by Katelyn Schwanke
(last updated February 10, 2009)
Stretch marks are a result of rapid weight gain and weight loss. Pregnancy essentially fits this criteria for stretch marks. 50% of pregnant women have noticeable stretch marks and the last 50% are likely to notice stretch marks if they get pregnant again. Women who are carrying multiple babies, gain weight rapidly, have an excess of amniotic fluid or are carrying a heavy baby are more at risk for stretch marks.
There is not much you can do to avoid stretch marks but you can limit the amount of excess weight gained during pregnancy. Speak to your doctor about the appropriate amount of weight that you should gain during pregnancy (you may be surprised to find that it is far less than you expected). Ultimately you will find that stretch marks are incurable, however, there are a few things that you can do to reduce their appearance.
If you begin to attempt reducing the appearance within six weeks of giving birth, your odds for success increase. Doctors recommend tretinoin cream (pharmaceutical name is Retin-A). Others may tell you to purchase vitamin E or cocoa lotion but neither of these is truly effective. If your stretch marks are older than six weeks, doctors recommend seeking microdermabrasion, pulsed-dye laser therapy, or radiofrequency dermal remodeling (all of which tend to be expensive and not covered by insurance). Speak to your physician for the latest and greatest legitimate treatments and do not rely on anecdotal information provided by non-medical professionals.
You may find comfort in the fact that with time, the deep purple or bright pink of your stretch marks will fade to a darker, less noticeable shade. You may need to ultimately come to terms with your stretch marks and realize that it is a small sacrifice for having your new baby in your home.
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