Among the list of things moms have to endure to bring their children into the world is perhaps one of the most nagging (to her vanity at least): stretch marks.
Sure, your baby is worth it – but boy, wouldn't it be nice if you could minimize pregnancy's effects on your skin?
Dr. Michelle Bruner, a Wyandotte-based dermatologist, says moms can minimize stretch marks but may not be able to prevent or eliminate them entirely.
"Before baby is born, use a good cream to keep the skin soft and hydrated," she says.
Creams with vitamin C can promote collagen production and help thwart early-stage stretch marks.
If you do get stretch marks – and studies have found that the majority of moms do – they will likely fade and be less noticeable over time.
However, if your stretch marks are more pronounced and you're interested in seeking additional treatments, you should do so after your baby is born.
"The best ways to get rid of stretch marks are not safe during pregnancy," says Bruner, who adds that it's best to consult with your doctor before starting any treatment for stretch marks while breastfeeding.
If you get the green light from your doctor, you can explore the following options:
- Retinoid creams, which have shown to help decrease the red or purplish color that is common with newer stretch marks.
- Other topical creams that include chemicals, such as glycolic acid or trichloroacetic acid.
- Laser therapy, to help reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
Consult with your doctor to determine the best treatment plan for you. Be sure to consider the age of the stretch marks, the convenience of the treatment – and the cost, too. Keep in mind that many treatments for stretch marks are considered cosmetic and are not covered by health insurance.
Treating stretch marks is most effective when the marks are still new and have a reddish or purple color to them.