Non-surgical Options for Post Baby Belly

I have had 2 children and I am only 27. I really want to look better than I do, but I don't want to go under the knife. Are there any non surgical procedures or creams I can use? I have stretch marks, loose skin, and I am starting to get varicose veins on my belly.

Doctor Answers 4

Unfortunately not

For a post-pregnancy belly with loose skin and stretch marks, there are no procedures that will create a significant enough tightening of your abdomen (ie Thermage) to be worth the pain and expense. They will all leave you wishing for more than they delivered.

I would advise that you continue with proper diet, exercise, hydration, sun avoidance and know that you are doing all that you can to make it as good as possible. When you finally get to the point where you want to really see a significant improvement, seek the consultation of a very experienced plastic surgeon and see what a tummy tuck can do for you. One patient I have recently met has waited 15 years before doing the surgery and is now on the schedule!

Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

Only surgery effectively corrects post-baby belly

For a belly with loose skin, stretch marks and veins the only corrective option worth the money is surgery. Thermage is a technique that can provide some skin tightening but nothing significant enough for a post-pregnancy loose skin with stretch marks. If you are not ready for this now, fine. At least you know that there is an option for you out there.

Kari L. Colen, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Non-surgical options for abdominal tightening

Thanks for the question.

Unfortunately there are no great solutions for the problems that you raise. These are extremely common problems after childbirth. There are several issues:

  1. Post-pregnancy abdomens commonly suffer from "rectus diastasis". This means that during your pregnancy the muscles that make up your six pack have actually separated and moved towards the sides of your abdomen. This causes your core to look significantly less tight. Unfortunately, working out will not correct the position of the muscles.
  2. Pregnancy also stretches the skin. Tears in the deep layers of the dermis are manifested as stretch marks. They are actually scars where the dermis has torn.
  3. Many times, pregnancy pounds can be hard to shed and normal work-out patterns can be disrupted because of the new arrival.
  4. Extra skin -- pregnancy can actually create more skin. Many times, your natural skin elasticity will make up for some of this, but when the elasticity isn't there, the extra skin can be quite noticeable.

Exercise and healthy eating can help with the third issue. The rest are more difficult.

There are many marketed creams. None provide significant results.

Laser techniques can make small differences, but these are usually not effective at addressing the patient's concerns. Most patients with these concerns require some procedure such as liposuction or abdominoplasty.

Explore your options, talk to as many people as you can but beware of the marketing surrounding creams and laser.

I hope this helps.

Steven H. Williams, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Post-pregnancy abdominal changes

Unfortunately, the creams do not work, and the lasers only tighten about 15-20%. The physical findings you describe are really better treated with a full tummy tuck to remove the loose excess skin and tighten the abdomen.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 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.