The second trimester of pregnancy is a special time. You're happy, excited, and radiating with that famous pregnancy glow. It's also the time when you start to notice your little baby bump is growing bigger by the day, and it's when many moms-to-be start worrying about stretch marks.

Now, you might think stretch marks are inevitable, but there are steps you can take to help prevent stretch marks during and post pregnancy.

First off, it's important to remember that pregnancy stretch marks are incredibly common. Studies show that as many as 90% of women get stretch marks during pregnancy which often first appear during the sixth and seventh months, when the body begins to prepare for delivery.

Helping prevent stretch marks during pregnancy starts with understanding how they occur. While the exact cause is unknown, pregnancy stretch marks may come from hormonal changes and overstretching of connective tissue in the skin to accommodate your growing baby. As your stomach grows bigger, your skin must stretch along with it. Since this process happens rapidly, skin that isn't well hydrated and elastic can be damaged, which may result in stretch marks.

Think of a rubber band. If the rubber band is dry and brittle, it can fray and tear when stretched. Conversely, if the rubber band is soft and supple, it can easily stretch without any negative impact. This same principle applies to your skin during pregnancy. By ensuring your skin stays well hydrated and maintains its optimal elasticity as you and your baby grow, you may be able to help prevent pregnancy stretch marks.

There are many ways you can help keep your skin more hydrated and elastic. You can promote collagen development by eating a balanced diet rich in vitamins E and C and zinc; you can hydrate your skin by drinking lots of water every day; and you can exercise regularly to improve your circulation. In addition to these measures, you can keep the surface of your skin soft and supple by applying Mederma® scar gel, which locks moisture in to help prevent stretch marks,* and may be used during pregnancy, beginning in the second trimester. Apply it generously to your stomach, hips and breasts, and gently massage in a circular motion until fully absorbed. Repeat this process two times a day, morning and evening.