If you’ve begun to research pregnancy side effects, you have no doubt encountered the dreaded words: stretch marks. These little beauties are, unfortunately, highly likely during pregnancy ““ an estimated 90 percent of women receive these “badges of honor.”
There are two things that cause stretch marks: the body expanding more quickly than the skin covering it and pregnancy hormones relaxing the bonds between collagen fibers. Expansion stretch marks can happen at any time ““ whether during pregnancy, a growth spurt or weight gain, however the second cause is unique to pregnancy (lucky us). So are we doomed or is there a way to prevent stretch marks?
What Can I Do to Prevent Stretch Marks?
Much of the determination of whether you will experience stretch marks as a result of pregnancy is predetermined by genetics; if you already have stretch marks from weight gain or puberty, you are more susceptible. However, there are a few things that you can do to better your advantage in the battle.
The best thing you can do is maintain a healthy pregnancy ““ carefully watch your diet so that you gain weight gradually. Remember that a woman who is in a healthy weight range pre-pregnancy should only gain 25-35 pounds over the course of the entire 40 weeks. By gaining weight gradually throughout your pregnancy, you will allow the collagen fibers time to relax and the skin time to properly expand over your growing body ““ increasing the odds that you will successfully prevent stretch marks.