A POOR diet may make pregnant women more prone to stretch marks, according to US research. Dr Diane Madlon-Kay, from St Paul-Ramsey Medical Center, Minnesota, has found that women with abdominal stretch marks are more likely to be getting state medical assistance, presumably because they are from lower socioeconomic groups. She suggests these women also have a low-protein diet, which results in poorer connective tissue formation.

The study also found that women with stretch marks were significantly younger and put on more weight during pregnancy than women without. Most women in the study tried oils and creams to prevent stretch marks, including olive oil, vitamin E and cocoa butter, without success, she says in Archives of Family Medicine.