Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Breast Milk Storage with FAQs

If one has more than 1 batch of milk stored it is convenient to label breast milk batches with dates. While some may choose to label it with the date it was expressed/pumped. I think it would be easier to put on the "expiry date" instead.  But better yet, why not put both dates on the labels?

Note: If it had been thawed from frozen state, it needs to be labeled again before putting it in the refrigerator since it's lifespan is now down to 24 hours and must not be refrozen. 

This I think is also a good article with FAQs on breastmilk storage.

Directions for Breast Milk Storage
For Feeding Healthy, Full-Term Babies

What are the best storage containers for breast milk
  • Standard baby bottles (glass or plastic)
  • Custom-purpose milk storage bags

How long can I:
  • Leave my freshly-expressed milk at room temperature?
    • Up to four hours at 80 degrees F (27 degrees C)
    • Up to 10 hours at 70 degrees F (21 degrees C)
    • Up to 24 hours at 60 degrees F (16 degrees C) e.g. in a cooler with ice packs
  • Store milk in the refrigerator?
    • Five days at 39 degrees F (4 degrees C)
  • Store milk in the freezer?
    • Two weeks in a freezer compartment inside a refrigerator
    • Three months in a self-defrosting freezer (store away from the door)
    • Six months in a deep freeze that maintains a constant 0 degrees F (-19 degrees C)
NOTE: You can combine milk from different pump sessions, but cool each batch first and store according to the age of the oldest milk. It is best to freeze your milk in small quantities (2 to 4 ounces depending on the age of your baby) within two days of expressing. Leave room in the container for expansion when freezing, and date each container. As your milk cools, the cream may form a thin layer on the surface. Swirl to redistribute the cream when you warm the milk.

How do I heat breast milk?
Microwaving destroys some of the anti-infective properties of the breast milk and may create "hot spots" that could burn your baby. Place the container of milk in a bowl of warm water, or place under the hot water faucet, and heat to room temperature. Your baby may refuse milk straight from the refrigerator, but cold milk is not harmful. 

Can I reuse leftover milk?
While there is no research on this topic, many mothers refrigerate milk the baby did not finish and use it at the very next feed. If you have any doubt, discard the milk. 

How do I thaw frozen milk?
Place the container of breast milk in a bowl of warm water. Use the milk immediately or refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Do not refreeze.

Why does my frozen milk smell unpleasant when I thaw it?
Lipase, the enzyme that digests fats, stays active when milk is frozen. Some mothers have a high level of this enzyme and their milk smells and tastes soapy when thawed. The milk is not harmful but the baby may refuse it. You can scald your milk before storing it to make the lipase inactive by heating the milk to about 180 degrees F (82 degrees C), or until small bubbles form around the edge of the pan. Chill quickly and store.

breastmilk: how long will it last?

Since I am planning to planning to also pump breast milk you will want to know how long it can be stored at room temperature, in the refrigerator, or in the freezer.
(So I'd have at least one extra bottle if in case I have someone to watch over my baby while I could get precious undisturbed sleep. ^^,   )

The table below (which confirms what I thought I learnt from college) shows that it would be OK to let my milk stand at room temperature for 4-8 hours which means that I could sleep undisturbed for a maximum of that number of hours whenever my beloved hubby would stay up for me instead ^^, . 

Breast Milk Storage Guidelines

Room TemperatureRefrigeratorFreezer compartmentFreezerDeep Freezer
4-8 hours
(May be left at room temperature for up to 10 hours if the temperature is below 72°F, 22°C)
Three to eight daysUp to 2 weeks3-4 months6-12 months
66-72°F, 19-22°C32-39°F, 0-4°CTemperatures vary4°F, 20°C0°F, -19°C
Use at next feeding or discardTransfer to freezer within 8 days, use, or discardOnce frozen breast milk is thawed, it should be used within 24 hours. Do not refreeze.Once frozen breast milk is thawed, it should be used within 24 hours. Do not refreeze.Once frozen breast milk is thawed, it should be used within 24 hours. Do not refreeze.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


I have been convinced long ago to do breastfeeding. Not that I am a breastfed baby before but because I do realize its benefits and practicality.

But anyway, to review on its advantages... 

I got this article from

Below is a compilation of various medical studies on the advantages of breastfeeding, compiled by Dr. Jon Ahrendsen.  Don't forget about one of the main benefits of breastfeeding: watching your happy, healthy child grow up, knowing you've given her the very best you could give.


Benefits for Infants

1.  Protects Against Infection

a. Diarrhea
Children less than 12 months of age had a lower incidence of acute diarrheal disease during the months they were being breastfed than children that were fed with formula during the same period.
Source:  Lerman,Y. et al. "Epidemiology of acute diarrheal diseases in children in a high standard of living settlement in Israel".  Pediatr Infect Dis J 1994; 13(2);116-22.

b. Haemophilus Influenza
In a population based case control study of risk factors for primary invasion of haemophilus influenza, type B disease, breastfeeding was protective of infants less than 6 months of age.
Source:  Cochi, S.L. "Primary Invasive Haemophilus Influenza Type B Disease, A Population Based Assessment of Risk Factors".  Journal of Pediatrics 1986.

c. Enhances Vaccine Response
The antibody levels of immunized infants were significantly higher in the breastfed than the formula-fed group.  These findings are strong evidence that breastfeeding enhances the active humoral immune response in the first year of life.
Source:  Papst, H.F. , Spady, D.W.  "Effect of Breast Feeding on Antibody Response to Conjugate Vaccine".  Lancet, 1990.

The breastfed group had significantly higher antibody levels than two formula-fed groups together. Breastfed infants thus showed better serum and secretory responses to perioral and parenteral vaccines than the formula-fed, whether with a conventional or low-protein content.
Source:  Van-Coric, M.  "Antibody Responses to Parental & Oral Vaccines Where Impaired by Conventional and Low-Protein Formulas as Compared to Breast Feeding". Acta Paediatr Scand 1990; 79: 1137-42.

Human milk can transfer specific or nonspecific immunities to the external mucosal surface of the intestine and possibly to the respiratory tract of the newborn.  The acquisition of such passive immunity is particularly important in the early neonatal period when the immune system is immature.
Source:  Chang, S.J. "Antimicrobial Proteins of Maternal and Cord Sera and Human Milk in Relation to Maternal Nutritional Status". A. M. J.  CLIN NUTR, 1990.

d. NEC
Among babies born at more than 30 weeks gestation, confirmed necrotizing enternal colitis was rare in those whose diet included breast milk; it was 20 times more common in those fed formula only.
Source:  Lucas, A., Cole, T.J., "Breast Milk and Neonatal Necrotizing Enteral Colitis". Lancet 1990; 336:1519-23.

e. Otitis Media
Short duration of breastfeeding involved another significant risk of recurrent respiratory infections and otitis media.
Source:  Alho, O., "Risk Factors for Recurrent Acute Otitis Media and Respiratory Infection in Infancy".  Int J Ped Otorhinolaryngology 1990; 19:151-61.

Significantly increased risk for acute otitis media as well as prolonged duration of middle ear effusion were associated with male gender, sibling history of ear infection and not being breastfed.
Source:  Teele, D.W., Apidemilogy of Otitis Media During the First Seven Years of Life in Greater Boston: A prospective, Cohort Study".  J of INFEC DIS.1989. 

f. Herpes Simplex
Mothers milk could play a role in the protection of newborns from Herpes Simplex virus II contamination.
Source:  Lopez, I., "Neutralizing Activity Against Herpes Simplex Virus in Human Milk". Breast Feeding REV 1990; 11(2): 56-58.

g. Respiratory Syncytical Virus (RSV)
Breastfeeding was associated with a lower incidence of RSV infection during the first year of life.
Source:  Holberg,C.J., "Risk Factors for RSV Associated lower Respiratory Illnesses in the First Year of Life".  AM J Epidemiol 1991; 133 (135-51).

h. Respiratory Infections
The authors presented results found in infants with two or more episodes of acute chronic bronchitis.  They found that approximately twice as many bottle-fed infants presented with the problem as those who were breastfed.
Source:  de Duran, C.M. "Cytologic Diagnosis of Milk Micro Aspiration".  IMM ALLERGY PRACTICE 1991; xiii (10);402-5.

There was a strong negative effect modification by breastfeeding: relative odds of respiratory illness with maternal smoking were seven times higher among children who were never breastfed then among those who were breastfed.
Source:  Woodwar, A. "Acute Respiratory Illness in Adelaide Children: Breast Feeding Modifies the Effect of Passive Smoking".  J Epidemiol in Comm Health 1990;44:224-30.

2.  Protects Against Illnesses

a. General
Infants of a middle class and well-educated populations benefit from the breastfeeding practice and its protective effect, more so if they are exclusively breastfed and for a longer period.
Source:  Palti, H., "Episodes of Illness in Breast Fed & Bottle Fed infants in Jerusalem".  ISR J MED SCI, 1984.

b. Immunologic Development
Enhanced fecal SIgA in breastfed infants is not cause solely by the presence of IgA in breast milk; it represents a stimulatory effect of breastmilk on the gastrointestinal humeral immunologic development.
Source:   Koutras,A.K., "Fecal Secretory Immunoglobulin A in Breast Milk vs. Formula Feeding in Early Infancy".  J Ped Gastro Nutr, 1989.

c. Wheezing
Breastfeeding seems to protect against wheezing, respiratory tract illnesses in the first four months of life, particularly when other risk factors are present.
Source:  Wright, A.L., "Breastfeeding and lower respiratory Tract Illnesses in the First Year of Life."  British Medical Journal, 1989.

A study indicated that breastfeeding was protective against SIDS, Consistent with an effect mediated through the prevention of gastrointestinal and/or respiratory disease.
Source:  Hoffman, H.J., "Risk Factors for SIDS: Results of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development SIDS Cooperative Epidemiologic Study".  Ann NY ACAD Sci, 1988.

Not breastfeeding at discharge from an obstetric hospital at any stage of the infants life was associated with an increased risk of SIDS.
Source:  Mitchell, A. "Results from the First Year of The New Zealand Count Death Study".  N.Z. Med A, 1991; 104:71-76.

e. General Morbidity
There is an inverse relationship to breastfeeding and morbidity.  This was most prominent in the first year of life, but it was also present in the first three years.
Source:  Van Den Bogaard, C.  "Relationship Between Breast Feeding in Early Childhood and Morbidity in a General Population".  Fan Med, 1991; 23:510-515.

The lack of a dose response affect between breastfeeding and perinatal HIV-1 transmission in the presence of the protective effect of breastfeeding against common causes of early childhood morbidity and mortality support the current WHO recommendation that breastfeeding should continue to be promoted in all developing countries, including those with high HIV-1 prevalence rates in women of child bearing age.
Source:  Ryder,R., "Evidence from Zaire that Breastfeeding by HIV-1 seropositive Mothers is not a Major Route for Perinatal HIV-1 Transmission but does Decrease Morbidity".  AIDS 1991; 5(6):709-14.

g. Infant Survival
There is an association between breastfeeding up to 6 months of age and survival of infants throughout the first year of life.  The younger the infant and the longer the breastfeeding, the greater the estimated benefits in terms of death averted.
Source:  Habicht, J.P., "Does Breast Feeding Really Save Live, or Are Apparent Benefits due to Biases?"  Am J Epidemiology, 1986.

h. Gastroesophageal Reflex
Breastfed neonates demonstrate gastroesophageal reflux episodes of significantly shorter duration than formula-fed neonates.
Source:  Heacock, H.J., "Influence of Breast vs.  Formula Milk in Physiologic Gastroesophageal Reflux in Health Newborn Infants".  J. Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr, 1992 January; 14(1): 41-6.

i. Multiple Sclerosis
Although thought to be multifactorial in origin, and without a clearly defined etiology, lack of breastfeeding does appear to be associated with an increased incidence of multiple sclerosis.
Source:  Dick, G. "The Etiology of Multiple Sclerosis. " Proc Roy Soc Med 1976;69:611-5.

j. Inguinal Hernia
Human milk contains gonadotropin releasing hormone, which may affect the maturation of neonatal testicular function.  This case control study showed breastfed infants had a significant dose response reduction in inguinal hernia.
Source:  Pisacane, A. "Breast-feeding and inguinal hernia" Journal of Pediatrics 1995:Vol 127, No. 1, pp 109-111.

k. Cryptorchidism (Undescended Testicle)
This case controlled study showed a significant association of cryptorchidism and lack of breastfeeding.
Source:  Mori, M. "Maternal and other factors of cryptorchidism: a case-control study in Japan" Kurume Med J 1992:39:53-60.

3.  Protection From Allergies

a. Allergic Families
Breastfeeding, even for short periods, was clearly associated with lower incidence of wheezing, prolonged colds, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Source:  Merrett, T.G., "Infant Feeding & Allergy: 12 Month Prospective Study of 500 Babies Born into Allergic Families".  American Allergies, 1988.

b. Eczema
Eczema was less common and milder in babies who were breastfed (22%) and whose mothers were on a restricted diet (48%).  In infants fed casein hydrolysate, soymilk or cows milk, 21%, 63%, and 70% respectively, developed atopic eczema.
Source:  Chandra R.K., "Influence of Maternal Diet During Lactation and the Use of Formula Feed and Development of Atopic Eczema in the High Risk Infants".  Br Med J. 1989.

4.  Enhances Development and Intelligence

a. Higher IQ
Children who had consumed mother's milk by tube in early weeks of life had a significantly higher IQ at 7.5 to 8 yr.. than those who received no maternal milk, even after adjustment for differences between groups and mothers' educational and social class.
Source:  Lucas, A., "Breast Milk and Subsequent Intelligence Quotient in Children Born Preterm". Lancet 1992;339:261-62.

b. Cognitive Development
Supplementary regression analysis examining the strength of relationship between duration of breastfeeding and cognitive development show a small but significant relationship between duration of breastfeeding and scores on the mental development index of the Bayley Scales at 1 and 2 years.
Source:  Morrow-Tlucak, M.  "Breast Feeding and Cognitive Development During the First 2 years of Life. "Soc Sci Med, 1988.

In 771 low-birth-weight infants, babies whose mothers chose to provide breastmilk had an 8-point advantage in mean Bayley's mental developmental index over infants of mothers choosing not to do so.
Source:  Morley,R., "Mothers Choice to provide Breast Milk and Developmental Outcome."  Arch Dis Child, 1988.

c. Social Development
The psychomotor and social development of breastfed babies clearly differs from that of bottle-fed ones and leads at the age of 12 months to significant advantages of the psychomotor and social capabilities.
Source:  Baumgartner, C., "Psychomotor and Social Development of Breast Fed and Bottle Fed babies During their First year of Life".  Acta Paediatrica Hungarica, 1984.

Long Term Benefits for Infants

a. Dental Health
Among breastfed infants, the longer the duration of nursing the lower the incidents of malocclusion.
Source:  Labbok, M.H. "Does Breast Feeding Protect against Malocclusion?  An Analysis of the 1981 Child Health Supplement to the National Health Interview Survey". American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 1987.

b. Toddler Health
Mothers of 67 infants were questioned about the types and duration of illness episodes requiring medical care between 16 and 30 months of age.  Breastfeeding was noted to decrease the number of infant illnesses and indirectly improve toddler health.
Source:  Gulick, E.E. "The Effects of Breastfeeding on the Toddler Health.  "Pediatric Nursing, 1986.

c. Diabetes Mellitus
Children who developed IDDM in New South Wales, Australia were matched with healthy children (ratio 1:2) of the same sex and age for comparison.  Those who were exclusively breastfed during their first three months of life had a 34% lower risk of developing diabetes than those who were not breastfed.  Children given cow's milk-based formula in their first three months were 52% more likely to develop IDDM than those not given cow's milk formula.
Source:  Diabetes Care 1994;17:1381-1389, 1488-1490.

d. Childhood Cancer
Children who are artificially fed or breastfed for only 6 months or less, are at an increased risk of developing cancer before age 15.  The risk of artificially fed children was 1-8 times that of long-term breastfed children, and the risk for short term feeders was 1-9 times that of long term breast feeders.
Source:  Davis, M.K. Infant Feeding and Childhood Cancer.  "Lancet 1988.

e. Chron's Disease
In this study, lack of breastfeeding was a risk factor associated with later development of Crohn's disease.
Source:  Koletzko, S., "Role of Infant Feeding Practices in Development of Crohn's Disease in Childhood."  Br Med J, 1989.

f. Hodgkin's Disease
A statistically significant protective effect against Hodgkin's disease among children who are breastfed at least 8 months compared with children who were breastfed no more than 2 months.
Source: Schwartzbaum, J.  "An Exploratory Study of Environmental and Medical Factors Potentially Related to Childhood Cancer." Medical & Pediatric Oncology, 1991; 19 (2):115-21.

g. Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA)
Preliminary data from researchers at the University of North Carolina and Duke University comparing 54 children with JRA and a control group without JRA of similar age and race indicates that children who were breastfed were only 40% as likely to develop JRA.
Source:  "Mother's Milk: An Ounce of Prevention?"  Arthritis Today May-June 1994.

Benefits for Mothers

1.  Delays Fertility
Women who nurse frequently during exclusive breastfeeding remained amenorrhoeic longer than infrequent nursers, introduced supplements later and did not resume menses as promptly thereafter.  Duration of exclusive nursing and night nursing after supplementation were the major influences on amenorrhoea.
Source:  Elias,M.F. "Nursing Practices and Lactation Amenorrhoea."  Journal of Biosco Sci, 1968.

2.  Breast Cancer
Among both premenopausal and postmenopausal women, risk of breast cancer decrease with increasing duration of lifetime lactation experience although the effect was consistently stronger for premenopausal women.
Source:  McTieman, A., Evidence of Protective Effect of Lactation on Risk of Breast Cancer in Young Women."  American Journal of Epidemiology, 1986.

After controlling for age at first full term pregnancy and other potentially compounding factors, parity and duration of breast feeding also had a strong influence on the risk of breast cancer.  Compared with parous women who never breast fed, women who had breast fed for 25 months or more had a lower relative risk.
Source:  Layde, P.M., "The Independent Associations of Parity Age at First full Term Pregnancy, and Duration of Breast Feeding with the Risk of Breast Cancer."  Journal of Clinical Epidemiol, 1989.

If women who do not breastfeed or who breastfed for less than 3 months were to do so for 4 to 12 months, breast cancer among parous premenopausal women could be reduce by 11%; if all women with children lactated for 24 months or longer, the incidence might be reduced by nearly 25%.
Source:  Newcomb,P. etal.  "Lactation and reduced risk of premenopausal breast cancer."  N Engl J Med 1994; 330(2):81-87.

Women who were breastfed as infants, even if only for a short time, showed an approximate 25% lower risk of developing premenopausal or postmenopausal breast cancer, compared to women who were bottle-fed as an infant.
Source:  Freudenheim, J.  "Exposure to breast milk in infancy and the risk of breast cancer."  Epidemiology 1994 5:324-331.

3.  Uterine Cancer
A protective effect against uterine cancer was found for women who breastfeed.
Source:  Brock, K.E., "Sexual, Reproductive, and Contraceptive Risk Factors for Carcinoma-in-Situ of the Uterine Cervix in Sidney.  "Medical Journal of Australia, 1989.

4.  Ovarian Cancer
Breastfeeding should be added to the list of factors that decrease ovulatory age and thereby decrease the risk of ovarian cancer.
Source:  Schneider, A.P.  "Risk Factor for Ovarian Cancer.  "New England Journal of Medicine, 1987.

5.  Endometrial Cancer
Lactation provides a hypoestrogenic effect with less stimulation of the endometrial lining.  This event may offer a protective effect from endometrial cancer.
Source:  Petterson B, et al.  "Menstruation span- a time limited risk factor for endometrial carcinoma."  Acta Obstet Gyneocol Scand 1986;65:247-55.

6.  Emotional Health
At one month postpartum, women who breastfed their infants had scores indicating less anxiety and more mutuality than the women bottle feeding their infants.
Source:  Virden, S.F., "The Relationship Between Infant Feeding Method and Maternal Role Adjustment." Journal of Nurse Midwives, 1988.
7.  Decrease Insulin Requirements
Breastfeeding decreased insulin requirements in diabetic women. Reduction in insulin dose postpartum was significantly greater in those who were breastfeeding than those who were bottle feeding.
Source:  Davies, H.A., "Insulin Requirements of Diabetic Women who Breast Feed." British Medical Journal, 1989.

8. Decreased Osteoporosis
The odds ratio that a woman with osteoporosis did not breastfeed her baby was four times higher than for a control woman.
Source:  Blaauw, R. et al. "Risk factors for development of osteoporosis in a South African population."  SAMJ 1994; 84:328-32.

9. Promotes Postpartum Weight Loss
Mothers who breastfed exclusively or partially had significantly larger reductions in hip circumference and were less above their pre-pregnancy weights at 1 month postpartum than mothers who fed formula exclusively.
Source:  Kramer, F., "Breastfeeding reduces maternal lower body fat." J Am Diet Assoc 1993;93(4):429-33.


Benefits for Society

1. Optimum Child Spacing
Though less of a factor in the Western world, sufficient birth spacing helps with the survival of the older sibling and the new infant.  Prolonged lactation helps to promote the spacing of children.
Source:  Thapa, S., "Breastfeeding, birth spacing and their effects on child survival." Nature 1988;335:679-82.

2. Improved Vaccine Effectiveness
Breastfed infants showed a better serum and secretory responses to peroral and parenteral vaccines than the formula-fed, whether with a conventional or low protein content.
Source:  Han-Zoric, M., "Antibody responses to parenteral and oral vaccines are impared by conventional and low protwin formulas as compared to breastfeeding."  Acta Paediatr Scand 1990; 79:1137-42.

3. Financial Savings to Government and Families
a. Food Expense
The cost to supply artificial baby milk (ABM) to one child is between $800 and $1,200 per year depending on the brand and area of the country.

b. Medical Expenses
A pre-publication study by the Wisconsin State Breastfeeding Coalition estimated the following health care savings in Wisconsin if Breastfeeding rates were at 75% at discharge-50% at six months:
  • $4,645,250/yr Acute Otitis Media
  • $437,120/yr Bronchitis
  • $6,699,600/yr Gastroenteritis
  • $262,440/yr Allergies
  • $758,934/yr Asthma
  • $578,500/yr Type I Diabetes (birth -18yrs)
  • $17,070,000/yr Breast Cancer
  • $30,984,432/yr TOTAL HEALTH COST SAVINGS
4. More Ecological
There is less use of natural resources (glass, plastic, metal, paper) and also less waste for landfills.

5. Less Child Abuse
A retrospective review of 800 pregnancies at one family practice revealed an association between lack of breastfeeding and physical and sexual abuse of the mother and/or her children.  This anecdotal association, has not been previously reported, is worth further study using more rigorous methods
Source:  Acheson, L., "Family Violence and Breast-feeding" Arch Fam Med July 1995; Vol 4,pp 650-652.

by Jon Ahrendsen, MD, FAAFP
Clarion, IA USA (515) 532-2836

If you would like to contact Dr. Ahrendsen, you can mail him at: 

Monday, May 2, 2011

tips to prevent stretch marks

More on preventing stretch marks and how to minimize them if they do appear.

And yes, I would try buying pure cocoa butter. ^^< It's called "mantika de cacao" in our own lingo and has been used since long before to reduce the appearance of scars. Although when I was young (until today at some point), I have never been the one that's so keen on applying anything.

still from the same page...

How to Prevent Pregnancy Stretch Marks


  • Your moisturizer should be safe and all natural, for your health and your baby's. You can make your own pregnancy stretch mark cream with cocoa butter, olive oil, and vitamin E cream (just squeeze the contents into the other ingredients, mix and apply!).
  • Consult a specialist; your OB/Gyn or a Dermatologist (skin specialist) may have some suggestions.
  • Wheat germ oil may help.
  • Avoid sun exposure and tanning booths. Also, it is unclear if the ingredients in sunscreen can harm your baby as it develops, so if you are going to be outside, use clothing as your sunscreen.
  • Avoid allowing your skin to dry out. Cold weather and hot showers or baths will dry out your skin. You may need to moisturize your skin two or three times as often as you normally would during winter or if you take hot showers.
  • Even if you are prone to getting stretch marks (you already have them, or women in your family have them), don't get discouraged. You may still be able to avoid getting them to some degree by taking care of your body and skin.
  • Purchase pure cocoa butter from a health food store. Common brands found in regular retailers are not usually pure--check the label. The cocoa butter will be rather hard and solid, so grate some with a microplane or cheese grater, then heat it in a double boiler or a glass measuring cup in the microwave. Once the melted cocoa butter has cooled to just warm, gently smooth it over your belly. This is very soothing, smells wonderful, and helps Mom's belly feel better if nothing else!
  • You can only minimize the appearance with the constant and regular use of creams and other applications. The marks will only fade but they are still there if you look closely or touch the skin. All those expensive creams, oils and ointments can do is improve the tone and appearance of your skin and make the stretch marks less noticeable.


  • Avoid using certain high tech stretch mark products while pregnant. You will find there are several well-known brands that say "not for use by pregnant or nursing women."
  • Similarly, if you are using lotions or creams to prevent or minimize breast stretch marks, be careful when you're nursing. You don't want the baby ingesting the chemicals.

prevent pregnancy stretch marks

Here is the article with that video from the previous post. ^^, with my notes following the article.

How to Prevent Pregnancy Stretch Marks


  1. 1
    Eat a very healthy diet to nourish your skin (and your baby) from the inside out. Take your prenatal vitamins and eat the right amount of calories from healthy foods which provide plenty of calcium, protein, whole grains, and vitamin rich fruits and vegetables.
  2. 2
    Drink eight or more glasses of water and/or other fluids daily to hydrate your skin and maintain elasticity.
  3. 3
    Follow guidelines for gradual weight gain, in the recommended amount. This should be about 25-35 pounds if you're a healthy weight, slightly more if you're underweight or expecting twins and slightly less if you're overweight. The faster you gain weight during pregnancy, the more likely it is you will get stretch marks.
  4. 4
    Moisturize your breasts, belly, sides, lower back, thighs and anywhere else you think you might get stretch marks at least morning and night if you wish. Creams and lotions have not been medically proven to prevent stretch marks as they cannot penetrate to the deep skin layer where stretch marks occur, but they can help your skin to feel less dry and itchy. Cocoa butter, almond oil and shea butter are marvelous choices. Also wheatgerm oil. If you can find pure Lanolin, it works very well. If you notice itching where your skin is being stretched, that is a sign to add more moisturizer in that area. A good over the counter treatment for stretch marks is Zenmed's Stretta. It contains high grade glycolic acid and medicinal botanical extracts that help to erase the marks quickly without causing any irritation or itching.
  5. 5
    Continue regimen after you deliver until you're back to your target weight -- rapid weight loss can also result in stretch marks!

For one, I've already gained around 14 kg which is around 30 lbs. What's been good is that I don't see stretch marks just yet ^^,
(About my weight gain, I had started 10% underweight so I have a range of up to 45lbs to gain and still be in the normal range of gain during pregnancy. Which is why I am serious right now about controlling my carbs especially my sweet tooth!)

What I have been doing so far that seems to be working...
I actually try to follow all those 4.
And I do reapply lotion when it seems to be itching some more. And yes, I have been checking the labels if they are safe to use during pregnancy.
Also, I have been drinking more than 8 glasses of water... but at the same time, I am checking my ankles and feet for edema (fluid retention) as well. (Just making sure that my liters of water doesn't backfire.)

To add, I have controlled every instinct or stop each reflex to scratch on my stretch mark prone areas. And since I couldn't very well say that I could prevent myself in my sleep, I dab in extra lotion before I sleep.

What others in my circle have said about preventing stretch marks....
Aside on not scratching...
A close friend very well said that she used petroleum jelly... that way, the gooey feeling would stop her from scratching or just make her fingers slide through. I haven't read anything that supports her advise though. And although it sounds sound but I think I'd much prefer using another friend's advise which is to keep your fingernails short and wear mittens during sleep when indeed itching to you is uncontrollable.

I have kept my finger nails short but I haven't gotten to wearing a pair of mittens yet.
But I am planning to buy one soon since my tummy is bound to super increase during the last two months of pregnancy.

stretch marks during pregnancy

My mother has stretch marks and I have one of my own prior to pregnancy at my back and buttocks. (probably due to frequent itching during puberty due to panties' or shorts' garters)

As you can see, I have more than 90% chance of getting them in my pregnancy... but I don't want to sit in a corner to wait for it. So, I need to do my research on preventing them.
Anyway, I came across this video...

What struck me most from this video is that of ACCEPTANCE.

Indeed, we can try to prevent it but when we're bound to get it then we would. And of course, our baby will be worth it!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Pregnancy: Skin Changes

I am particularly curious about the Skin Changes during pregnancy and to whether they'll all disappear.

Anyway, here's a post that I've read.

So, you think your skin has changed since you've become pregnant?
The answer is probably.
The integumentary system goes through several alterations due to both hormonal and mechanical changes. Some of these may have been blown off as old wives tales, while others you may never have heard of before.
Stretch Marks
Striae gravidarum, or stretch marks are probably the most discussed of the skin changes during pregnancy. Nearly every woman fears them or thinks about them. They appear in 50 - 90 of all pregnant women, usually showing up in the later half of pregnancy. While the majority will be on the lower abdomen they can also be found on the thighs, hips, buttocks, breasts and arms of women.
These are most commonly seen as small depressions in the skin. They tend to be pinkish in light skinned women, and in dark skinned women they will be lighter than the surrounding skin. They reflect the separation of collagen of the skin. While not painful the stretching of the skin may cause a tingling or itchy sensation.
While many people will swear by certain creams or lotions, the truth is there's not much you can do about stretch marks, you'll either get them or not. There are some factors that you should know contribute to stretch marks:
  • Family (If your mom or sister has them, guess what?)
  • Weight Gain (Rapid or excessive will make these worse.)
  • Nutritional Status (Well hydrated and healthy skin stretches better.)
  • Ethnicity (African American women get them less.)
So, what now? Well, eventually they do fade after you have the baby, becoming silver lines. While most women don't think about them much, or consider them badges of motherhood, others want them removed. There are new techniques and surgeries being explored all the time. Talk to your dermatologist or plastic surgeon if you are concerned.
Mask of Pregnancy
Melanotropin is secreted in greater quantity during pregnancy, this can cause a pigmentation to occur over the nose, cheeks, and forehead of an expectant mom. While it is not caused by sunlight, this will aggravate the situation. 45 - 70% of women will experience this beginning in the fourth or fifth month of pregnancy. This will fade after the birth. Most women use make up to cover this if it becomes a problem. This is also called chloasma.
Linea Negra
This is a darker line extending from the pubic bone to the top of the uterus (fundus), usually showing up for first time moms around the third month. Multiparous women (had more than one child) will often see it earlier. While not all women experience this line, don't believe the rumors that it means a boy baby is on the way. (See a linea negra photo.)
Thought it was gone for good? Think again, while many women actually find that the hormones of pregnancy relieve their acne and leave them with that "glowing" skin of pregnancy, many women find their skin more oily and susceptible to acne break outs. Here's where the high school remedies come into play... Actually ensure you are drinking plenty of water, wash your face, avoid things that cause you to break out. Basically do what works, but it doesn't have to be fancy.
Spider Veins
These can appear most commonly on the face, neck, chest, arms, and legs. They are caused from increased estrogen level in your body. They are often star shaped and slightly raised. They are slightly blue and do not turn white with pressure. 65 of the Caucasian women and 10 of the African American women will experience these, which do usually fade after the birth.
Palmar Erythema
A mottled or reddening of the palms of the hands. This is caused by increased estrogen levels during pregnancy. About 60% of Caucasian women will experience this, with about 35% of African American women too.
Other Facts
  • Some women will have accelerated nail growth.
  • Others will notice a thinning of their nails.
  • Excessive hair growth may occur in unwanted places, fine or coarse. (Hirsutism)
  • Excessive sweating.

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