Everything you need to know about pregnancy marks

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Pregnancy marks

Pregnancy leaves its mark in some form or another on every woman. Whether it’s body shape, skin colouration or stretch marks, some parts of you may never be the same again. But before you panic, there are other things that do fade. Precisely what will last and what will disappear is anyone’s guess, but if you treat the symptoms carefully as soon as they appear and keep it up throughout your pregnancy, then chances are they will soon be nothing more than a faded memory… here are a few of the most common pregnancy marks and how to treat them.

Stretch marks
Every pregnant woman fears the stretch mark. It depends on your skin type and how elastic it is, but research claims up to 80% of women will get them. Creams, lotions and oils may claim to prevent them but the truth is they can’t stop them forming, they can just reduce their appearance. Stretch marks occur when the skin is stretched extensively over a short period. The rapid stretch causes the middle layer of the skin (the dermis) to tear, allowing the skin layers beneath to show through – this is what forms the marks. The blood vessels at the tear show through, which is why stretch marks are often initially red or purple. During pregnancy they are most likely to appear on your stomach, breasts or thighs. After childbirth these stretch marks will fade and over time they will become less noticeable, but there is no telling whether they will ever disappear completely. During pregnancy, keep your skin moisturised and take your prenatal vitamins, drink plenty of water and stick to a healthy diet.

Skin darkening
You may notice that your skin is getting darker in certain areas. This is particularly common in dark-skinned women, who may notice a change in the colour of the nipples, linea alba (line on your stomach) and facial pigmentation. This is known as melisma or chloasma – and has also been nicknamed the pregnancy mask – and it is probably going to go away once your baby is born. If it doesn’t, it can be treated with certain creams that you can get from a dermatologist. Minimise it by staying out of the sun and using a high sun protection factor whenever you go outside.

PUPPP
No, it’s not a cute, furry little baby dog. PUPPP stands for pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy. It reveals itself as a series of small, very itchy bumps that can appear on the skin during your third trimester. They are particularly prevalent on the stomach, thighs, butt, breasts and upper arms. The good news is they do go away after pregnancy and just because you had them during one pregnancy doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have them in the next one. They are quite common during the first, but don’t always manifest again. If you are experiencing these symptoms, chat to sisters at your clinic or your gynae who will treat them accordingly.

Other articles you may be interested in:
Pregnancy and breast cancer
Tips for a stress-free childbirth
Pregnancy and pigmentation
Hair and your baby bump
Sex and your pregnancy

Written by

Emily Pettit-Coetzee is a freelance writer and a blogger of lovely things. She spends her days writing about everything from corporate finance to teen fashion and has a weakness for vintage fashion and red lipstick.

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  1. Aqeela Galvaan

    The only product that helped reduce the redness of my stretch marks was Mama Mio tummy rub butter and oil. Unfortunately stretch marks are inevitable for most women during pregnancy

    4 years ago •

  1. Sam

    I was lucky because I did not carry a big bump, so stretching was minimal. I did how every use Bio Oil just to improve the elasticity.

    4 years ago •

  1. LOUISE

    I started using various tissue oils and lotions from nearly 4 weeks of pregnancy… I constantly felt like an oily dougnut, but it was ALL worth it, as I have no strechmarks today. Best product accordign to me – PALMERS!!! Unfortunately I wasn’t as lucky avoiding the terrible “pregnancy mask” and to day still suffer from hyper pigmentation marks on my face.

    4 years ago •

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