A woman who is pregnant may develop stretch marks (striae gravidarum).


Risk factors for the development of stretch marks in a pregnant woman:

(1) younger age

(2) presence of larger babies

(3) higher body mass index (BMI)

(4) nonwhite race

(5) history of breast and/or thigh striae

(6) family history of striae gravidarum


Underlying pathophysiologic factors include:

(1) increase in hormones (estrogen, corticosteroids, etc)

(2) increase in relaxin

(3) stretching of the skin


Wahman et al reported that women with striae gravidarum are at increased risk for lacerations at the time of vaginal delivery. This risk is probably a reflection of the risk factors for striae.


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