As your belly expands, the skin stretches to accommodate your new baby. Dark lines often develop in response to the pressure and are referred to as "stretch marks." There's no way to predict whether you'll get stretch marks, though you are more likely to develop these pink, purple or brown lines on your skin if you have a family history of them. While you may not be able to completely avoid the unsightly marks, some vitamins may help to reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
A derivative of vitamin A, called tretinoin or Retin-A, may be one of the most effective ways to reduce the appearance of stretch marks, according to MayoClinic.com. Creams and lotions made with this ingredient are available over-the-counter, and you can get a prescription for stronger versions from your dermatologist. Tretinoin works best on new stretch marks that are less than six weeks old, which causes a big problem when you're pregnant. The chemical should never be used in any form as long as you are still carrying your baby. It does help to rebuild collagen, however, and may have a slight effect on older stretch marks. Good sources of dietary vitamin A include most fruits and vegetables and may help you maintain efficient collagen production to prevent heavy stretch marks.
Although the National Institutes of Health report that there is insufficient evidence to support the use of vitamin K for stretch marks, hospitals routinely use vitamin K creams to reduce bruising and speed up skin healing following surgery. In your diet, you get vitamin K from leafy green, vociferous vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts and kale. When looking for a cream to rub on your stretch marks following your delivery, you should opt for products that carry vitamin K1, a less toxic, stronger version of the supplement.
Taking care of your skin during pregnancy is just as important as it is at other times in your life. The most effective way to make sure your skin is healthy is to keep your entire body healthy through a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables that provide sufficient vitamin C. Citrus fruits, carrots and milk are good sources of vitamin C that can lead to smooth, stretch-mark-free skin.
Many lotion manufacturers tout their products containing vitamin E as effective means of ridding yourself of stretch marks while you’re pregnant. The creams may make your skin feel smoother and suppler, but they probably will have little effect on the stretch marks. Other ingredients you'll often find included with E supplements are cocoa butter and aloe, which are not harmful to use while you're pregnant.