While having a baby is a wonderful occasion, the stretch marks that are left behind may not be as welcomed.
Fifty percent of pregnant women develop stretch marks during their pregnancy and the severity, color, and duration may vary for women due to genetics, nutrition, overall health, and whether or not they smoke.
Stretch marks begin as shiny red or purple lines and appear on the stomach, buttock, hips, and breasts. As time passes they take on a silvery or white appearance and while they may not completely disappear. Stretch marks can fade within 6-12 months after giving birth.
Many pregnant women try to prevent stretch marks by drinking plenty of fluids, maintaining regular exercise habits, and refraining from excessive weight gain. They also use over-the-counter products such as Reviva, cocoa butter, or vitamin E oil. While there is no scientific proof that these will completely prevent stretch marks, rubbing lotion or oil onto your belly every night may stop itching and help to retain elasticity during pregnancy.
If stretch marks continue to be a nuisance, some women consider using Retin-A post-pregnancy. (Consult with a doctor regarding Retin-A if you are breastfeeding.) Still, other women opt for laser treatments. Keep in mind that these treatments are considered to be cosmetic, so most insurance companies will not cover the expense.