The journey to motherhood is full of surprises and changes. From midnight cravings to a bulging belly to stretch marks, pregnancy brings forth plenty of changes. To make room for the little baby a woman’s body expands, resulting in stretch marks. These appear as bands of parallel lines on the skin varying in colour and texture. Most often formed during the last trimester, these stretch marks can be caused due to changes in collagen in the skin. More than half of all pregnant women struggle with stretch marks. Especially, in today’s age of picture-perfect bodies and lives, stretch marks can be a constant source of stress and worry. The market is bursting with products that claim to prevent, reduce or disappear the appearance of stretch marks. As a result, new myths and misconceptions surface every day and it is crucial to discern myths from facts.
6 Common Myths About Pregnancy Stretch Marks
Myth #1 It Is Impossible to Treat Stretch Marks.
Fact- While the appearance of stretch marks cannot be prevented, with time and treatment they can be treated. With regular exercise, drinking plenty of water and keeping skin hydrated and moisturized, stretch marks can be gradually reduced. Furthermore, treatments like laser therapy, chemical peels and microdermabrasion can diminish their appearance. However, it is advised to consult a dermatologist to treat stretch marks.
Myth #2 Overweight Women Are More Vulnerable to Developing Stretch Marks.
Fact- Overweight or not, most women develop stretch marks during pregnancy. There is no denying that weight gain leads to the formation of stretch marks but that does not make overweight women more prone. Due to hormonal changes, weight gain and stretching of the skin, pregnant women tend to develop stretch marks. But stretch marks do not discriminate on the basis of weight.
Also, Read: Role of Ultrasound Scan in Pregnancy
Myth #3 Pregnancy Stretch Marks Can Spread to Other Parts of the Body.
Fact- Stretch marks do not spread to other parts of the body. Due to rapid stretching of the skin, the elastin fibres and collagen in the skin rupture and leave stretch marks behind just like loose elasstic. Most pregnant women tend to form these stretch marks on the belly, hips, thighs, back, arms and knees. However, they can rest assured that these do not spread to other parts of the body and over time lighten in colour.
Myth #4 Stretch Marks Disappear After Losing Pregnancy Weight.
Fact- While gaining weight during pregnancy results in stretch marks, losing weight does not necessarily mean their disappearance. In fact, sudden weight loss can exacerbate the appearance of stretch marks. By losing the pregnancy weight gradually and keeping the skin hydrated, stretch marks will reduce over time. It is not an overnight process and can take months and years before any results can be seen.
Myth #5 Hormones and Hereditary Don’t Play a Role in Stretch Marks.
Fact- Hormones and hereditary play a large role in the formation of stretch marks. It is due to the changes in hormones during pregnancy that stretch marks first appear. Additionally, stretch marks are often heredity. It means if your mother, sister or grandmother developed stretch marks during pregnancy then you are likely to form them too. Unnecessary stress and overthinking can affect your body negatively so it is advised to accept these changes rather than fight them.
Also, Read: Common Tests During Pregnancy
Myth #6 Stretch Marks Remain for Life.
Fact- Stretch marks do not remain for life, with time they can be reduced and treated. After giving birth, regular exercise, hydration and skincare can help in reducing the appearance of stretch marks. Additionally, stretch marks fade in colour and become greyish-silver over time from the inflamed reddish-purplish as seen during pregnancy. With the right treatment and care, stretch marks can diminish.
Pregnancy can be a beautiful and challenging journey. Undergoing rapid and countless changes, carrying a baby for nine months and enduring excruciating pain to bring a life into this world is no less than a battle. Women struggling with the appearance of stretch marks should consider them no less than battle scars. Accepting stretch marks can be the first step in your journey back to normalcy. Over time, with regular care and the right treatment, these battle scars can fade. It is best not to worry and to consult a dermatologist or doctor who can offer true guidance and suggest treatment options as to how to treat stretch marks.