Q: Can I Prevent Stretch Marks?

Pregnancy & Fertility | | May 26, 2010 at 8:33 am
Photo by Mai Le.

Photo by Mai Le.

Q: I’m pregnant and worried about getting stretch marks! Is there anything I can do to prevent them for these 10 lunar months? Laura G. Portland, Oregon

A: Stretch marks, also known as striae, appear as raised, red lines on the skin. These striae are caused by the loss of elasticity in the dermis (collagen and elastin), the underlying skin layer. These non-forgiving marks will start as red, raised marks, yet eventually will fade to a white or silver. They usually occur on your buttocks, thighs, hips, and breasts in addition to the abdomen. Rapid weight gain or excessive weight gain may also cause stretch marks to appear.

How you develop (or if you develop) stretch marks depends on the elasticity of your skin, and possibly even your genes. If other female family members have had a problem with stretch marks during pregnancy, you may too.

There are so many creams and oils out on the market these days, you will have many to choose from. Whatever you choose, I recommend using an organic product, and massage twice a day into your abdomen. At the very least, it’s a nice quiet time to connect with your baby while massaging the belly.

If you develop stretch marks during your pregnancy, massage them with oil at least twice a day to reduce their appearance. Use a carrier oil, such as almond or apricot oil, and add a few drops of an essential oil such as lavender. Moms, do you have a special natural recipe that works for you? Please share your stretch mark prevention tips here or at Facebook with other expecting moms!

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AmyAmy Chitwood, L.Ac. is a graduate of the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine. She is nationally board certified in Chinese herbal medicine and manages the Portland Acupuncture Blog.

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  1. This was an interesting treatment from Bob Flaws via facebook.


    Bob Flaws A Chinese treatment for stretch marks:

    Massage the abdomen for 10 minutes. Then massage egg whites into the skin for another 10 minutes. Then wrap cotton gauze around the waist and abdomen. Leave in place till bed-time. Remove the gauze and wash off the egg whites. Repeat again the next day, etc., etc.
    July 23 at 10:06am ·

    So in the above Chinese, it says that egg whites are sweet and cold and that they are able to clear heat & resolve toxins. When used externally, they can promote the growth of tissue, heal open wounds, and pull together and tighten the skin…. When used for postpartum stretch marks, they have a good effect as well as generally helping the body to recuperate.

    But messy. How many American women would keep this together day in and day out for several weeks?

  2. Here’s more of a resource for Bob Flaws:


    Bob Flaws on stretch marks: Blue Poppy’s new Scar Ointment garnered lots of interest, including whether or not it’s be good for stretch marks. Having spent the last day researching stretch marks, I’d say yes, as long as the stretch marks are red or purple. That means that they are in their initial stage, i.e., before they fade to white.