put on weight, it should be done at a steady pace. Uncontrolled weight gain can lead to stretch marks.
Talk to your medical doctor or practitioner about the right amount of weight gain for you at varying stages of your pregnancy. Also, make sure you’re getting those calories from healthy foods and not fatty foods.

Know your vitamins

Vitamin E is great for preventing cell damage, so use skin creams with Vitamin E. There are also benefits to eating foods rich in Vitamin E, for example spinach, asparagus and almonds.
Vitamin A is also important for growing cells, so find a Vitamin A cream or amp up the carrots and sweet potato in your diet to get your fix.

Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize

Massaging and moisturizing your skin with lotion daily can help improve circulation and encourages new tissue to grow. Your doctor might also be able to prescribe you a medical cream.

Considering treatment and removal

While prevention is better than removal, you might consider some of the new technology to remove stretch marks post-pregnancy. Laser treatment is becoming a popular method of minimizing stretch mark visibility.


Additional Medical Information

Stretch marks can be prevented or lessened if proper attention is given during the early days of pregnancy. Take good care of your skin by following a suitable exercise program (such as walking, swimming or stationary cycling), drinking lots of water, applying a nourishing cream and maintaining your weight by increasing food in moderation. Vitamins A and E can also help in the prevention of stretch marks.

If you continue to have problems with stretch marks after childbirth, laser treatment may help to remove stretch marks, in conjunction with skin care treatment.

Prisana Sukheepod, M.D.
Dermatologist, Samitivej Hospital

Read more
Recommendations for exercise during pregnancy and the postpartum period

ExpectingExpats.com

Expecting Expats is the online resource for parents in and around Thailand.

We provide lifestyle and medical content to our visitors, with new content posted daily. Our lifestyle contributors are themselves expat moms who share their experiences and lessons learned through blog articles. We also provide medical content from our partner doctors at Samitivej Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand. Articles of interest span from before pregnancy through the toddler years and cover medical, behavioral and cognitive issues.

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