Published 20 February 2022
Dermatologists have said there is no scientific evidence to support the claim that scratching or rubbing the stomach in a particular way can cause stretch marks during pregnancy.
The skin experts also noted that that there’s no evidence supporting the claim that applying cocoa butter prevents stretch marks during pregnancy.
According to them, the factors that could predispose a pregnant woman to developing stretch marks during pregnancy include body expansion and weight gain.
Also, a recent paper published online by the United Kingdom health servive backs the experts position. The UK National Health Service say that gaining more than an average weight in pregnancy can predispose pregnant women to developing stretch marks.
According to the paper, “You are more likely to get stretch marks if your weight gain is more than average in pregnancy. Most women gain about 10 to 12.5kg in pregnancy, although weight gain varies a great deal from woman to woman.
“It’s important that you do not diet to lose weight when you’re pregnant, but you should eat a healthy, balanced diet,” the health organisation said.
The experts who spoke exclusively to PUNCH HealthWise, Consultant Dermatologist, Dr. Haroun Adamu and Consultant Dermatologist and Venereologist Dr. Sebastine Oiwoh explained that the genetic make up and family history of the pregnant women also play a crucial role in the development or not of stretch marks.
Dr. Adamu, who is with the Federal Medical Centre, Abuja, said it is important to clarify that most of the opinion people share about stretch marks are myths, noting that stretch marks only occur when the inner elastic fibre of the skin breaks.
In his words, “There are lots of myths about what can cause stretch marks but the truth is that stretch marks only occur when the skin is unable to cope with the growth and expansion of your body. That is when certain elastic fibres under the skin are stretched to the point of breakage.
“Rapid, extreme weight can cause stretch marks but there is no scientific evidence that shows that rubbing your stomach in any way can result in stretch marks.
“In as much as weight gain and body expansions are all parts of pregnancy, there’s no particular way a woman can prevent stretch marks and when the body is stretched out, the fibres are broken then stretch marks occur.
“This weight gain and expansion of the body are all a normal part of pregnancy and the degree to which a woman develops stretch marks in different parts of the body also vary among different women.
“There’s no scientific evidence that shows that you can do certain things to prevent stretch marks.”
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