Striae gravidarum: Risk factors, prevention, and management

Int J Womens Dermatol. 2016 Dec 6;3(2):77-85. doi: 10.1016/j.ijwd.2016.11.001. eCollection 2017 Jun.


Background: Striae gravidarum (SG) are atrophic linear scars that represent one of the most common connective tissue changes during pregnancy. SG can cause emotional and psychological distress for many women. Research on risk factors, prevention, and management of SG has been often inconclusive.

Methods: We conducted a literature search using textbooks, PubMed, and Medline databases to assess research performed on the risk factors, prevention, and management of SG. The search included the following key words: striae gravidarum, pregnancy stretch marks, and pregnancy stretch. We also reviewed citations within articles to identify relevant sources.

Results: Younger age, maternal and family history of SG, increased pre-pregnancy and pre-delivery weight, and increased birth weight were the most significant risk factors identified for SG. Although few studies have confirmed effective prevention methods, Centella asiatica extract, hyaluronic acid, and daily massages showed some promise. Treatment for general striae has greatly improved over the last few years. Topical tretinoin ≥ 0.05% has demonstrated up to 47% improvement of SG and non-ablative fractional lasers have consistently demonstrated 50 to 75% improvement in treated lesions of striae distensae.

Conclusion: Overall, SG has seen a resurgence in research over the last few years with promising data being released. Results of recent studies provide dermatologists with new options for the many women who are affected by these disfiguring marks of pregnancy.

Keywords: Striae gravidarum; pregnancy; stretch marks; striae distensae.

Publication types

  • Review