It would be a stretch (pun totally intended) to say that any topical cream can prevent stretch marks (aka "Striae gravidarum"). But don't worry, it's not all bad news.
Stretch marks happen when elastin under the skin breaks. It would certainly be a magic cream that could prevent that! A study conducted in 2012 found that "There was no statistically significant average difference in the development of stretch marks in women who received topical preparations with active ingredients, compared to women who received a placebo or no treatment."
I love a good bit of scientific research, however, this particular study doesn't explain why lots of women (including my mum, sisters and me) have all used family stretch mark 'recipes' (ours was olive, coconut & apricot oil), and these recipes have worked - i.e. we didn't develop stretch marks. Science does have an explanation for this, too. A study conducted in 2007 indicated that a number of factors increased a woman's likelihood to develop stretch marks during pregnancy - unfortunately, none of these factors was 'not using magic stretch mark cream'. In fact, the study found that a family history of stretch marks was one of the major indicators of their development. For those of us lucky enough to have a family history without stretch marks, that's something else to thank our mums and grandmas for!
You were probably expecting us to share an image of stretch marks weren't you. We decided to share pics of some of the MooGoo Babies our lovely MooGoo Herd share with us instead! Images from L to R: IG @tanyashaunzoey, IG @sadiejeanloves, IG @kurairebear
But we're not suggesting you throw away your oils and creams just yet. Here's that good news we alluded to at the start! There have been studies to suggest that daily massage may help prevent stretch marks, however, it is not known if the ingredients in the creams, and/or the act of massage itself brings about this result. Similarly, a 2014 study found that a special skin support device (interesting!) together with the application of topical creams seemed to reduce incidences of stretch marks, compared to the control group. Again, the significance of the topical cream (or any of the factors) in this equation is not known.
So what are the best actions to take if you want to help prevent stretch marks during pregnancy?
1. Don't worry too much about buying expensive 'miracle' stretch mark creams (go and grab yourself some yummy healthy food and cute baby clothes instead!).
2. Do find a healthy moisturising cream that you're comfortable using. Lots of our MooGoo Herd love to use our Full Cream Moisturiser during pregnancy as it absorbs easily and helps with that dry, itchy feeling some mums can get.
3. Put your feet up! This has nothing to do with stretch marks (that we're aware of anyway) - we just think you deserve it - you're growing a human after all!
What do you think - are stretch marks preventable in your experience? Or do magic stretch mark creams work? Share with us below.