They’re long, pink/red/brown scarring streaks that form when your skin expands or shrinks rapidly. This abrupt change leads essential skin proteins, specifically collagen and elastin, to rupture. Stretch marks develop as the skin begins to heal.
Initially itchy, thin, and pink in color, stretch marks turn into long, reddish-brown streaks. They tend to gradually fade to white or gray, and typically appear around the breasts, abdomen, buttocks, and thighs. There is some variation in appearance from one individual to the next.
Stretch marks occur in roughly 90 percent of pregnant women. Research shows that women with a larger abdominal circumference, higher body mass index before pregnancy, and greater weight gain are particularly susceptible. Other contributing factors include family history, age (younger moms are more likely to have them), and whether or not you’re carrying twins.
Although they affect physical appearance to some extent, stretch marks do not negatively impact your health.
Are pregnancy stretch marks permanent?
Since stretch marks are a form of scarring, they can never be completely removed from your skin. However, they have been known to fade over time, and certain treatments make them less noticeable.
When do stretch marks appear during pregnancy?
Most pregnant women usually spot stretch marks in the final trimester, around the sixth or seventh month. In rare cases, stretch marks may present themselves as soon as the expectant mother’s abdomen starts to grow.
Stretch marks on thighs
Pronounced weight gain and skin stretching normally occurs in the thighs and legs during pregnancy. This is why stretch marks often develop on the inner and upper thighs, as well as behind the knees.
Stretch marks on stomach
Pregnancy stretch marks are prevalent in the abdominal area as the skin in this region undergoes the most dramatic expansion. They’ll become increasingly noticeable as your baby bump continues to grow.