Pregnancy and childbirth are one of life’s truest blessings, yet with the miracle of this experience may come a sense of loss. You feel you may have lost the old you; that your body has irrevocably changed. And it’s no secret the irrevocable change has occurred to your breasts and abdomen (among other areas). Sometimes these changes are minimal. Sometimes they’re not. And the latter results in a desire to change the change.
Although it is natural for your abdomen to expand, and your hips and breasts to grow, it can often be disappointing to discover that your body hasn’t returned to its original shape. Moreover, your post-birth skin sags and your stomach does not flatten. While there is no question that diet and exercise can help, sometimes they are not completely the answer. That’s because even though getting back to your desired weight is the first step, weight loss won’t take care of changes, such as the presence of loose and/or sagging skin.
So what is the solution?
Mommy makeover is a surgery, or series of surgeries, that help you return to your prior shape and may even improve that shape. Performed by plastic surgeons, these surgeries may include abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), liposuction, breast augmentation or reduction, and breast lift. Depending on the procedure, they may be done in multiple surgeries or addressed in one surgery.
It is important to understand that a mommy makeover is not considered a weight loss procedure. It is comprised of body contouring procedures best suited for women who are in relatively good shape. In fact, a mommy makeover is not recommended if you still need to lose a significant amount of weight or if you plan on becoming pregnant again.
When should you get these procedures done?
While there is both social pressure and sometimes personal pressure to get back in shape, it is important to allow the pregnancy and childbirth recovery process to progress naturally before considering doing this surgery.
There are several widely accepted rules to guide you:
1) Make sure your body has fully recovered from pregnancy. It is typically recommended that you wait at least one year, and six months after you’ve stopped breastfeeding.
2) Hold off on a mommy makeover until you are done having children. However, an unexpected pregnancy following a mommy makeover is no reason for alarm according to Dr. Tushar Patel at The Plastic Surgery Center in New Jersey.
3) If you smoke, stop.
4) Maintain a healthy lifestyle with diet and exercise. The best results of a mommy makeover occur when you do all that you can do prior to surgery (usually getting rid of the pregnancy weight, and getting back into shape). Then, the surgeon does what he or she can do to reshape the areas in question.
5) Do your homework. Look at lots of “before and after” photos of tummy tucks, breasts lifts and mommy makeovers. Speak to friends and others who have undergone the procedure(s). Evaluate cost, but remember like all investments, you usually get what you pay for. Beware of very low price quotes. These often indicate the risk of poor quality results.
6) Consult with one or more plastic surgeons. Choose an experienced surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. You can find your choice by referral or Internet search. Check that the surgical facility in which you will undergo your procedure(s) is accredited. On visiting that surgeon, make sure you feel comfortable and confident that all your questions have been thoroughly and professionally answered, and that you have good rapport.
These days, moms have many options for self-improvement, but they’re afraid of being a priority. A good mom is a happy mom. It’s okay to invest in you. And a good plastic surgeon will recognize your lifestyle, your goals and your trepidations. Together, you can create sensible, realistic expectations and make good decisions.