Stretch marks with twin or triplet pregnancy
Stretch marks with twin or triplet pregnancy is one of the things that women fear most. While stretch marks are not harmful, but they can cause women to feel distressed. Yes, of course we are all grateful for our body and the amazing things it has done in carrying two, three or even four babies at once. And yes, we all know they are our “tiger stripes which we have earned and that we should wear them with pride”.
However, like anything, you are still allowed to mourn the fact that they have appeared! It doesn’t make you selfish or self-centred.
But what are stretch marks anyway? And why do they occur?
Unless you are a doctor or a beautician you may not know much about the skin. So let’s start with a basic anatomy lesson.
The skin has two layers – a thin upper layer called the epidermis, and a thicker, lower layer called the dermis. Scattered in the dermis are fine protein filaments called elastin that, like a piece of rubber band, are capable of stretching on being pulled. But just as a rubber band can stretch only so far and no further, these elastin fibres can also be stretched only to a certain extent. If stretched further, they snap. The increasing bulk of the uterus during a multiple birth pregnancy causes the skin to stretch to a great extent and the elastin fibres are torn. The torn elastin produces scars on the skin called Stria Gravidarum or stretch marks.
What do stretch marks look like?
Not all stretch marks look alike. They will vary due to the length of time they have been present, where on the body they are and the type of skin the person has. Some may just be lightly indented streaks, or they may be dark pink, purple or even bluish in colour.
If your stretch marks get raised red and become itchy, then make sure you go and see your health care professional, as you may have something called pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy (PUPPP). This isn’t dangerous, but it can be extremely irritating. In the most severe cases of PUPP the babies may need to be delivered early to ease the irritation.
Stretch marks with twin or triplet pregnancy
In pregnancy, heredity plays an important role in determining who will have and will not have stretch marks. If your mother has had them, chances are that you will get them too, unless you were born with stretchy skin.
However, not everyone will get stretch marks during a multiple birth pregnancy.
The only way to avoid stretch marks is to prevent them. And the best way to reduce the likelihood of getting stretch marks is to maintain a healthy weight (which is obviously hard when you are expecting multiple babies!).
Women with strong abdominal muscles may avoid stretch marks moreso than those who are weaker. This is because the these muscles can more easily take the weight of the growing uterus and prevent it from pressing forwards on the skin. Rather like wearing a strong muscular belt under the skin. The skin is thus stretched less, less elastin fibres are damaged, and there are fewer stretch marks.
Tips to help avoid stretch marks in a multiple birth pregnancy
As with everything in a multiple birth pregnancy, nothing is guaranteed! Stretch marks with twin or triplet pregnancy may or may not occur. And there isn’t a lot you can do about it. Here are some tips that may help.
- Regular exercise will help tone your muscles and keep your skin firm. Make sure you speak to a pregnancy trained physio before starting a new exercise regime.
- Skin that is supple, healthy and well moisturized may be capable of stretching more without any lasting damage. Therefore, if a woman can strengthen her abdominal muscles and keep her skin healthy and supple, there is a lesser chance of developing stretch marks.
- Maintain healthy diet and drink plenty of water. Plenty of proteins and vitamin C & E foods should be included in your diet.
- Wear a good supportive maternity bra. Make sure you regularly get professionally fitted, as you will probably increase in size several times during your pregnancy.
Unfortunately, I know if a few multi mums who made it all the way though their multiple birth pregnancy with zero stretchmarks……only to have them appear two or three days after giving birth!
How can you get rid of stretch marks?
The good thing about stretch marks is that they fade over time. When they are first formed, they are reddish or purplish. Later on they will fade to become thin silvery lines that may not be visible at first glance.
The bad thing about stretch marks is that they can only be removed permanently by surgery. Yes, elastin and collagen growth can be stimulated to some extent by some creams. However, to remove the marks completely, laser surgery, blue light therapy and other surgical treatments are the only options.
If your stretch marks are really affecting you, try some mindset techniques. For example, I try to think of them as “strength marks” as opposed to “stretch marks”.
Regardless of what you think about your stretch marks I can guarantee you that your precious babies and children think you are perfect, just the way you are.