Tamsen Carson, Physician Assistant
You can do your best to prevent stretch marks, but about 95 percent of all women get some during pregnancy. It depends largely on your weight gain, how and where you gain the weight, and if you use a lot of creams and lotions that help keep the skin lubricated and more stretchable.
First off, gaining the recommended 25-35lb (based on a normal starting weight) will help a lot. When you gain too much, you will increase your fat around your abdomen, hips and thighs, which is where most stretch marks appear during pregnancy. Eating a well-balanced diet and exercising daily will make a big difference in your weight gain.
Your doctor will watch your weight gain at your visits, and let you know if it is too much or too little. Some women quickly gain weight in their breasts and their hips widen during the first few months of pregnancy, and stretch marks are hard to prevent when this happens.
Stretch marks are unfortunately permanent, but can fade greatly after six months, especially if you use creams that are high in vitamin E when they are still red.