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Pregnancy stretch marks

Are pregnancy stretch marks preventable?

Stretch marks may be a harmless side effect of pregnancy, but they're a source of frustration for many new moms. They most commonly show up on the abdomen and breasts, but can also pop up on the thighs, buttocks and upper arms. Unfortunately, stretch marks that appear during pregnancy are primarily hereditary. Another contributing factor is weight gain, and that is one reason, among many, that Tanya Beckford, M.D., an obstetrician and gynecologist at Piedmont, stresses the importance of managing weight gain during pregnancy.

“On average, expectant mothers should gain between 25 to 35 pounds,” says Dr. Beckford. “Stretch marks occur as connective tissues change. During pregnancy, this can happen rapidly when skin does not have a chance to adjust, especially if a woman gains too much weight too fast.”

Will cocoa butter prevent stretch marks?

While there is no scientific evidence that applying cocoa butter to stretch marks helps minimize their appearance, Dr. Beckford says it does not hurt to get in the habit of lathering up. Lotion has a replenishing effect that is rejuvenating for skin.

She also recommends patients who are concerned about stretch marks make an appointment with a dermatologist. They are easier to treat when they are in early stages and appear as red marks.

“Most of my patients come to realize and accept that stretch marks are another natural part of motherhood,” says Dr. Beckford. “And once the baby is born, priorities have an amazing way of shifting. The good news is, stretch marks will fade with time.”

For more pregnancy health tips, click here.

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