Mommy Makeover Guide: Frequently Asked Questions

With a RealSelf Worth It Rating in the upper 90s, a mommy makeover, or mummy makeover in the UK, is a combination of procedures to restore parts of a woman's body after pregnancy.

Like many women considering a mommy makeover, you probably have a lot of questions. We drew from the expertise of RealSelf doctors to bring you answers to the most frequently asked questions.

What's a mommy makeover?
Is it right for me?
How much does it cost?
How do I choose a doctor?
How should I prepare for this procedure?
What happens on the day of the procedure?
What’s the recovery time?
What results can I expect?
What are the possible side effects or risks?
What else do I need to know?

What's a mommy makeover?

A mommy makeover helps reverse some of the effects motherhood can have on a woman’s body, getting her closer to her pre-baby body. It commonly includes a tummy tuck (to remove loose skin in the stomach), and breast augmentation or a breast lift (to address breasts that have deflated or sagged). Liposuction may also be performed to help with body contouring and some women also choose vaginal rejuvenation or a Brazilian butt lift.

*Treatment results may vary

Dr. Shaun Parson, a Phoenix plastic surgeon, uses before and after photos to show the changes that occur in a woman’s body after childbirth and how a mommy makeover can help reverse some of those effects.

“Some women elect to have post-baby body concerns addressed in a single surgery,” says Dr. Michael Law, a Raleigh, N.C., plastic surgeon, in a RealSelf Q&A. “Others prefer to stage surgeries for various reasons. In many women, it’s reasonable to perform both breast lift and a tummy tuck in a single surgery.”

Learn more about treatments included in a mommy makeover:

Is a mommy makeover right for me?

A mommy makeover can help reverse some of the effects of motherhood on a woman’s body by flattening the stomach and restoring lift and volume to the breasts. But it isn’t a replacement for exercise, a healthy diet, or a weight loss solution.

A mommy makeover may be appropriate if:

  • You are physically healthy and at a stable weight.

  • You have realistic expectations.

  • You have loose or droopy skin around your stomach, and your breasts have lost volume or are sagging.

  • You have excess stomach fat that hasn’t responded to diet or exercise.

Good mommy makeover candidates are close to a maintainable weight for their body and lifestyle, preferably with a BMI of 30 or less. If you smoke, you’ll need to stop smoking for at least six weeks before and after surgery, as tobacco smoking and nicotine impair healing.

See also: Should I wait until I’m done having children to have a mommy makeover?

How much does a mommy makeover cost?

Based on reviews from RealSelf community members, the average mommy makeover costs around $12,300, but the price can vary widely. Many factors affect cost, including the method used, the surgeon’s experience level, geographic location where the procedure is performed, and any additional costs associated with surgical, operating room, anesthesia, or post-op appointments.

As with any cosmetic procedure, price should not be the primary factor in choosing your method or doctor.

Find mommy makeover costs near you.

How do I choose a mommy makeover doctor?

As with any elective procedure, the most important factor in choosing a doctor is experience. Look for a board-certified plastic surgeon who performs the procedure frequently and has proven safe results. Look at several before and after photos with different angles to understand the surgeon’s aesthetic style.

We also recommend multiple consultations before selecting a surgeon. Our list of 20 essential questions to ask at a mommy makeover consultation can help. During your meeting with the plastic surgeon, expect to be asked about your desired results. You will have your body examined, measured, and photographed.

Browse mommy makeover providers in your area

How should I prepare for a mommy makeover?

Your recovery will include extensive downtime, and you should prepare to rest and take it easy. You should take two to three weeks off work and arrange for a ride home from surgery or an aftercare stay, per your surgeon. You’ll need help with any childcare for at least the first week, and the first couple of weeks you’ll need help with things like car seats, highchairs, bathing your kids, etc.

Assemble everything you may need during recovery before the day of your surgery. A few things you may want to have on hand: compression garments, pain medications, a stool softener, and healthy, simple foods. If possible, have someone stay with you for the first two days to help with your personal, medical, and household needs.

*Treatment results may vary

Dr. Vishnu Rumalla, a Dallas plastic surgeon, shows you how to pack your bag for your surgery day.

What happens on the day of the procedure?

Your mommy makeover may be performed in a hospital, an independent surgical facility, or an office-based surgical suite. Once you’re prepared for surgery, your doctor and the medical team will follow the surgical plan you agreed on. Usually a general anesthesia is used, and you will be asleep during the procedure.

When surgery is complete, you will be taken to a recovery area where you will continue to be closely monitored. Gauze or other dressings may be applied to your body and covered with tape or an elastic bandage under a surgical binder.

In many cases, small drain tubes will be placed through a small incision to help avoid a buildup of fluids. Some surgeons use methods, like internal quilting or progressive tension sutures, to reduce the risk of excess fluid collection with fewer or no drains placed.

Your doctor may offer the use of a pain pump to drip numbing medicine into the internal surgical area or injections of special long-acting numbing medicine. You may be able to go home after a few hours unless you and your plastic surgeon have determined that you will stay in the facility overnight.

What’s the recovery time for a mommy makeover?

It is important to realize that the time it takes to recover varies greatly among individuals. Depending on the extent of your surgeries and general physical condition, you may be able to return to non-strenuous work within two to three weeks of surgery. In many instances, you can resume most of your normal activities, including some mild exercise, after several weeks.

Much of your swelling will be gone after several weeks, but it may be a few months before all swelling subsides, and you see the final result of your mommy makeover.

“I tend to tell my patients to expect each phase of the recovery to be broken down into two to three,” says Dr. Jason Brett Lichten, a Columbus, Ohio, plastic surgeon.  “This means that it is usually two to three hours to ‘wake up’ from the anesthetic so your head starts to clear. Two to three days that you can expect pain that probably requires pain medication (narcotics) around the clock or on some set schedule. Two to three weeks that you taper off the medications and start increasing your activity. Two to three months to feel like yourself again. And two years for your scars to fully mature.”

It is critical to follow all your surgeon's post-op instructions. These will include information on taking care of your drains, wearing compression garments, taking pain medication, and avoiding certain activities. Your surgeon will explain the symptoms you can expect. If you think you’re experiencing something abnormal, call your plastic surgeon right away.

What mommy makeover results can I expect?

To help we collected some of our most popular before and after photos of real women posted on RealSelf:

Photo courtesy of Dr. Michael Bogdan
Photo courtesy of Dr. Marwan Khalifeh
Photo courtesy of Dr. Michael Bogdan
Photo courtesy of Dr. Grant Stevens
Photo courtesy of Dr. Shahram Salemy
Photo courtesy of Dr. Richard Rand
*Treatment results may vary

Your tummy tuck will leave you with a flatter, tighter stomach and may remove some stretch marks. However, you shouldn’t expect much weight loss as a result.

Unless you have a significant weight change or become pregnant, your stomach should remain firmer and flatter for many years. If, after a few years, you again become dissatisfied with the appearance of your stomach due to gravity or aging, you might choose to undergo a second procedure to restore a more youthful body contour.

In most cases, breast implant results last a long time. However, it’s important to monitor the status of your implants on a regular basis.

Read reviews from women like you who had a mommy makeover.

What are the possible side effects or risks of a mommy makeover?

A mommy makeover is a surgery, and surgery has inherent risks that should be discussed in advance with your doctor. Potential side effects include infection, bleeding, hematoma, scarring, capsular contracture, implant rupture, reaction to anesthesia, and unsatisfactory results that may require additional surgery.

Occasionally after surgery, fluid may accumulate under the skin forming a seroma. Removing a seroma is painless, but may require several visits to the plastic surgeon's office.

“Side effects in mommy makeover are rare but can be minimized first and foremost by working with a board-certified plastic surgeon,” says Dr. Steven Camp, a Fort Worth, Texas, plastic surgeon. “Ensure that you are honest with your surgeon regarding any recent tobacco use, infection, or immunocompromised state. Follow all pre-op and post-op instructions; keep your postoperative appointments. As well, stay in communication with your surgeon to optimize your chances for the best outcome.”

What else do I need to know about mommy makeovers?

Should I wait until I’m done having children to have a mommy makeover?

Probably, but not absolutely. To maintain results, many doctors recommend women wait to have a mommy makeover until after they are done having kids.

“While a mommy makeover can technically be performed at any time, the changes that a woman's body goes through with pregnancy will usually reverse some of the contouring created by a mommy makeover,” says Dr. B. Aviva Preminger, a New York plastic surgeon, in this RealSelf Q&A. “Your breasts are likely to sag again to some extent and your abdominal skin will stretch again.

“Furthermore, most tummy tucks involve a muscle plication or reinforcement," she continues. "Those rectus muscles will separate if you become pregnant again. I'm not saying that the procedure can't be done, and if the appearance of your body now bothers you so much that you can't wait, then maybe it's the right decision for you. That said, I usually encourage my patients to wait.”

Will I be required to wear a compression garment?

Some doctors don’t believe wearing a binder is necessary, but others may recommend wearing one for up to six weeks. Doctors who choose to use binders place their patients in one right after surgery. You will then wear it 24 hours a day for the first week, changing to less compression and fewer hours over the next few weeks. Follow your surgeon’s recommendation.

How soon can I have sex after a mommy makeover?

Any sexual activity should be avoided for a minimum of two weeks, and your plastic surgeon may advise you to wait longer.

“I typically recommend that my patients refrain completely from sexual activity for two weeks following a mommy makeover operation, and to remain quite gentle until at least six weeks post-op,” says Dr. Joshua D. Zuckerman, a New York plastic surgeon. “This allows sufficient time for the incisions to heal, for the abdominal plication from the tummy tuck to become stable, and for breast implant pockets to become mature and stable.”

Looking for more?

This guide has been reviewed for medical accuracy by Dr. Steven M. Camp, an independent expert and Fort Worth, Texas, plastic surgeon. Dr. Camp is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Disclaimer: This content is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment provided by a qualified healthcare professional. Your reliance on any information or content provided in the guide is solely at your own risk. You should always seek the advice of your physician or healthcare professional for any questions you have about your own medical condition. RealSelf does not endorse or recommend any specific content, procedure, product, opinion, healthcare professional, or any other material or information in this guide or anywhere on this website.

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