52 answers

How to deal with painful stretch marks during pregnancy?

I am due any day now, but my biggest problem right now isn't discomfort or painful contractions.. its my stretch marks! I didn't gain any weight in my pregnancy until the sixth or seventh month and when I did I gained 20 pounds in four weeks. Needless to say, it resulted in some SERIOUS stretch marks. At first the stretch marks were just smooth and dark and ugly which I can deal with, but the last few days they have gotten these little white bumps all over them and they turned painfully itchy and now they are getting scabby too. I'm wondering if any other mothers have experienced this and what they did to alleviate the pain and if it went away soon after giving birth?

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What can I do next?


The number of stretch marks you get depends on how elastic your skin is. If your stretch marks are particularly bad, you may consult with your doctor or a dermatologist. Some topical treatments such as Tretinoin cream can help reduce stretch marks. These creams must be used after pregnancy however, because they can cause defects in your unborn baby.

So What Happened?™

Thanks for the advice. I'm still waiting on the little guy to come but at my doctors appointment today I asked about the stretch marks/ sores and he just said to use hydracortisone cream to relieve the itching. I've tried using lotions and creams but they just burn and itch worse. After the initial burning (there is a little alcohol in hydracortisone) it has been helping. He assured me that these are just normal stretch marks although I have my doubts because Ive never had a stretch mark that resulted in sores and scabbing... Thanks again!

Featured Answers

There's a great product called Pentaxyl that will help with stretch marks. It contains an ingredient called Matrixyl originally studied by the NIH for wound healing. Contact me if you'd like more information.

Don't know where you are with this since it was originally posted in the middle of July but you might want to try vitamin e oil. I first learned about it in middle school when my golden retriever bit me in the face, right on my cheek, thought I would be ugly for the rest of my life and by the time I hit high school, you really had to look at my face to even notice any scarring at all. Most people don't believe the story when I tell it today.

Vitamin E is good for scarring and also shouldn't have problems with pain like you can with lotions. You can buy a bottle of it in the area with the vitamins at the grocery store or Wal-Mart. If you are still dealing with anything that resembles a bona fide sore, I would recommend neosporin. Takes care of the infection and has a pain relief ingredient as well.

I had this same thing happened to me and my OB sent me to a dermatoligist. They prescribed a steroid lotion for my belly. After a few days, it did go away but I know exactly what you are going through. The dermatologist couldn't find a cause so they just treated the symptoms. It was so itchy and then I would scratch (impossible not to) and they would scab over. Best of luck to you and if you can hold out, the itchiness goes away as soon as the baby arrives.

More Answers

I too had painful stretch marks, with rash type symptoms that eventually spread to the rest of my body. I was MISERABLE! This condition is known as PUPPPS. It sounds very similar to what you are experiencing. This occurs in less than 5% of pregnancies. The only way to stop it is to have the baby (in my case babies). It's your bodies way of telling you it has had enough. You can use topical benedryl. Call your Dr. to make sure he/she is ok with it. I was going through a tube a day! Here is a web site that will give you just a little info.


Hope this helps, and I am really sorry because this is not a good way to end a pregnancy (plus if you do have this, just about every nurse or dr. will want to see it because it is so rare. But it can also earn you an extra day or 2 in the hospital with iv benadryl).

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Hi C.,
If you have trouble with the added chemicals burning, I would recommend Burt's Baby Bee Apricot oil or the Baby Bee Lotion (The milk bath is great and gentle too.) These products smell much better than the Cocoa Butter creams for stretch marks. (I got sick of smelling like a chocolate bar). Try everything in the sample size kit to see if it works for you. If so, you can order it from Diapers.com or I saw it in my Target last week. PS... After you deliver you canuse everything on baby too :) You can also try popping vitamin E capsules open with a pin and rubbing the vitamin E onto your skin.
Also, make sure you are getting enough protein to help you heal. Protein is mainly in meat and dairy foods. Ensure or somehthing comprabale like Boost is another way to get it, but I wouldn't use any crazy stuff from Health food stores etc while you are pregnant. I hope this helps.

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I also had infected stretch marks, but I didn't have the PUPPS rash some of these women are talking about.

The strech marks, which are actually "fractures" in the tissue below the skin became infected and they were like running tunnels of ickyness.

I ended up using warm moist compresses to encourage them to drain, then used hydrocortisone cream...do NOT use Neosporin ointment...don't you any ointments, only water based creams until they are all healed, then you can switch to the oils that are advertised to help the marks left behind.

If you put anything that can't "breah" over those infected sores, they can't drain, or heal.

I discovered it the hard way.

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Hi, C.. I feel your pain. This is my first as well, and I have the PUPPS rash as well. I have very sensitive skin to begin with so I think I was susceptible to it. It was horrible back in July. It had spread from my belly to my thighs, creeping toward my bottom. Everthing made it itch, heat, moisturizer (even Palmer's), clothing with any type of texture, sheets with less than 300 thread count. I fantasized about walking around naked, smeared with cool aloe gel. It was absolutely ridiculous. Talk about not being able to sleep. Tried hyrocortisone cream, but it only helped for about 2 days, and then stopped working. You can't use it continuously for more than about 5 days so I had to stop using it.

Well, I did some research and found that Organic Dandelion Root capsules are safe during the second and third trimesters, which works out because that's when PUPPS usually emerges. Mine started at week 23. I've been taking the capsules daily with my prenatal vitamins, and they have helped, although some rash remains on my belly, it is now contained and not so unbearable. The rash has disappeared from my thighs and nearby areas. Thank goodness! This PUPPS will not go away until after your little one has been born, unfortunately. Try some relaxation breathing and soft music with the AC cranked up. All this stress is not good for you and the baby. Good luck, dear!

1 mom found this helpful

C. -

I don't know if this has already been mentioned, but Arbonne International has a wonderful Rejuvenating Cream that comes free with every ABC Baby Products Set, because it is for mom and her stretch marks. Arbonne's products are botanically based, with no mineral oil, animal by-products, or fragrance -- completely pure, safe and beneficial to use for you and baby. Let me know if you need more information on the Rejuvenating Cream(you can purchase it separately too) or would like to try a sample of the baby products.

L. L.

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Have you tried Beaudreaux's Butt Paste? It is a diaper rash ointment that is above and beyond. You can buy this product at Walmart. Dr. Beaudreaux is a Pediatrician out of Louisiana and he was featured on Opra. When she interviewed him he said he had gotten so many request before he put his product on the market by many people for many different uses such as a diaper rash, lip balm, and even jock itch. I have used this product and it cleared diaper rash within 24 hours. I also use it under my breast when I develop yeast and become a little raw and it works. I know for a fact that that it works better than hydrocortisone especially with the itching. The main ingredient is Zinc so compare this product to any athlete foot product. Try it and let me know.

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try cocoa butter stick. rub it on your skin and after a few minutes it will get warm and more liquidy. i used it back when i was sixteen to help with scarring and to soften the skin, after a breast reduction. since you gained a good deal of weight in a short period of time your skin stretched out quickly,that is why it hurts. try any of the palmers skin products. you can find them in walmart. there is one for after preganancy called firming butter.

1 mom found this helpful

I'm so glad someone mentioned PUPPPS on here. For me, it manifested within a week after the birth of my first child, which they say is unusual, because most women get it during their last month of pregnancy.

I too barely got big until the very end, then suddenly balooned and swelled and the heat I think made it worse. Mine manifested in my stretchmarks, you know the newly damaged and extremely tender skin areas, and it was absolutely miserable.

Anyway, as my OB explained, it's basically your body exhibiting an allergic reaction to being pregnant - all the hormones, etc. floating around. There isn't a lot to do for it, unfortunately, though I'm really curious about the soap someone mentioned below that they used for PUPPPS. But I found soaking in the bath in a little epsom salt comforting. As well as aloe and calamine. You have to resist the urge to scratch, as it can all get infected with something worse.

I also found a good pro-biotic to be helpful and I think that's why my case did not get worse or last as long. I currently use Garden of Life's Primal Defense. And lots of water. In general, I believe supporting your immune system and the flow of toxins (even excess hormones) out of your body is helpful.

Lastly, I did not know of this product back then, but I use it now for skin irritation and it's *wonderful!* As in "omg, that feels so much better" wonderful. It's called: Wally's Ear Oil. It is marketed for ears, but it's great on cuts, scrapes, rashes, etc.. Naturally mildly anti-septic and extremely soothing. Speeds the healing too. If I'd had this product back then, I would have definitely put it on any sores. You can buy it online here: http://www.outletnutrition.com/609280105001.html. I found Outletnutrition to have some of the best online prices for vitamins and natural products. (Don't forget to use their coupons listed on the side bar.) GNC carries Wally's online as well - so that may mean they carry it in their stores. Unfortunately I haven't found a lot of herbs stores in Austin that carry it.

I hope you feel better very soon!

PS Also, some drs are not aware of PUPPPS. But they can look it up. Be sure if your doctor is not aware of it that they do go check it out and get that info for you!

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