women

Your Pregnancy After 35 : How Your Body Changes during Pregnancy (part 1) - Skin Changes, Stretch Marks

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1. Skin Changes

Most women experience skin changes during pregnancy. Some find their skin becomes less oily and softer. Others develop acne. Many skin changes are due to the hormones of pregnancy; skin often returns to normal after baby is born.

Many women believe their skin becomes more alive and glowing while they are pregnant. Although there is no medical fact to back this belief, many women do seem to “glow” during pregnancy.

2. Stretch Marks

Stretch marks, also called striae distensae, may occur more often in older women. These marks occur when the elastic fibers and collagen in deeper layers of your skin are pulled apart to make room for baby. When skin tears, collagen breaks down and shows through the top layer of skin as a pink, red or purple indented streak.

Nearly 9 out of 10 pregnant women develop stretch marks on their breasts, tummy, hips, buttocks and/or arms. They may appear any time during pregnancy. After birth, they may fade to the same color as the rest of your skin, but they won’t go away completely.

To date, no one has found a reliable way of avoiding stretch marks. Women have tried many lotions, creams and other remedies, with little success. There is no harm in using lotion products, but they probably won’t prevent you from getting stretch marks.

During the first trimester, you will notice few changes in your body

During the first trimester, you will notice few changes in your body.

You can help yourself by gaining weight slowly and steadily during pregnancy. Any large increase in weight can cause stretch marks to appear more readily.

Drink lots of water, and eat healthy foods. Foods high in antioxidants provide nutrients needed to repair and to heal tissue. Eating enough protein and smaller amounts of “good” fats, such as flaxseed, flaxseed oil and fish oils, may also help you.

Stay out of the sun! Keep up with your exercise program.

Ask your healthcare provider about using creams with alpha-hydroxy acid, citric acid or lactic acid. Some of these creams and lotions improve the quality of the skin’s elastic fibers.

Don’t use steroid creams, such as hydrocortisone or topicort, to treat stretch marks during pregnancy without first checking with your healthcare provider. You absorb some of the steroid into your system, and it can pass to baby. And stretch creams really can’t penetrate deeply enough to repair damage to your skin.

Your body undergoes fantastic changes later in pregnancy. Close to delivery, your uterus takes up a great deal of room and “rearranges” various organs

Your body undergoes fantastic changes later in pregnancy. Close to delivery, your uterus takes up a great deal of room and “rearranges” various organs.

Some additional treatments may help after baby is born. Retin-A or Renova, used in combination with glycolic acid, is fairly effective. Prescriptions are needed for Retin-A and Renova; you can get glycolic acid from your dermatologist. Cellex-C, with glycolic acid, also improves the appearance of stretch marks. The most effective treatment—but the most costly—is laser treatment. This is often done in combination with the medication methods described above. All of these treatments are done after pregnancy.

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