Pregnancy and Stretch Marks
Almost half of all pregnant women will acquire stretch marks during their pregnancy. Stretch marks are tears in the lower layer of your skin and this lower layer consists of elastic supportive tissue which helps the skin to stretch. When the skin is stretched to its limit, it tears slightly allowing blood vessels to show through.
The main factors contributing to stretch marks in pregnancy are:
• Age – the younger you are the more elastic and supple your skin will be and so the younger you are when you become pregnant, the less likely you are to get stretch marks. Older women will unfortunately be more prone to stretch marks in pregnancy.
• Skin color – stretch marks are more common in those who are fair skinned.
• Genetic – if your mother or your sister got stretch marks when they were pregnant, then the chances are much higher that you will too.
• Growth of your baby in the womb – if your baby is growing so quickly or if you are carrying an extra big baby, then the weight is sometimes more than the skin can handle. If you are carrying more than one baby (twins or multiples) or you have excess amniotic fluid, then stretch marks are even more likely to occur.
Stretch marks are not painful and many will fade within six to twelve months of giving birth but their texture will remain the same. Depending on your skin color during pregnancy, stretch marks start out as pink, reddish brown or dark brown streaks. The reddish brown pigmentation in the marks gradually fades and the stretch marks begin to look like glistening silvery lines of scar tissue.
There are ways to prevent or treat these stretch marks such as:
• Treating with a natural healing product and pregnancy stretch marks lotion made from essential oils and which is safe to use during pregnancy and nursing.
• Limiting your weight gain to no more than the recommended amount of 25 to 35 pounds, and this weight should be gained gradually.
• Eat a diet which promotes good skin health – foods rich in zinc such as nuts and fish; foods rich in vitamins A, C and D such as carrots, citrus fruits and milk; foods rich in protein such as eggs.
• Drink as much water as you can, and if you have to drink coffee, tea or any other caffeinated drinks, then drink equal or greater amounts of water to balance your fluid intake.
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