Also known in medical terms as Striae gravidarum, stretch marks affect around half of all pregnant women at some point during pregnancy (although it is less prevalent in darker skinned women). They can range from covering just one portion of the belly, all the way to the thighs and breasts. They come in a variety of shades and colors, depending on your skin tone. They are the result of a separation of collagen of the skin.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do to prevent them. You’re more likely to get them:
- If you are genetically predisposed to them (IE, your mom had them)
- If you had them in a previous pregnancy you may get them again (or the old ones get darker temporarily)
- Rapid or excessive weight gain
- You don’t keep yourself well hydrated
A healthy skin diet and good hydration will help minimize the amount of stretch marks you get, and skin creams will help curb some of the itching and burning that you feel.
There are some ways to remove stretch marks post partum, although most will involve cosmetic surgery or prescriptions. And remember, they will fade after the baby is born. Until then, wear your badges of honor with pride!