Need to talk? Call 1800 882 436.
It's a free call with a maternal child health nurse. *call charges may apply from your mobile

Is it an emergency? Dial 000
If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately.

beginning of content

Stretch marks

2-minute read

Stretch marks are narrow pink to purple streak-like lines that can develop on the surface of the skin. They usually appear on your stomach or sometimes on your upper thighs or breasts as your pregnancy progresses. The first sign you notice might be itchiness around an area where the skin is becoming thin and pink.

Anyone can develop stretch marks, they don’t just affect pregnant women. They can happen whenever the skin is stretched, such as when we’re growing during puberty, or when we gain or lose weight.

You are more likely to develop stretch marks in the last 3 months of your pregnancy as the skin on your stomach stretches to make room for your growing baby.

It’s not always possible to prevent stretch marks, but you are more likely to get stretch marks if your weight gain is more than average during your pregnancy. Most women gain between 11kg and 16kg in pregnancy, although weight gain varies a great deal from woman to woman. If you are worried about your weight, talk to your midwife or doctor.

Stretch marks are not harmful. They don't cause medical problems, and there's usually no need to see your doctor because there isn't a specific treatment for them. Over time, your skin will shrink and most stretch marks will fade to white over time.

Some creams claim to remove stretch marks once they've appeared, but there is no reliable evidence that they work. There is also limited evidence on whether oils or creams help to prevent stretch marks from appearing in the first place.

Laser therapy can't completely remove stretch marks, but it may help fade them.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: January 2020

Back To Top

Call us and speak to a Maternal Child Health Nurse for personal advice and guidance.

Need further advice or guidance from our maternal child health nurses?

Healthdirect Australia acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners and to Elders both past and present.

This information is for your general information and use only and is not intended to be used as medical advice and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical condition, nor should it be used for therapeutic purposes.

The information is not a substitute for independent professional advice and should not be used as an alternative to professional health care. If you have a particular medical problem, please consult a healthcare professional.

Except as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, this publication or any part of it may not be reproduced, altered, adapted, stored and/or distributed in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of Healthdirect Australia.