By Hannah Schenker
You may already be marked with silvery stripes from your adolescent days of rapidly growing from a child into a young woman. You may have a bit of a story around them – that they’re unattractive, that they need to be hidden. Or perhaps you’ve grown to accept them, or even love them! The truth is, stretch marks are common. Some women get them, some don’t – it all depends on the skin elasticity and genetics possibly have a part to play. So when you are pregnant and your body is rapidly changing once again – growing and stretching in entirely new ways – the issue of stretch marks are often a topic of conversation or concern.
What are stretch marks, exactly?
Stretch marks occur when your body is changing shape faster than your skin can keep up with. The elastic fibres just beneath the surface of your skin tear – resulting in stretch marks which can look stripey in apprearance. They come in a variety of different shades and colours but typically start out fairly dark, and over time pale to silver.
During pregnancy, like in adolescence, not only are you gaining weight but the shape of your body is changing extremely quickly. In adolescence you might get stretch marks on your thighs, bum or breasts. During pregnancy they are more common on your belly and breasts, and more likely to occur in the third trimester.
So is there anything you can do?
It seems to be that prevention is better than cure – if you can coax some elasticity into your skin before and as it stretches, your chances of getting stretch marks may lessen.
See next page for some ideas to prevent or improve the appearance of stretch marks…