You wake up, just like you have every other day during your pregnancy. You look in the mirror and notice unusual red streaks at the base of your baby bump.
Do not be alarmed. Chances are you have stretch marks. These are a common occurrence during pregnancy.
During pregnancy, your body will grow at faster rate than normal. Unfortunately, the skin on most expecting mothers cannot keep up with this explosive growth. Your rapidly expanding body places tremendous pressure on your skin.
This pressure from your rapidly expanding body could not come at a worse time. Hormonal factors associated with pregnancy reduce the formation of the elastic fibers and collagen in the lower layers of skin.
Your expanding body pushes against these weakened elastic fibers so much that something has to give. And it does. The elastic fibers break, leading to stretch marks.
Stretch marks from pregnancy are completely natural and affect the majority of women. Estimates place the figure at between 75% and 90% of women going through pregnancy will experience stretch marks. Stretch marks generally appear in the final few weeks of pregnancy.
Stretch often shock new mothers as they are not commonly portrayed in the media (Unless they are trying to sell you a miracle stretch mark curing cream that is). Those beautiful stretch mark free pregnant women you see on television have very likely been digitally retouched and are definitely not the norm.
Mothers to be who put on a huge amount of weight or are blessed with more than one baby are most at risk of developing stretch marks.
Women who are younger when they fall pregnant, particularly teenagers, are more likely to develop stretch marks than those who fall pregnant older.
Some woman will have already experienced stretch marks on their skin prior to becoming pregnant. These women are at much higher risk of stretch marks appearing during pregnancy.
Some expectant mothers will have a genetic predisposition to stretch marks. Check to see if your mother or grandmother had stretch marks during pregnancy. If so, you are at an increased risk of stretch marks regardless of body size and age.
The visible signs of stretch marks will vary from mother to mother. How your stretch marks appear will depend on skin tone and amount of weight put on.
During pregnancy stretch marks will appear as pink or red or reddish-brown lines. This is actually the blood vessels showing through the tearing of the middle layer of skin.
These lines will appear in the areas including and surround your belly; Such as your legs, thighs, and hips, however, they can also appear on other parts of your body.
There is no guaranteed way to prevent stretch marks, any product claiming to do so are just after your money. These products are applied to the external layer of skin but it is the layer underneath which stretches.
Despite this, there are measures you can take to limit your risk of stretch marks appearing during pregnancy. Unfortunately, if you are reading this
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No. Stretch marks are superficial. While they may look unsightly, they have not been proven to negatively impact on your overall health.