The Second Trimester: Stretch Marks and Other Skin Changes
You might have heard stories from family members or friends about the dreaded stretch marks from pregnancy. Stretch marks are red, pink, or purple streaks in the skin, usually over the thighs, buttocks, abdomen, and breasts. They are scars caused by the stretching of the skin, and usually appear in the second half of pregnancy. Only about half of all pregnant women get stretch marks though. They can start out as pink, reddish brown, or dark brown streaks, depending on your skin color. While creams and lotions can keep your skin well moisturized, they do not prevent stretch marks from forming. Most stretch marks fade after delivery to very light lines.
Besides stretch marks, you might notice other skin changes in the second half of your pregnancy. You might notice that your nipples are darker than before becoming pregnant, or that you have a dark line on your skin that runs down your abdomen from your belly button to your pubic hairline, called the linea nigra. You also might have blotchy brown pigmentations on your forehead, nose or cheeks. These skin changes are called melasma or chloasma. They are more common in darker-skinned women. These skin changes are caused by pregnancy hormones, and most of them will also fade or disappear after delivery.