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How can I prevent pregnancy stretch marks?
Q: I’m three months pregnant. How can I prevent stretch marks?
Laura E. Stachel, M.D.
A: Between 50 and 90 percent of pregnant women develop stretch marks on the abdomen, breasts, thighs, hips or buttocks. As your skin stretches to accommodate your growing baby, collagen, the major connective tissue protein in your skin, can break down, leaving lines on your skin that appear slightly indented, ranging in colour from faint pink to purple. Whether you acquire prominent stretch marks or not depends on your skin type, the amount of weight you gain and your hormone levels. Stretch marks can also occur with prolonged use of steroid skin creams.

Stretch marks tend to fade following pregnancy. However, they will not disappear. Laser therapy is an expensive treatment option that may improve the appearance of some stretch marks.

Although an entire industry is devoted to convincing women that stretch marks can be prevented or removed with creams or other skin products, most of these claims are false. Oils and creams may keep your skin moist and supple, but won’t actually prevent stretch marks from occurring. So avoid being lured by expensive skin products and use any moisturizing skin cream or lotion.

Laura E. Stachel M.D. Obstetrician & Gynecologist