I’m a model and currently pregnant. What can I do to stop stretch marks?
I appreciate your concern about your body, especially as looking good affects your work so much. Unfortunately there are no pills, creams or magic lotions that will make a difference as to whether or not someone will get stretch marks, and how badly they will get them if they do. Stretch marks are not directly related to how much your stomach has to grow and expand; they are probably connected with the collagen and elastin content of your skin. Stretch marks, also called striae gravidarum, occur as the collagen layer of the skin stretches over areas of fat deposition, such as breasts, abdomen and thighs 1.
The marks can be red and livid in pregnancy, but in the weeks and months following delivery, they lose their colour, usually becoming silvery-white and less obvious.
This stretching of the skin can cause itching. Moisturising the skin can help with this. Use a non-perfumed lotion, oil or cream so as not to cause further irritation. Rubbing almond oil, vitamin E or wheat germ oil over the abdomen may also help to relieve any discomfort. These are all safe to use in pregnancy. This is also a great way to bond with baby.
Eating a healthy diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, drinking plenty of clear fluids to ensure you are well hydrated will also help the condition of your skin. Taking regular exercise will help you to maintain an ideal weight during pregnancy, therefore minimising the chances of developing stretch marks.
1Medforth J et al. (2006) Oxford Handbook of Midwifery. Adaptation to pregnancy.