Your baby does a lot of growing toward the eighth month of pregnancy, and so does your belly. In some women, the rapid weight gain pulls the skin so much that you end up with stretch marks -- bands, stripes or lines that appear reddish at first and fade to a silvery white over time. More than half of all pregnant women develop these unsightly striae, reports "Parents." There's little you can do to prevent them -- especially if you're genetically prone to their development.
Rapid Weight Gain
Limiting your weight gain to the 25 to 35 pounds recommended for women of normal weight can deter the development of stretch marks. In the eighth month, however, your baby is growing considerably, and you can't always control how much you gain during this time. Dieting or overexercising is not recommended to prevent this.
Can Creams Help?
Certain creams promise to prevent stretch marks, but cocoa butter has been proved ineffective in a study published in a 2008 issue of "BJOG." Vitamin E creams have more promise in potentially preventing stretch marks in pregnant women. A study identified by the "Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews" in 2000 found that using a product containing alpha tocopherol -- a component of vitamin E -- Centella asiatica extract and collagen-elastin hydrolysates resulted in fewer stretch marks, specifically in women who had experienced stretch marks in the past. The stage of pregnancy in which the cream was potentially effective was not specified.
- Parents: How Can I Prevent Stretch Marks During Pregnancy?
- BJOG: Cocoa Butter Lotion for Prevention of Striae Gravidarum: A Double-Blind, Randomised and Placebo-Controlled Trial
- Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Creams for Preventing Stretch Marks in Pregnancy
- What to Expect: Third Trimester of Pregnancy