Women experience many changes to their bodies during pregnancy. Some women develop thick luscious locks and strong long nails. Others watch in amazement as their breasts almost double in size and, of course, let’s not forget about that growing baby bump.
As a woman’s belly stretches and grows throughout the 9 months of pregnancy, it is very common for stretch marks to appear.
If you have stretch marks on your stomach and are worried they might tear open, rip or bleed, this article has all the information you need.
In this article
- Why Do Women Get Stretch Marks During Pregnancy?
- Can Your Skin Rip From Stretch Marks?
- Painful Stretch Marks During Pregnancy
- Why Do My Stretch Marks Look Like They’re Bleeding?
- How Do You Treat Bleeding Stretch Marks?
- The Final Thought
Why Do Women Get Stretch Marks During Pregnancy?
When you become pregnant, people who are already parents love to share their horror stories.
You have probably already heard more gruesome birth stories than you care to remember and we wouldn’t be surprised if you have learned more about your neighbor’s postpartum recovery than you ever needed (or wanted) to know.
For the most part, parents just like to share their own experiences and they are not trying to scare you.
Perhaps you have stumbled upon this article because someone recently told you that when they were pregnant their stretch marks actually ripped open and they were bleeding for days.
Fear not, we are here to set the record straight about stretch marks during pregnancy and what you can do if you notice your stretch marks opening up. Firstly, let’s take a little look into why women get stretch marks during pregnancy.
Stretch marks form during pregnancy for several reasons. Firstly, just think for a moment how much your skin has to stretch to accommodate your growing baby bump.
Nine months may feel like forever when you are pregnant, but it is actually quite a short period of time to grow that drastically.
Some women go from having a completely flat, toned stomach to having a giant baby bump that has all their clothes bursting at the seams. When you think about it, it is surprising that any woman can make it through pregnancy without getting any stretch marks at all.
Skin elasticity is a key factor in whether you will get stretch marks or not during pregnancy. If your skin is naturally stretchy, you are less likely to get stretch marks because your skin elasticity is high.
View in gallery
This is something many women try to boost using creams and oils but it is mostly in your genes. Ask your mom if she has stretch marks, ask your nan too and the other women in your family.
It is not all down to genetics and every woman and her pregnancy is unique. But if your mom had stretch marks when she was expecting you, there is a good chance you will get them too.
Another reason why women develop stretch marks during pregnancy is that hormones can soften the fibers of your skin, making it more prone to stretch marks.
Research suggests that eight out of ten women will develop stretch marks during pregnancy. This is not surprising when you consider how much a woman’s body changes and grows while she is growing a baby.
Stretch marks appear when the body grows too quickly for the skin to keep up, this rapid growth causes the elastic fibers just under the surface of the skin to break.
The first sign you may have that stretch marks are about to appear will be a tingling and itchy feeling across your skin.
Stretch marks can be red, purple, or white and over time can fade to faint silver lines but are very unlikely to vanish completely. It is common for stretch marks to appear on your stomach, breasts, thighs, and buttocks during pregnancy.
Can Your Skin Rip From Stretch Marks?
Before we answer this question, it is key to remember what a stretch mark actually is.
Stretch marks appear because the elastic fibers, collagen, and elastin, have ruptured due to rapid growth causing the skin to stretch too quickly.
So when you see a stretch mark appear, your skin has already ripped, so to speak, it is just the deeper layer that has broken and has caused a scar to appear on the top layer that you can see.
With this knowledge in mind, it is very unlikely your stretch marks are going to rip open and tear. If your skin is very dry then you may experience cracks in the skin along with your stretch marks.
Imagine your stretch marks are like dry chapped lips, this is more likely than them ripping open like a gaping wound.
View in gallery
It is possible that you may notice deeper cracks that start to bleed as your body continues to grow and stretch. However, it is not common for stretch marks to tear open during pregnancy but it does occasionally happen.
Women who grow quickly and vastly during pregnancy and moms expecting multiples are most at risk of their stretch marks opening up.
Painful Stretch Marks During Pregnancy
If your stretch marks feel slightly painful during pregnancy, this is not always an immediate cause for concern. The feeling of your skin stretching over your growing bump can be very uncomfortable, especially if you were very small before you became pregnant.
Many moms-to-be will feel an itching sensation across their stretching skin before any stretch marks appear. This uncomfortable itching feeling is usually a result of your skin being too dry and in need of a cream or lotion to hydrate it.
Itching and feeling uncomfortable are two completely normal symptoms to experience as stretch marks form on your body. However, if your stretch marks are causing you a lot of pain you may need to speak with your midwife or doctor and seek professional advice.
Why Do My Stretch Marks Look Like They’re Bleeding?
Some pregnant women worry that their stretch marks are bleeding. Occasionally stretch marks can bleed if your skin has become too dry and they have cracked.
Your stretch marks should never bleed heavily and any bleeding is most likely caused by scratching. If your skin is dehydrated and itchy, when scratched it can easily open up and bleed.
If you are concerned about your bleeding stretch marks or worry about infection, speak to your doctor or midwife.
In most cases, your stretch marks may look like they are bleeding but they actually are not.
Some women may notice their stretch marks are a deep red or purple when they first appear, this is simply because blood vessels can be seen through the ruptured skin.
If your stretch marks are red, they are not necessarily bleeding and they will fade to white or silver over time.
How Do You Treat Bleeding Stretch Marks?
If your stretch marks are uncomfortable, feeling like they might tear or have started to bleed, there are a few things you can try to heal them and ease the discomfort.
As we have established, stretch marks can become itchy and painful if your skin is too dry. Drier skin is more likely to crack and bleed so it is important to moisturize regularly.
You can use a regular moisturizer or one specifically formulated for use during pregnancy, the most important thing is to be consistent and to apply your moisturizer or cream daily.
Drink plenty of water
If you keep yourself well hydrated you will be keeping your skin well hydrated too. Drink plenty of water every day, the more hydrated your skin is the less risk you have of your stretch marks cracking and bleeding.
Use a natural-based oil
Coconut oil is a great choice if you are looking for a natural way to keep your skin moist and supple. Research also suggests that coconut oil has healing properties and can help to treat stretch marks that have become sore and painful.
Pure Aloe Vera has also been found to soothe and hydrate skin and can be applied to your baby bump to help heal cracked and dry skin.
Avoid perfumed and synthetic creams
Strong chemicals in fragranced creams and lotions are going to do your skin more harm than good. Perfumed and synthetic creams can dry your skin out, this is the opposite of what you want to achieve.
Avoid these typed of creams and instead choose and moisturizer or oil that will hydrate and heal your skin.
Wear a maternity belt or compression clothing
Stretch marks can be painful when the weight of your baby bump feels like it is stretching your skin to its limit.
Wearing a maternity belt or compression clothing will help to alleviate some of that weight and reduce the strain and stretching sensation on your skin. Maternity belts can support your growing bump and make your skin feel more comfortable too.
Speak to a doctor or midwife
If you are concerned about your stretch marks and they are bleeding regularly and the cracked skin isn’t healing, speak to your doctor or midwife for advice. A medical professional may be able to suggest a specific cream or lotion that will more effectively soothe and repair your skin.
Use a skin repair lotion
There are several lotions on the market specifically designed to help reduce the appearance of scars and stretch marks. If you are worried about your stretch marks and want to prevent them from getting worse, you could try a skin repair lotion.
Use preventative measures
Once stretch marks appear, it is not really possible to get them to disappear completely (unless you pay for expensive surgery).
However, if you start moisturizing your skin before stretch marks even appear and keep this up throughout your pregnancy, you may be able to delay the appearance of stretch marks and reduce their severity.
Make keeping both yourself and your skin hydrated a priority, this will give your skin a better chance as it starts to stretch out to accommodate your growing baby.
Can stretch marks crack open?
Stretch marks are not normally physically painful they can make women feel self-conscious. They occur when the middle layer of skin stretches too quickly and some of its collagen fibers break.
View in gallery
Can a stretch mark pop?
Stretch marks can pop up all over your body, but the most common areas are the tummy, thighs, and chest area.
Why do stretch marks get red?
If the skin stretches too quickly, the collagen and elastic tissues in the skin may break resulting in stretch marks. Stretch marks normally appear as red, pink, or purple lines and over time they can fade as the blood vessels heal.
The Final Thought
Research shows that eight out of ten women will develop stretch marks during pregnancy. Stretching skin can become itchy, dry, and sore. Some women may even notice their stretch marks start to rip and bleed.
There are many ways you can try to treat uncomfortable stretch marks at home; keeping your skin well hydrated during pregnancy is a priority. If your stretch marks are really painful and bleeding regularly, do not be afraid to seek medical advice.
Stretch marks are a sign that your body is doing something amazing – you are growing a baby!
It can be hard to accept your new tiger stripes but try to embrace them, marvel at how strong and magical your body is, and try not to worry, they will become less visible in time.