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Here’s the Skinny on Pregnancy Stretch Marks…

iStock_000009506159XSmallIf you are pregnant, or even just considering pregnancy, it’s likely that everyone you’ve spoken to has an opinion, solicited or not, on stretch marks!  Likely, those women that got stretch marks during pregnancy want to share their battle stories of the how, when, and why they got these “badges of honor” or “tiger stripes.”  Even more likely, those women that didn’t get pregnancy stretch marks probably have an exhausting array of home remedies, cures, and potions for preventing and treating pregnancy stretch marks.

Well, if you want real, accurate answers to your pregnancy stretch mark questions, look no further…  Dr. Traci Temmen is a female, board certified plastic surgeon at the Plastic Surgery Center of Tampa specializing in women’s health issues, skin care, mommy makeovers, tummy tucks, and liposuction in Tampa, Florida.  She has the answers to your most personal and pressing pregnancy questions as they relate to your “pre-baby” and “post-baby” body!

What Are Stretch Marks?

Stretch marks are reddish-purple linear scars that form on expanding skin, often during periods of rapid childhood growth, weight gain, or pregnancy.  Stretch marks are most often found on the breasts, abdomen, and thighs of women, and on the shoulders, back, and abdomen of men.  Stretch marks are dark red or purple when they first appear, but generally fade to a silvery hue or a color slightly lighter than the surrounding skin, within several months to one year.  Stretch marks are caused by tearing of the dermis, the layer of skin just beneath the outermost layer of skin, the epidermis.   Tears in the dermis result in a loss of skin thickness and epidermal support, causing the characteristic thin, depressed, and ridge-like appearance of stretch marks.   It is thought that stretch marks are also influenced by hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy, hormone replacement therapy, and possibly body building.

What Causes Pregnancy Stretch Marks?  Who is Most Likely to Get Stretch Marks?

While genetics plays a key role in determining who will get stretch marks, there are other factors that can predict who will or won’t get stretch marks during pregnancy.

Genetics–  A woman’s genes help determine the skin’s ability to withstand the stretching that causes stretch marks.  Thus, if your mother got stretch marks during pregnancy, you are more likely to get pregnancy stretch marks, and vice-versa.  Similarly, women that already have stretch marks on the breasts or thighs as a result of growth spurts during puberty are more likely to develop stretch marks on the abdomen during pregnancy.

Body Mass Index– Women with a high body mass index, a weight to height ratio used to determine healthy weight ranges, are more likely to get stretch when they become pregnant.  A pre-pregnancy BMI greater than 25 is considered over-weight and is associated with a higher risk of developing pregnancy stretch marks.

Pregnancy Weight Gain–  For women of normal weight (i.e. BMI between 18.5 and 25), a healthy weight gain during pregnancy is between 25 and 35 pounds.  Gaining more than the recommended weight during pregnancy increases the chance of developing stretch marks.  Specifically, weight gain over 33 pounds and a higher end-of-pregnancy BMI has been associated with a higher likelihood of developing pregnancy stretch marks.

Age–  When it comes to health and beauty, there are few times when advancing age has a protective effect.  However, when it comes to developing pregnancy stretch marks, older women, specifically those over 35 years old, have a much less chance of developing stretch marks than younger women.  Teenagers and women in their early 20’s have a nearly 90% risk of developing stretch marks, while women in their late 30’s or early 40’s have only an approximately 30% risk.

Abdominal Girth–  Because stretch marks are a result of excessive tension placed on the skin’s dermis, it should come as no surprise that the bigger a woman’s abdomen gets during pregnancy, the higher her risk of developing abdominal stretch marks.  It has been suggested that abdominal girth greater than 106 cm (approximately 42 inches) at the end of pregnancy was associate with a higher risk of abdominal stretch marks than those with an abdominal girth of 100 cm (about 39 inches) or less.

Baby-Related Factors–  Finally, twin pregnancy and  higher neonatal birth weight are also linked to the development of stretch marks.

How do You Prevent Pregnancy Stretch Marks?

Unfortunately, there are no magic potions, lotions, creams, or powders that can prevent stretch marks during pregnancy.  However, there are some basic things every woman can do to decrease her risk of developing pregnancy stretch marks and to feel more comfortable in her newly expanding skin while pregnant.  Most importantly, starting pregnancy within a healthy weight range and limiting weight gain during pregnancy can decrease the risk of developing stretch marks.  Ensuring that your body is well hydrated and has the nutrients and vitamins necessary to resist dermal tearing is also important to prevent stretch marks.  Thus, drinking enough water and eating a healthy diet rich in vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, and silica, all of which help form collagen, may help your body resist the dermal tearing that results in stretch marks.  Finally, while applying a daily moisturizer or oil to the skin will not prevent stretch marks, as these topical treatments only effect the outermost layer of skin, a good skin care routine will help your skin feel more supple and less itchy as it stretches to accommodate a growing baby.

What Can be Done to Treat or Remove Stretch Marks?

Once present, there is no 100% effective, non-surgical method to remove stretch marks from the skin.  Fortunately, given enough time, most stretch will fade to a light color and become less noticeable.  Minor improvements in the appearance and texture of skin affected by stretch marks can be achieved with laser treatments and fractional laser resurfacing, but results and patient satisfaction scores vary widely.

Surgical removal of the loose, scarred skin affected by stretch marks is the gold standard of treatment options.   Because most pregnancy stretch marks occur on the lower abdomen, a tummy tuck, which removes and tightens the skin below the belly button, is the treatment of choice when it comes to getting your pre-baby body back.  Similarly, as many women also develop stretch marks on their breasts, resulting in deflated and sagging breasts, a breast augmentation and/or breast lift is a common procedure for women who want to regain the full and firm breasts of their youth.  This combination of procedures, a tummy tuck and breast augmentation and/or breast lift, is often called a “mommy makeover” because it corrects the two areas of a woman’s body most severely affected by pregnancy in a single surgical setting!

Dr. Traci Temmen understands the physical and emotional toll that pregnancy can have on a woman’s body, sense of self, and self-confidence.  Dr. Temmen’s patients find that her willingness to listen and ability to customize her surgical plan to meet their needs is key to their fantastic postoperative results and overall happiness.  If you want to remove your pregnancy stretch marks and are considering a tummy tuck, breast augmentation, breast lift, or mommy makeover procedure, contact Dr. Temmen and her staff at the Plastic Surgery Center of Tampa.  Feel free to call (813) 877-3739 for a free mommy makeover consultation today!

Is Counting Calories Really All We Need to Get a Flatter Stomach?

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Mostly every healthy adult contemplates what they put in their body, as well as how much of it. When it comes to eating for successful weight loss we know that not every diet was created equally. However, a recent study shows that popular diet trends that instruct to eat small but frequently throughout the day are not able to achieve effective weight loss results. We know that dieting plays a major role whenever patients desire a flat and toned stomach, so we always encourage healthy nutrition and fitness, especially potential tummy tuck patients. With hopes to inspire you to achieve your slimming stomach goals we will discuss the best options to help you get there.

Settle On a Goal

If you decide to go on a diet, juice cleanses or weight loss plan, you should think about the reasons why you are going to put your body through it. Are you trying to lose weight? Do you feel you are lacking energy? Do you want a flatter stomach? Eliminating meals, adding meals or juice cleanses are probably not the best option to initiate weight loss or increase metabolism. It is best that you settle on counting calories to achieve the desired weight you want to be.

Research presented to the Society for Endocrinology suggests that counting calories is all that should matter when it comes to losing weight, for men and women. Most diet experts claim that eating small meals but constantly throughout the day is what overweight adults should follow, but researchers from the University of Warwick found this method ineffective to lose weight.

Their study consisted of 24 lean and obese women who were given two or five meals on separate days, eating the same number of calories each day. Their energy expenditure was also monitored using whole body monitor calorimeters, and results found that regardless of the number of meals they had, obese and lean women burned the same number of calories per day.

However, those who ate more meals found higher levels of endotoxins, bacteria in the stomach from low level inflammation after consuming a high fat meal. This type of inflammation has been linked to the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Researchers concluded that the size and frequency of a meal does not affect the amount of calories burned a day, and those who were overweight exacerbate their risk of metabolic diseases by eating more meals per day which introduced more endotoxins in blood circulation.

How Many Calories Should I Consume?

The number of calories people should consume per day varies around the world, but calorie counting should take place especially if you are overweight. If you are at a healthy weight, males should consume 2,700 calories per day and females 2,200 calories per day. However, those who embark on a weight loss plan should use up more calories than consumed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention measures one pound to be equivalent to 3,500 calories, and by reducing caloric intake you can influence weight loss. Setting a goal of reducing 500 to 1,000 calories on total calories consumed per day encourages the person to lose one to two pounds per week. However, calories must always be counted to ensure you do not go over your daily limit.

If your mission is to lose weight and get a flatter tummy then talk to Dr. Traci Temmen to determine what you need to do to get there. Eating small meals and constantly throughout the day may no longer be the norm, but counting calories is here to stay. If you are within reach of your weight loss goal then consult with Dr. Temmen to find out if you can benefit from a tummy tuck to get a flatter and tighter stomach.

Trim and Slim In Time for Your Christmas Party

Every year, around this time, men and women find themselves questioning their figure. Did you really try to keep active and shed some fat in the past 12 months? Some of you are thinking, yes I sure did! You look and feel better, but you are one more dress size away from achieving your goal. With the help of a detailed diet, exercise regime and tummy tuck procedure you can successfully trim and tighten your belly into that sexy, slim dress for the holidays.

When it comes to toning and weight loss we understand that one size does not fit all. We aim for more results week by week, but at the end of the year the holidays bring on unsurmounting stress, stacks of bills and workloads to the ceiling. Who has time to keep to their exercise program and diet? Well there are simple steps to take to manage both.

Don’t Starve, Fuel Up

Many of us try and starve ourselves or refrain from breakfast or dinner, these are not recommended in any balanced diet. The best solution is to fuel up with healthy meals and moderate food intake.

There are also multiple fat loss foods that help boost metabolism and burn fat, while eliminating toxins. Experiment with some of these fat burners:

  • Greek yogurt

  • Cinnamon

  • Green tea

  • Apples and Berries

  • Coconut oil

  • Eggs

Eggs are filled with protein, good fats and contain less than 80 calories. The Journal of American College of Nutrition reported that people who had eggs for breakfast cut their daily food intake by up to 415 calories. This keeps you fuller longer and have less of a need to snack throughout the day.

Stay Active at the Gym or Home

The end of the year is approaching quickly, so it is time to pump up your workouts. You do not need to spend hours at the gym. The fastest way to blast fat is through high intensity interval training (HIIT). Many routines are available online, and can be done at home in just 20 to 30 minutes. HIIT programs combine plyometrics, strengthening and flexibility. No matter what fitness level the person is in, there are many variations of moves suitable for you.

Trim the Last Bit of Fat

Many of our bodies do not respond too well to diet and exercise, especially if our normal diet consisted of burgers and pizza. However, after committing to an intense training program and diet, the last bit of fat remaining on your belly can be eliminated swiftly with a tummy tuck.

Men and women alike always feel upset when they fail to get toned six-pack abs, well that last layer of flab does not stand a chance with Tampa, Florida’s board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Traci Temmen. When you complement your routine of healthy eating and exercising with a tummy tuck, the stubborn fat sagging from your belly is removed in a single procedure. Many of her clients successfully keep their toned figure with her long-lasting methods of fat removal, now you can too! Schedule your consultation with Traci Temmen and fit into that sexy dress just in time for Christmas.