Are stretch marks avoidable?

“I just got pregnant and I’m so worried about stretch marks. What can I do?” wails a distressed woman in this Q&A style article. Dr. Judith Reichman replies that basically, if your body is prone to stretch marks, there’s nothing you can do to prevent them. Just deal with it and move on to more important issues (Note: that’s my advice, not Dr. Reichman’s…) A recent study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found several “risk factors” for developing SG (striae gravidarum – the medical term for stretch marks related to pregnancy.) They include weight gain (um, don’t most pregnant women gain weight?), maternal age (the younger you are the more likely you are to develop SG), and family history (you are prone to stretch marks if you’ve got some already, just from growing up).
I remember when I first saw the signs of stretch marks. Although I’ve got them all over my body, I thought I’d escaped SG becuase my belly was still stretch-mark free into my 9th month. And then, suddenly, a few weeks before d-day, there they were!! Just crept up on me and shouted “Hellooo, here we are!” Uninvited, and unwated. They decided they wanted to stick around, and nothing I said or did would convince them to go.
Sadly, there are no magical creams or ointments that will prevent stretch marks. Just look at them as battle scars, accept them with dignity, wear them proudly…  And start buying one-piece bathing suits.

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