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Research has shown that at least half of all women will have some stretch marks in varying degrees at some time during their pregnancy. During pregnancy, your body grows so rapidly that the skin cannot produce enough new tissue.
Stretch marks are tears in the lower layer of your skin. 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. These stretch marks most often occur on the abdomen where they start out as a pink, reddish brown or dark brown color but the more the abdomen area is stretched, the deeper the color becomes. This can be a very deep purple. Stretch marks are less common among women with dark skin. Stretch marks will usually fade within six to twelve months of giving birth although their texture will remain the same. They will therefore not be so noticeable.
Some of the causes of stretch marks in pregnancy are age and suppleness, the hereditary aspect, as well as growth and speed of growth. If you are very young when you become pregnant, for example in the teens and early twenties, then your skin is very elastic and supple. As you grow older and into your thirties, you are much more likely to suffer from stretch marks. It also depends on how much and how fast your skin has to stretch during pregnancy. You might gain a lot of weight rapidly, you might be carrying twins or multiples or you may be carrying a big baby. Finally, you may have excess amniotic fluid which in turn causes the womb and the body to grow larger.
A woman who suffered from stretch marks during her first pregnancy is more likely to get them again during a second and subsequent pregnancies but having a first pregnancy without stretch marks does not guarantee a second pregnancy without them. Stretch marks can also appear on the buttocks, thighs, hips and especially the breasts which can be become quite enlarged during pregnancy. Stretch marks on the breasts should definitely fade to a light white color. Stretch marks cause no pain but can be a cause of self consciousness in women.
Go to our H-Stretch Marks page