It’s the talk of the town, on play dates and in car pool lines – new moms want to look better. There are exercise programs, diets and cosmetic procedures customized for post-childbearing women, but they also have questions about so-called “mommy makeovers.”
During pregnancy, a woman’s body goes through a dramatic change. Sagging breasts and loose stomach muscles are resistant to springing back after the child is born, even with diet and exercise. The mommy makeover is an enhancement that improves a woman’s appearance.
Q: How fast is recovery, and when can I pick up my baby again?
A: Tummy tuck patients can start walking in the neighborhood once they get home from surgery. They can drive usually 1 week after surgery, and they can pick up their baby usually around 3-4 weeks after surgery. They can return to the gym to exercise and do heavy lifting in 5-6 weeks. Breast lift and implant patients can walk also when they get home and drive once they have stopped taking pain meds, usually within 1 week after surgery, and they can resume lifting their baby and exercise at 4 weeks.
Q: What makes a mommy tummy tuck different than one for a person who was not pregnant?
A: In women who have had children, the muscles have more of a tendency to separate in the midline (rectus diastasis) compared to those who have never been pregnant. This creates a tendency to form a bulge in the middle of the abdomen upon straining. Also there are more stretch marks (striae), and both of these things are the focus of repair when performing a "mommy tummy tuck."
Q: How soon do you recommend plastic surgery after delivery?
A: I personally feel women need to wait at least 3-6 months after delivery before having any plastic surgery of the abdomen or breast. This allows for retained fluid to go away and the hormone levels to decrease to normal, which gives a more predictable and safer cosmetic result.
Q: Are women able to breast feed after a breast lift?
A: As with breast reductions, at least 50 percent of women should be able to breast feed after a breast lift. There are many techniques available to perform a lift, and the ability to retain sensation to the nipple and to breast feed depends upon the amount of breast tissue left attached to the nipple/areolar complex when moving the nipple to its new position.
Tummy tucks, breast augmentations and breast lifts after childbirth are becoming more popular. Requests for mommy makeovers rose five times faster than for other cosmetic procedures in 2006, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.