Stretch marks (Striae Gravidarum)

 

What causes these?

In pregnancy these are caused by the sudden increase in the size of the uterus and appear mainly on the abdomen where the fibres under the skin have given way. They can also appear anywhere where there is rapid weight gain, commonly on the thighs, buttocks, and breasts.

Can I prevent them?

There are various oils, creams and ointments on the market which claim to prevent them, but a predisposition to stretch marks often depends on your skin type and its elasticity, the amount of weight gain in pregnancy, and how rapidly the uterus grows. They are therefore more likely if you are expecting twins or if you have polyhydramnios [excessive amniotic fluid around the baby].

Will they go away after I've had the baby?

Unfortunately, once the fibres have given way, they cant be repaired. Stretch marks usually appear first as pink / red irregular lines under the skin, but as the pregnancy progresses, they may become brownish, and will eventually fade to a silvery colour, looking a bit like a scar.