Having a baby changes everything. This phrase gets floated around a lot. Indeed, choosing to grow your family often results in changes to your schedule, your career, and your relationships. Saturdays are no longer for sleeping in; they’re for dance classes and soccer practice. Date nights get replaced with family nights at the playground, and chicken nuggets become a household staple. These changes are expected, and people are usually pretty open about them. But there’s another type of post-baby change that women are just starting to be more open about; changes to their bodies.
If you assumed that your body would essentially “bounce back” on its own a few months post-pregnancy, you’re not alone. The truth is, this rarely happens without some level of intervention. Pregnancy often results in permanent changes in skin elasticity, breast size and shape, and fat distribution. The good news is that women who want to change and improve their body contour post-pregnancy do have options.
The Mommy Makeover is a set of surgical and non-surgical procedures meant to tone, tighten, and re-contour a woman’s body post-pregnancy. One of the best things about the Mommy Makeover is that it can be customized. You can discuss your goals and then pick and choose the specific procedures that will help you achieve them. Keep reading, and you’ll learn more about the elements often included in a Mommy Makeover.
After pregnancy, women sometimes spend hours in the gym trying to strengthen their abs and get rid of excess belly fat. Often, they are successful in losing weight, but a pooch of loose skin still remains on their belly. Crunches and stair climbing are never going to get rid of that pooch. It’s the result of a loss of skin elasticity in the abdominal area. This excess skin is very normal after pregnancy, but it can still affect your confidence and make you uncomfortable wearing certain clothing.
The tummy tuck is a procedure that involves the removal of excess skin and fat from the abdomen. It’s more formally known as abdominoplasty. Essentially, your plastic surgeon will remove your pooch, restoring your tummy to its flatter, toned, pre-pregnancy shape. If your abdominal muscles separated during pregnancy – which happens in about one-third of women – your surgeon can correct this during a tummy tuck, too.
It is important to note that a tummy tuck is not a substitute for weight loss. If you lose a lot of weight after the operation, you could be left with loose skin again. As such, plastic surgeons usually recommend that women lose their desired amount of weight before scheduling a Mommy Makeover with a tummy tuck. If you are thinking of becoming pregnant again, hold off on the tummy tuck until after your final pregnancy.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding can leave your breasts looking deflated and saggy. As such, a breast lift is one of the most common elements included in a Mommy Makeover. This procedure, which is more formally known as mastopexy, removes excess skin from above the breasts. This essentially lifts the breasts, resulting in a more youthful contour. Women who have breast lifts often report feeling more confident in bathing suits and low-neckline tops again.
If one breast hangs lower than the other or your nipples point towards the ground, this can be addressed with a breast lift.
Breast Augmentation or Reduction
While a breast lift will raise your breasts and adjust their position on your chest, it will not change their actual size. If your breasts seem smaller and less full post-pregnancy, talk to your surgeon about including breast augmentation in your Mommy Makeover.
There are a couple of different types of breast augmentation to consider. Both can generally be performed at the same time as a breast lift.
If you want substantially larger breasts, then implants are usually the best option. However, they do come in a wide range of sizes, and you can absolutely maintain a natural silhouette with implants.
If you only want a small increase in breast size, then your surgeon may suggest fat transfer. In a fat transfer procedure, fat cells are removed from other parts of your body, such as your thighs or abdomen, and injected into your breasts. Fat transfer is also recommended when one breast is larger than the other. Adding fat to the smaller breast can increase its size while maintaining a natural appearance.
Does your backside look less… perky after pregnancy? It’s common for postpartum women to complain of saggy rear ends. Squats and lunges can help build muscle in your backside, but if the skin in this area is loose, no amount of exercise will restore your pre-pregnancy look.
A buttocks lift involves the removal of excess skin from the backside. An incision is made along your lower back, stretching from hip to hip. Extra skin is removed, and the remaining skin is pulled upward. The incisions are carefully placed where they’ll be hidden by your underwear or bathing suit. Women who include a buttocks lift in their Mommy Makeover find that their backside appears more toned, less dimpled, and smoother after the procedure.
A buttocks lift gets rid of saggy skin, but if you also want to increase the size of your backside, you should consider breast augmentation. As with breast augmentation, there are two options to consider: implants and fat transfer. Either procedure can typically be performed at the same time as your buttocks lift, so you only have to go through the healing process once.
Fat transfer can make quite a dramatic difference in the appearance of your rear. Since your own fat is used, there is no risk of tissue rejection. The results appear quite natural, and your surgeon can custom-position the fat to achieve your preferred size and shape.
Buttocks implants are not as common as fat transfer. There are some complications to consider, such as sciatic nerve damage, and recovery can be challenging. However, if you do not have enough excess body fat for a fat transfer procedure, your surgeon may recommend buttocks implants as a part of your Mommy Makeover. The implants are typically placed beneath the gluteal muscles. You’ll need to avoid sitting or sleeping on your backside for a few weeks as you recover.
Excess skin around your inner thighs may make you feel uncomfortable in a bathing suit. This sagging skin can also make it harder to find pants that fit. One size might fit you around the waist, but be too tight on your thighs. Another size might fit around your thighs, but sag elsewhere. These complaints are common among women who lose their pre-pregnancy weight but find that their skin does not shrink as they shed body fat.
Once you’re close to your goal weight, talk to a plastic surgeon about including a thigh lift in your Mommy Makeover. Your surgeon can make an incision down the inside of your thigh, remove excess skin, and then suture the remaining skin back in place.
There are two versions of the thigh lift. The medial thigh lift involves short incisions and mostly removes excess skin from the uppermost part of the inner thigh. A standard thigh lift requires longer incisions and tones the entire length of the thigh. Your surgeon can show you images depicting the likely results of both procedures. This will help you choose the approach that best suits your goals. Once you heal, you’ll be able to actually see those toned legs you’ve been building at the gym!
This is one that often surprises women. You expect pregnancy to affect the appearance of your midsection, your breasts, and maybe even your thighs. But changes to your upper arms often come as more of a surprise. The truth is, it’s not uncommon for women to put on extra weight in their upper arms during pregnancy. This is normal. It is a result of changes in hormone levels during pregnancy, and it does not mean you are over-eating or gaining too much weight. The struggle, however, is that once you lose the weight post-pregnancy, the skin on your arms does not return to its original state.
An arm lift, or brachioplasty, can reshape your upper arms post-pregnancy. During the procedure, your surgeon will remove excess skin. They can also smooth some of the underlying connective tissues in your arms that may have become stretched out. If there are still pockets of excess fat lingering, your surgeon can remove those, too.
Unlike your buttocks or thighs, your arms are a part of your body that are exposed on a routine basis – even in professional attire. As such, it’s really common for women to include an arm lift in their Mommy Makeover. This one procedure can help you feel confident wearing dresses, blouses, and sleeveless tops once again.
Liposuction, affectionately known as lipo, is a very common element of Mommy Makeovers. While liposuction is not a replacement for healthy dieting and exercise, it can help remove stubborn pockets of fat that don’t respond to healthy lifestyle changes. Some women have liposuction performed around their abdomen. Others have it performed on their thighs, upper arms, hips, or back.
Liposuction is performed through tiny incisions. Your surgeon will make a small incision, and then insert a tool called a cannula into that incision. As they move the cannula in a back-and-forth motion, it will suck fat cells into a collection chamber. If you also opted for a fat transfer procedure as a part of your Mommy Makeover, some of those fat cells can be redistributed to your buttocks or breasts.
Liposuction has come a long way in recent years, and modern approaches are very targeted and effective. The following are some more specialized types of liposuction that your surgeon may recommend, depending on your overall health and goals:
– Ultrasound-Assisted Liposuction: This procedure involves the use of ultrasonic vibrations to break up and dissolve fat beneath the skin. This makes the fat easier to extract, minimizing bruising and discomfort in recovery.
– Laser-Assisted Liposuction: In laser-assisted liposuction, a laser is used to dissolve fat so it can be removed more easily.
– Tumescent Liposuction: Also known as fluid injection liposuction, this procedure involves the injection of a fluid into the fatty tissue that will be removed. This fluid causes the blood vessels to contract, minimizing damage to healthy tissue. The fluid typically also contains a local anesthetic, which helps minimize post-surgical pain.
After liposuction, you should expect to look swollen and bruised for a few days. However, once the swelling dissipates, most patients are very impressed by their younger, trimmer look.
As you can see, many of the procedures discussed so far are surgical, however, there are also options for women who desire a more youthful look without the risks of surgery. The following are a few non-surgical procedures that are popular among post-partum women.
1. EMTONE: This non-invasive procedure uses radiofrequency and targeted pressure energy to reduce the appearance of cellulite. It can help tighten and tone the skin on the inner thighs, hips, and buttocks. Most women need four Emtone treatments, spaced about one week apart, to get the desired results.
2. EMSCULPT: This treatment uses radiofrequency and electromagnetic energy to reduce body fat and help build muscle. It is often used on the abdomen, buttocks, and arms. You’ll feel your muscles contracting intensely during the procedure, but it is not overtly painful.
3. EMFACE: If you are primarily concerned with sagging skin and a loss of fullness in your face post-pregnancy, talk to your physician about Emface. This non-invasive and needle-free procedure can tone facial muscles and lift the look of your face. The process is painless, and there’s no downtime or recovery time needed.
Pregnancy can change your body in expected and unexpected ways. But motherhood does not have to mean losing confidence in yourself or your appearance. If you’d like to regain a more toned, youthful look, consider a Mommy Makeover. This set of procedures can be customized to suit your individual needs and goals.
If you’d prefer a less invasive approach, today’s radiofrequency and injection-based treatments can deliver remarkable results, too. Contact You First Medical Aesthetics if you’re looking for non-surgical body contouring in the Daytona Beach area. Dr. Haynes is Double Board Certified in Obesity and Family Medicine and can help you achieve natural results in a healthy, balanced way.