Why Do Some Women Have Horriffic Bodies After Child Bearing? My Kids Were Born 10.5 Months Apart & I Ate What I Wanted?

Just curious if poor genetics play a role in those unfortunant mothers who have stretched hanging skin & stretch mrks all over their bodies?! I ate unhealthy during both my pregnancies as pertaining to fast food,etc. I gained over 40lbs,yet have no noticeable stretch marks. My 58 yr old mother gave birth to 5 children we are all 1-2yrs apart, she has NO stretch marks & a magnificent body and has had no surgeries,same w my sisters. We all ate heavy high calorie diet before & after having children

Doctor Answers 4

Can stretch marks be avoided with pregnancy? It's in the genes

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You are right that most of the changes that occur to the body with pregnancy relate to personal genetics more than things you can control. The hormones of regnancy soften the connective tissues in order to allow for the birth process and how the skin responds is individual. The degree of weight gain does make a difference but exercise generally has little effect on the skin.

Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

Even good genetics cannot ALWAYS overcome bad habits!

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God bless your good genetics Cheree! Not everyone has your good fortune, and can develop stretch marks, widened abdominal musculature, loose skin, and deflated or sagging breasts after pregnancy. And more so with more children!

When your children become teenagers and start to drive, hopefully you will not overhear them bragging to their friends how they drove over 100mph some evening on a dark highway. While they may have been lucky enough or skilled enough as a driver to avoid disaster on the road, we all know other teenagers who end up with horrific accidents. Doesn't make it "right" to have successfully done something not advisable!

Obviously, your mom and all of her daughters have some great genetics, even if you did not follow healthy diet and weight gain recommendations during your pregnancies. I hope the same thing does not apply to smoking or drinking during your pregnancies!

"Getting away with" is never quite as good as "Followed all the 'rules' and did my absolute best!" I'm not proud when I can't say the latter. For your children's sake, I hope you teach them to do their best in all things, and not be dependent on "luck" or genetics for their healthy food and exercise habits!

Thanks for sharing. Best wishes! Dr. Tholen

Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 263 reviews

Good genetics, good aging

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Good health takes effort, though some do have very good genetics and get off easy. Good genes also have to do with skin tone and laxity from pregnancy, and facial aging. All those babies and no wear and tear to show? Sounds like you could be one of those celebrity moms showing off bikini bodies after pregnancy. Its nice to have all the luck.

Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews


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Genetics is the biggest factor in determining the individual biology of each of us. Some women have marked and unfavorable changes after a single pregnancy, and others like you and your family are fortunate enough to have tissues that recover completely from the distension of pregnancy or weight change. 

Only warning: just because your skin has done so well does not necessarily reflect on general health. Fast food and high caloric intake may well take its toll in ways you cannot see.

Thanks for your interesting comments!

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.