Would an Extremely Strong Core Prevent Stretch Marks by Keeping the Size of the Belly Down?

If I worked out my core to develop strength, as in body builder type very strong core with a lot of muscle mass and strength, would this prevent the swelling of the belly during pregnancy? I understand obviously that the baby is going to take up some room, but can you minimize it by adding a thick layer of muscle? (I'm thinking, make this a priority for 1-2 years before becoming pregnant and make sure that core is rock solid and could practically deflect a Mack truck.)

Doctor Answers 5

I think it can help, but there are other factors involved in stretch marks

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Stretch marks are tears in the dermis of the skin.  When and how they occur is dependant on a number of factors some of which you can control and others that you cannot.  Staying fit and not being overweight will help and that is something that you can control.  Obviously you cannot control your genetics or the size of the baby.  

All the best,

Dr Repta

Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 170 reviews

Does strong 'core' imply less stretch marks with pregnancy?

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I'm not sure if this would work, but it certainly would not hurt. Best to you and your upcoming pregnancy! Let us all know how you do! Dr. H

Working out to prevent stretch marks before pregnancy -- good muscles but more importantly great skin

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Thank you for your question.  Yes, staying in great shape can help. Whether or not you get stretch marks though is a function of  how much stress is placed on your skin and what capacity your skin has to snap back. Preserving and protecting skin elasticity is key to preventing stretch marks.

There are thing you can control and things you can't control.

Things you can control are: How physically fit you are at the time you get pregnant, what your weight is at the time you get pregnant, how much weight you gain during pregnancy (follow your obstetrician's recommendations for healthy baby and healthy mom), and how good you are at getting the weight back off after pregnancy and keeping it off. Large and repetitive fluctuations in weight are a risk factor for stretch marks. This is why many women get no stretch marks after first baby but get them after the second or the third child.  The skin elasticity is gone and can't take it anymore. A good preventative measure is to keep your skin well moisturized during pregnancy, for example, with cocoa butter such as Burt's Bee's Mama Belly Butter.

Thing you can's control are:  The size of your baby.  The larger your belly gets, the more chance of stretch marks. Genetics.  If your mom got stretch marks from her pregnancy, then there is an increased chance you will too. Skin elasticity decreases with age. This is another reason why stretch marks happen after the second or third pregnancy, but not the first. Women are the youngest when they have their first-born child.  This is when skin elasticity is the best. Skin elasticity fades with age.  This can be prolonged with great skin care but cannot be entirely prevented.  It happens. This is why liposuction works better in the younger population (better skin quality) and not so well in the older population (lost skin elasticity). ....No, I can't tell you a specific cut off age between young and old. All I can say is that every year I get older, my definition of old increases by at least one year.

I hope this helps.

Stretch Marks after Pregnancy?

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Thank you for the interesting question.

Unfortunately there is no evidence that  developing stronger/thicker abdominal wall muscles will necessarily prevent “swelling of the belly during pregnancy” and/or  stretch marks. It will certainly do no harm to  work out hard prior to pregnancy but don't be heartbroken if you develop stretch marks nevertheless.

Best of luck with your workout regimen and future pregnancies.

Muscle strengthening

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Keeping your body on top shape is always a good plan. Certainly good muscle tone will be a benefit to you. The things you can not control is the tissue between the abs. that stretches during pregnancy as well as the skin. This all occurs and depends on your genetics, size of the person, size of the baby, etc. Staying fit is important but can not prevent changes from pregnancy although it may lessen them. 

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.