Pregnancy brings some unavoidable problems with it backache, fatigue, queasiness, and, almost invariably, stretch marks. As the term of childbearing progresses (usually during the 6th or 7th month) something like 80% of all women can expect to find red striations to appear on the skin of the abdomen. Depending on the degree of change in weight gain, stretch marks can also develop on the upper thighs and waist.
Some dermatologists attribute the susceptibility to stretch marks in pregnancy to heredity, so some women may be at greater risk than others. Whatever the case, this need not be cosmetic Armageddon. Since the pregnancy/stretch arks connection has been discovered, a lot of research has gone into tackling the problem.
Pregnancy-related stretch marks can definitely be prevented and almost certainly minimized with the right precautions. For instance, pregnancy need not and should not equal indefinite and uncontrolled weight gain which is the main reason for stretch marks in pregnant women.
In other words, it is important that the mother-to-be maintains a strict nutritional regimen (read no compulsive consumption of dill pickles, no matter how strong the craving). At any stage of the pregnancy, weight gain should stay within 20 to 30 pounds. A proper diet should also be supplemented with regular exercise like walking and stretching. With these precautions, weight gain will follow its naturally appointed course and the skin will not be subjected to abrupt stresses which it cannot accommodate.
Maintaining proper body hydration by means of adequate water consumption will ensure that the skin stays moist and supple, thereby maintaining its elasticity and eliminating a major cause for stretch marks. In most Eastern countries, expectant mothers also receive daily oil massages with vitamin E and C-rich massage media to reduce the possibility of stretch marks � we in the West would do well to take a leaf out of that book.