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Stretch Marks from Pregnancy

Pregnancy Facts

A dermatologist can treat any stretch marks that remain after a birth. Some doctors use topical prescription treatments that contain formulations such as glycolic acid. A recent study found that Retonoic acid reduced the length of stretch marks by 14 percent and the width by 8 percent. Laser treatments are also now being used to minimize the appearance of stretch marks.

How do you think you'll look with stretch marks? Well, you might want to convince yourself that you'll look great, because about 50 percent of pregnant women get stretch marks. As the name implies, these pale to dark red or purple streaks occur when the skin stretches to accommodate the growth of your belly. They can occur just about anywhere, but breasts, hips, abdomen, and thighs are the most common spots. If you're dark-skinned and/or have a mother or sister who had stretch marks, it's very likely you will join the club.

Don't get too upset about these badges of motherhood, there's nothing much you can do about them and you probably won't be wearing a bikini anytime soon anyway. Some women rub on special creams made to minimize these marks. The rubbing might make them feel better, but no cream currently on the market has been medically proven to effectively reduce stretch marks. Most stretch marks on light-skinned women fade on their own to a silvery white color.

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth © 2004 by Michele Isaac Gliksman, M.D. and Theresa Foy DiGeronimo. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

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