Can I Prevent Stretchmarks?

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I hope 2013 has treated you well.  We here at Greer Plastic Surgery are excited to add a new addition to our staff over the next year: Baby Greer will be arriving in April or May of 2014!   Now that I’m pregnant, I have women asking me all the time how they can prevent stretchmarks.  So today I’m going to give you the low-down.

courtesy of Shutterstock.com

courtesy of Shutterstock.com

First, let me give you the bad news: stretch marks are very common.  In fact, the American Family Physician estimated that up to 90% of women develop stretch marks when pregnant.  There also seems to be a genetic component; if your mother had stretch marks, you may be more likely to get them as well.  Although there is no way to prevent stretch marks, there are a few things you can try to lessen their severity.

  • First, follow your Ob-Gyn’s recommendations for weight gain; gradual weight gain is less likely to cause stretch marks than weight gain over a short period of time.
  • Second, be aware that moisturized skin stretches more easily (and is thus less likely to develop stretch marks).  Stay hydrated with plenty of water (again, follow your physician’s recommendations), and use a heavy moisturizing cream three times a day to keep skin moist.

And if you do develop stretch marks, don’t despair!  Although initially pink-red and very noticeable, they will fade with time.  In addition, treatments using broad-band light (BBL) can speed this process of fading.  There are also laser treatments which show promise for improving the appearance of stretch marks even after they have faded.  So my advice to you: do what you can for now, including moisturizing your skin, but don’t worry about what you have little control over.  Relax, enjoy your new baby, and make an appointment with a Plastic Surgeon if those stretchmarks continue to bother you.

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Disclaimer: This webpage is for general information only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical illness, or give any specific medical advice. Because medical knowlege is constantly evolving, I cannot guarantee the accuracy or timeliness of any information in this blog.

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