Stretch Marks: Cause, Prevention and Treatment

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Unfortunately, for most people stretch marks are just a part of pregnancy. Genetics is the strongest predictor of whether a pregnant women will get them. Healthy weight gain during pregnancy can help prevent them while keeping skin moisturized.

Unfortunately, stretch marks are a part of life and a very common part of pregnancy. Genetics is the best predictor of whether you may get stretch marks.

Stretch marks occur when the skin stretches quickly as your body changes to accommodate the pregnancy. They are most common anywhere you may gain weight during pregnancy, typically the breasts, hips, stomach and thighs.

Preventing Stretch Marks

The best way to prevent stretch marks is to gain a healthy amount of weight during pregnancy, which is currently 25-to-30 pounds for a person of a healthy weight. This can be achieved by eating a healthy, balanced diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables and lean protein. Exercise is also an important component.

Keeping the skin moisturized with a fragrance-free and color-free lotion can help reduce the appearance of stretch marks. Cocoa butter is commonly recommended but I find that it may cause skin irritation, so lotions made for sensitive skin are better options.

Treatment options are limited, but when the stretch marks are new and still red, you can apply vitamin E oil from a capsule or use a lotion containing vitamin E to help with healing. They will fade to a whitish color over time. If you have questions, be sure to talk with your physician. Visit Renown online to find a doctor.

Tamsen Carson, PA


Tamsen Carson is an OB/GYN physician assistant with Renown Health. She provides essential prenatal, pregnancy and post-pregnancy care to women, including delivering babies. Tamsen completed her OB/GYN Physician Assistant residency at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton, CA and has been a part of the Renown Health team for more than five years.

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