We all love moms but moms often don’t like what happens to their bodies with pregnancy, weight gain, and breastfeeding. The goal of a mommy makeover is to correct the changes that occur as a result of pregnancy and breastfeeding. And not uncommonly, it’s an opportunity to improve what was there before you started having children.
Why does this all happen?
Pregnancy and breastfeeding are natural and clearly incredibly important. Women’s bodies were “designed” for childbearing and breastfeeding, but apparently, the designer was less concerned about what happens afterward! The areas most commonly affected are the abdomen, breasts, and thighs. Vaginal changes, both internal and external, are also common.
What happens in the abdominal region?
Pregnancy involves rapid increase in the volume of abdominal contents as the uterus expands, and this results in pressure on the abdominal muscles. Between the two rectus abdominis muscles (the “Abs” or sit-up muscles) there is a vertical connection called the linea alba, and that connection thins stretches and widens as the baby grows inside a woman’s tummy. As this occurs, the two vertical “Abs”, which run between the ribs and the pubic bone, move apart allowing additional space in the abdomen. Without this happening, the muscles themselves would be badly damaged and stretched. The skin also accommodates by stretching. After pregnancy, the skin retracts a bit, and the abdominal muscles move a bit closer, but usually not to the pre-pregnancy state. Multiple pregnancies and excessive weight gain during pregnancy make the changes greater. The body produces a hormone to help the skin and linea alba stretch and thin, and all these changes are permanent. Stretch marks, striae (red lines) and pigment change are also common. After the baby is born, the volume disappears, but the stretched muscles and linea alba remain producing a gap which is almost like a hernia. It’s called diastasis recti. The skin has a tendency to ripple and hang. With a Cesarean Section (“C-Section”) a scar is produced and this may adhere to the underlying muscles creating a “shelf” that the upper skin drapes over.
What happens in the breast region?
Breasts are made up of milk-producing glandular tissue and fat. During pregnancy, the breast tissue expands and the fat tissue increases with weight gain. The combination stretches the skin. The increased weight, along with the enlargement, causes stretch marks, striae, and a tendency for the breasts to droop. Breastfeeding can increase the size of the nipple, and pigment changes in the areola are common. After pregnancy and breastfeeding, the glandular tissue and fat reduce, but the stretched skin often remains resulting in increased droop and deflation.
What happens in the vaginal region?
Changes are both internal and external. Internal changes include loss of muscle tone and increase in size. Externally, the outer lips (labia majora) frequently lose fat resulting in a deflated look, and the inner lips (labia minora) may stretch, hang, and protrude more than before childbirth.
The classic Mommy Makeover involves a tummy tuck or abdominoplasty, and a breast procedure. Liposuction is also frequently performed as well. Both the abdominal procedure and the breast procedure are customized to the woman’s needs. For example, the abdomen may include a mini-tuck or a full abdominoplasty, and the breast procedure may be an augmentation, a lift with or without an augmentation, or a breast reduction. Nipple reduction may also be performed.
Is it safe to do all these procedures at once?
Once you’re a mom, you suddenly have really important responsibilities, so that’s a great question. All surgery has risks, and we will discuss those risks in detail, but complications are uncommon and major complications are rare.
When should a mommy makeover be performed?
Mommy makeovers should be performed after you are finished with childbearing, and generally, after your weight has stabilized at a weight you can maintain. You may not shed all the baby weight, but if you’re planning on losing a substantial amount of weight, you should do that prior to surgery. Breastfeeding should be complete and it’s a good idea to be non-breast feeding for at least three months prior to surgery. I’ve done full mommy makeovers on women who are over 70, so it’s never too late!
What happens if I get pregnant after the mommy makeover?
The surgery will not prevent you from becoming pregnant and delivering a healthy baby, but it’s very likely that many of the improvements from the mommy makeover will be lost.
Can I have a mommy makeover at the same time as a C-section?
It is possible to perform a tummy tuck at the time of the C-section, but in general, I recommend against it. You’re going to be very busy after childbirth, and your recovery from a tummy tuck is going to slow you down at a time when you’ll need all your energy and focus.
Can you describe the various procedures?
Should I have a mommy makeover?
That’s a question only you can answer. At your consultation, we will discuss your goals and objectives, the recovery process, and the risks related to surgery. With that information, you’ll be in a position to make the decision which is correct for you.
To learn more about what you can expect during a Mommy Makeover, or to schedule your consultation with Dr. Barnett at either his San Francisco or Walnut Creek office, please complete the form on this page or call 415-362-1221