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Stretch marks

Some women get stretch marks, and others don't, and there is not much you can do about them if you are going to get them.

The stretch occurs in the collagen level of the skin, and is thought to be linked in some way to the production of cortico-steroids during pregnancy. Whether you get them or not is largely a matter of heredity.

Stretch marks can appear on the abdomen, thighs, breasts and buttocks; initially as deep reddish-purple marks. Within six months of giving birth they will have faded to almost imperceptible white streaks, which will only show up slightly.

Although you can't prevent stretch marks entirely, you can keep your skin supple and your circulation active with regular, gentle exercise such as walking or swimming. Daily massage after the first three months of pregnancy, using a rich base oil such as avocado, peach nut kernel or jojoba, to which wheatgerm and essential oil of Mandarin have been added, keeps the skin particularly supple and may help to reduce stretch marks.

One homoeopathic remedy that is sometimes recommended is Calcarea fluorica. Excessive weight gain will exacerbate stretch marks, but dieting during pregnancy is inappropriate, and in any case won't prevent them.

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