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Stretch Marks in Pregnancy

Hormonal imbalance causes the formation of stretch marks that change the elasticity of the skin and its physical tension. Stretch marks on the skin appear in places of greatest tension: the abdomen, chest, and hips. They are located mainly radially. The width of one scar reaches 5 mm. Its length can reach 10 cm.

The tendency to stretch marks is inherited and is determined by the condition of the skin before pregnancy. Good care and maintenance of skin elasticity can greatly reduce the risk of breaks and scarring.

When Stretch Marks Start in Pregnancy?

The timing of the risks of stretch marks during pregnancy is confined to the first weeks of the second trimester. Most stretch marks appear in the third trimester. This is due to the increase in body weight of the pregnant woman, and the growth of the abdomen and breasts. Stretch marks will initially be barely noticeable white streaks, and towards the end of the gestation period, they will become redder.


Stretch marks begin to appear from the 17th week of pregnancy. Appetite improves and weight increases sharply during this period. The abdomen grows and stretches the skin.

Stretch marks occupy more extensive space by the 22nd-24th weeks. Stretch marks acquire their maximum area and concentration by the 37th week. Scars are especially pronounced in multiple pregnancies.

Stretch Marks weeks in pregnancy

When will it end?

The process of stretch marks is difficult to stop once it has already begun. The appearance of new scars may stop after the 38th week when the abdomen reaches its maximum, the breasts have already increased and the weight remains stable. This does not eliminate the already formed defect on the skin.

How Does it Feel?

The first appearance of stretch marks is not accompanied by almost any obvious sensations. An unpleasant itch may appear at the rupture site. Relief seals can be felt in places of scars in the subsequent periods of the appearance of stretch marks. The skin on the scars will be thinner and softer than the surrounding. Stretch marks in the later stages change color, becoming red or dark brown.


The formation of stretch marks will be accompanied by a feeling of severe itching, a feeling of tension, and increased sensitivity of the skin with a sharp increase in the weight of the pregnant woman. The scars will be deep, embossed, and will occupy a large area of the skin.


Stretch marks are distributed locally in places of the strongest tension in a mild form. They do not cause itching and appear as thin and short scars. Their color will be whiter than the general skin tone.

Come to terms with the fact that your skin can change irreversibly during pregnancy.

Prevention methods

Preventing stretch marks is much easier than treating them. Preventive measures will help improve the quality of the skin of the body. Ways to prevent the symptom consist of simple hygiene, nutrition, hydration, and maintenance of skin tone. Follow these simple preventative steps to reduce your risk of scarring:

Contrast shower

Blood circulation in the tissues improves if you take a contrast shower regularly. There is an improvement in lymph flow. All tissues are filled with oxygen and blood vessels are strengthened. The skin looks healthier and more elastic. She is resilient and well-groomed. This reduces the risk of tears and scarring.

Physical exercise

Body training allows you to maintain muscle and skin tone. The best assistant in keeping fit is gymnastics and Pilates. These are wonderful activities for women that can be continued during pregnancy. Good skin tone is given by yoga, swimming, and hiking in the fresh air. Enter these physical exercises regularly and the skin will thank you.

Features of nutrition

Women who eat a lot of seafood suffer the least from stretch marks. They are rich in omega acids, which are the key to elasticity, firmness, and strength of the skin. Shape your diet so that it contains a lot of foods with vitamin E, A, B groups, omega-3, and 6, iron, and calcium long before pregnancy.

Why Stretch Marks Occur in Pregnancy?

Increased production of sex hormones causes structural changes in the skin. The synthesis of collagen and elastin is impaired. Subcutaneous tissue becomes vulnerable and sensitive, and tissues soften. Skin turgor decreases under the influence of progesterone.

The obvious reason for the appearance of stretch marks during the gestation period is the strong tension of the skin. It can begin even before the growth of the abdomen. The reason is a sharp increase in weight. It is the differences in body weight that lead to more breaks in the skin.

The breast grows, and the hips and abdomen increase in the second trimester. The subcutaneous layers under the action of tension are torn in the most vulnerable places. A scar appears at the site of the rupture. The gap takes on a dark shade due to circulatory disorders in this area.

Indirect causes of stretch marks during pregnancy: poor nutrition, increased dryness of the skin, lack of care, and sedentary lifestyle.


It is better to protect the skin from stretch marks from the first weeks of pregnancy. Use proven methods and recommendations of leading cosmetologists and dermatologists for this. Give preference only to professional means of hygiene and maintaining skin tone. Here is an example of the most effective means of helping to prevent the appearance of stretch marks and if they are present:

Weight control

Do not allow a sharp jump in weight during the gestation period. This is what most provokes ruptures of subcutaneous tissues. The more evenly the weight gain goes on, the less the risk of scarring. Weigh yourself at least once a week in the morning. Keep a weight diary. Adjust the menu.

Moisturizer or oil

There are a huge number of specialized creams aimed at maintaining skin elasticity. Cocoa butter, coconut oil, and shea butter give a long-term positive result. It is necessary to use them from the first days when you learned about pregnancy. Apply the cream all over the body with special emphasis on the areas of greatest risk: chest, abdomen, and thighs.

Support bandage and bra

These products reduce the tension of the skin and reduce the number of stretch marks. The bandage is recommended to be worn if the stomach is strongly lowered. A support bra is especially relevant for large breasts. It is advisable to sleep in special underwear that helps reduce pain with enlarged breasts and reduce stretch marks.


The appearance of stretch marks is usually not considered a pathology or a serious symptom. This is a cosmetic defect. It is better to consult a doctor when the appearance of scars is accompanied by severe itching and an unbearable feeling of tension.

It is worth visiting a doctor when stretch marks cover more than 80% of the surface of the abdomen and have a bright shade. This feature can disrupt the protective functions of the skin and require qualified advice.

What Not to Do

First of all, you do not need to treat the symptom negatively. It is better to prepare yourself for it in advance. This defect can be avoided by a small number of women. Don’t be too hard on your body. You don’t have to be perfect when life is born in you. Prohibitions for skin stretch marks:

Do not use scrubs and peels

These products act aggressively on the skin by removing the upper stratum corneum. They should not be applied to already affected areas.

Laser skin resurfacing

The method is effective but prohibited during pregnancy. Do not use it before childbirth. This can harm the baby’s health.

Practice physical activity

It is better not to perform dynamic exercises that can cause excessive tension on the skin and tear it without the support of the abdomen and chest.

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