Can Breasts Return to Pre-pregnancy Appearance?

Doctor Answers 20

After pregnancy, your breast will NOT likely return to their exact pre-pregnancy appearance

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Pregnancy is a wonderful experience, and having children even more rewarding!  Congratulations to all the Moms out there.

Regardless of whether you breastfeed or not, your breasts will likely have a slightly different appearance.

Post-pregnancy breasts are often:

  • deflated
  • saggy
  • lacking volume
  • smaller
  • occasionally larger, but droopy

Breast augmentation is one procedure many Moms seek to help get their body back to its pre-pregnancy appearance, or perhaps better than before!  Other women seek a breast lift (if they are happy with their volume in a bra and just want perkier breasts), or a breast reduction if they would like to be significantly smaller.

Be sure to visit a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon with a great deal of experience in surgery of the breasts for the most informative consultation about your particular options.

Karen M. Horton, M.D., M.Sc., F.R.C.S.C.

San Francisco Plastic Surgeon

Before Baby Breasts

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}


Pregnancy changes are very variable:

  • Volume change (usually deflation)
  • Skin laxity
  • stretching of the nipple-areoa complex
  • stretch marks

The fewer of these changes and the less severe, the better chance you have for reestoration tp your pre=pregnacy breasts.

Breast implants will help to restore size and fullness.

Sometimes, a lift is needed to remove extra skin and improve the position of the nipple and breast.

Paul C. Zwiebel, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Post-Pregnancy Breast Changes

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Pregnancy and subsequent breast feeding can have a dramatic impact on the size and shape of a woman's breasts. For these reasons, it's unusual for women's breasts to return to their pre-pregnancy baseline.

During pregnancy, the breasts increase in size in response to a changing hormonal environment. This phenomena is further accentuated by breast feeding, as the glandular tissue enlarges during lactation. To accommodate this increased breast volume, the skin envelope has to stretch as well. Once the process of lactation is completed, the glandular tissue shrinks and the breast decreases in size. The loss of volume is often accompanied by the development of breast sag because of decreased breast volume in the presence of stretched skin.

The response of the breast to pregnancy varies from patient to patient and depends upon a variety of factors. These include the starting size of the breasts, the length of time spent breast feeding and the biologic tendency for the breast skin to stretch during pregnancy. When these factors are favorable, the breasts can potentially return to their pre-pregnancy baseline. Unfortunately, this is rare and the vast majority of women have changes in their breasts following pregnancy.

Can Breasts Return to Pre-pregnancy Appearance?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Thank you for the question.
Yes, breasts do tend to change during and after pregnancy. Often, patients will experience “involutional hypoplasia”; a process where the breasts becomes smaller in size. Women also notice that the breasts may change in position on the chest wall ( “sag”). For this reason, when I see patients in consultation for breast surgery, I recommend that they postpone having the breast surgery, if they are planning on pregnancies in the near future.
I hope this helps.

Possible, But Not Typically

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Absolutely, but this all depends on your body. Breast changes are very common for women following childbirth and breastfeeding. The size of your breasts typically enlarges with milk production, then once you stop breastfeeding, they reduce in size. On top of that, the skin and tissues may be stretched out and your breasts may appear saggier, even if you've returned to your pre-pregnancy size.

Unfortunately, the only way to enhance breast size and shape safely and effectively is by breast augmentation. If your breasts are very saggy, you may also require a breast lift.  

Can breasts return to pre-pregnancy appearance?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Hello! Thank you for your question. This is an excellent question, and one very common for those seeking rejuvenation of the appearance of her breasts, especially after pregnancy. It is unlikely that your breasts will return to its pre-pregnancy state.  Your complaints are likely due to post-pregnancy changes of your breasts as they likely enlarged and stretched during and immediately after your pregnancy as they became engorged with milk for lactation. Now, they have a typical "deflated" appearance as they have settled but have lost much of the enlargement during your pregnancy. Options to ameliorate your complaints would include implant placement, breast lift, fat grafting, or a combination of these modalities. A consultation with a plastic surgeon may help you decide which procedure(s) may be the best option for you.

It may be wise to wait until after you have completed child bearing, as similar changes will occur after each pregnancy. Also, it is not uncommon to have different sizes of breasts, but I would recommend evaluation if there is a sudden change in one side from another, a mass is felt to account for the size difference, any changes in skin or nipple appearance, or drainage/bleeding from the nipple. Changes can certainly continue after future pregnancies. Hope that these answers help!

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Breast changes, enlargment, pregnancy changes

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

There are several changes in the breasts during pregnancy that affects the glands, fatty tissue and overlying skin & nipple areola complex. The severity of changes again varies from person to person, hence it is difficult to predict the changes after pregnancy.

Sanjay Parashar, MD
Dubai Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Appearance of the breasts after pregnancy

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

After a pregnancy, the majority of patients with augmented breasts will still be pleased with the appearance of their breasts.  However, some patients will find that their breasts have become droopy.  These patients may benefit from the placement of larger implants or a breast lift depending on how the patient feels about their breast size.

Kelly Gallego, MD, FACS
Yuba City Plastic Surgeon

Pre-pregnancy breasts

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

It is hard to predict what the breasts will look like after pregnancy.  They may haves some sagging and others may not have any.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

YES, just like Heidi Klum's tummy is runway-ready after 4 babies!

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

But you and I know that the vast majority of women have permanent changes in both their breasts and tummies after pregnancy, whether they breast-feed or not. Some, like Ms. Klum, continue to look fabulous after one, two, or more pregnancies. (Of course, not gaining too much weight during pregnancy, and dieting and exercising back to toned and svelte is needed.) The same applies to women's breasts--if your breasts don't swell too much during pregnancy and you choose not to breast feed, there is a higher chance your breasts will return to their previous look.

The reality for most women is that there will be changes, and those changes can be mild to major. Mild changes may require no plastic surgical help, whereas major changes require implants in some cases, or implants plus breast lift (mastopexy) in others.

If you're not sure, ask an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon who has extensive experience in breast surgery or "mommy makeovers." Even then, none of us has a crystal ball that wil guarantee a specific result--just lots of experience with lots of women who have the same good question!

Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 263 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.