Pregnancy is a beautiful and miraculous experience, but it can also bring about changes in one's body that one may not be so fond of - such as stretch marks. These visible lines on the skin can be a source of self-consciousness for many women, but they are also a common and normal part of the pregnancy journey.
In this article, we will explore what causes stretch marks during pregnancy, how to prevent them and what treatments are available to reduce their appearance. Whether one is currently pregnant or planning to be, understanding and accepting the changes in the body can help fully embrace the beauty of motherhood.
What are the types of stretch marks from pregnancy?
Stretch marks, also known as striae, are common during pregnancy, with over 50% of pregnant women experiencing them. Stretch marks can appear on different parts of the body such as the stomach, breasts, buttocks, thighs, upper legs, hips and arms. Over time, they may fade and change colour to a silvery or white shade or even darker colour.
The colour of stretch marks varies and can range from pink, red, purple or brown, depending on the individual's skin colour. Based on their appearance, stretch marks are divided into striae atrophicans (thinned skin), striae gravidarum (following pregnancy), striae distensae (stretched skin), striae rubrae (red), striae albae (white), striae nigra (black) and striae caerulea (dark blue).
What causes stretch marks during pregnancy?
Pregnancy stretch marks can be affected by two main factors:
- Hormones: The production of the hormone cortisol by the adrenal glands during pregnancy is a contributing factor to the formation of stretch marks. Cortisol levels naturally increase during pregnancy, causing the elastic fibres in the skin to weaken. When the skin stretches, it leads to stretch marks.
- Heredity: One's genetic makeup can also influence the likelihood of getting stretch marks during pregnancy. If an individual has a history of developing stretch marks during puberty, either due to growth spurts or due to a family tendency, they are more likely to develop stretch marks during pregnancy as well.
How soon after pregnancy do stretch marks appear?
Stretch marks can appear at different times during pregnancy and vary from person to person. Generally, they appear in the second half of pregnancy when the baby bump grows rapidly, putting more stress on the skin. While some may notice them as early as the second trimester, others may not see them until the last few weeks of the third trimester. It's important to note that not everyone will develop stretch marks during pregnancy.
How to prevent stretch marks when pregnant
Stretch marks during pregnancy are difficult to completely prevent due to the influence of hormones and genetics on their development within the skin's connective tissues. However, some strategies may help reduce the risk of developing stretch marks or minimise their appearance. These measures should be implemented before the belly starts expanding and continued throughout the pregnancy.
- Apply pregnancy stretch mark cream or lotion to the skin every day to keep it hydrated. Whether or not one has stretch marks, using this method throughout pregnancy can also help soothe itchy skin.
- Drink plenty of water, as water helps to stay hydrated and keep the skin smooth and less prone to stretch marks.
- Avoid coffee when pregnant as caffeine may increase the likelihood of getting stretch marks.
- Maintain a nutritious and healthy diet during pregnancy to promote good skin. Consuming a balanced diet that is high in zinc, protein and vitamins A, C, and D can aid in achieving this goal.
Treatment options for stretch marks during pregnancy at UnCover
Carbon dioxide (CO2) laser, Micro-needling with Radiofrequency (MRF) and Trichloroacetic Acid (TCA) cross are treatments used for reducing the appearance of pregnancy stretch marks.
- CO2 laser treatment involves the use of a laser to remove the outer layer of skin. The laser beam vaporises the top layer of the skin, which stimulates the production of new collagen and eventually results in smoother and more even skin.
- MRF is a minimally invasive treatment that combines micro-needling with radiofrequency technology to stimulate collagen production. The microneedles create tiny punctures in the skin, which triggers the body's natural healing process and the production of new collagen. The radiofrequency energy heats the deeper layers of the skin, which also stimulates collagen production. The result is smoother, tighter skin with reduced stretch marks.
- TCA cross is another treatment option for pregnancy stretch marks that involves the use of trichloroacetic acid. This chemical peel is applied directly to small areas of the skin affected by stretch marks. The acid causes the skin to peel, which removes the damaged outer layer of the skin and stimulates the growth of new collagen.
Cost of pregnancy stretch mark removal at UnCover
The cost of pregnancy stretch mark removal can vary widely depending on the specific treatment or combination of treatments needed, the severity of the scarring and other factors.
At UnCover a 1-hour session of pregnancy stretch mark removal starts at Rs. 3,000.
The final stretch
It's important to remember that pregnancy stretch marks are not a flaw, but a beautiful reminder of motherhood. While there is no guaranteed way to prevent them, there are measures that can help reduce their appearance. Additionally, treatments such as CO2 laser, MRF and TCA cross can be effective in reducing the appearance of stretch marks. However, it's important to consult with a medical professional before pursuing any treatment, particularly during pregnancy. Ultimately, it's important to embrace and celebrate the changes that occur in the body during pregnancy, including stretch marks, as they are a testament to the incredible journey of bringing new life into the world.
CTA: If you're looking for a unique solution to reduce the appearance of stretch marks during pregnancy, UnCover can help. Our team of medical professionals offers a range of services, including CO2 laser, MRF and TCA cross, to help reduce the appearance of stretch marks. With state-of-the-art technology and a commitment to personalised care, UnCover is the best choice for those seeking safe and effective solutions to pregnancy stretch marks. Contact us today to learn more about our services and schedule a consultation.