Do You Need a Mommy Makeover?
The physical ability to create, nourish and grow another human life is one of most amazing and rewarding things women are able to do (with the help of our male counterparts, of course!). Some women seem to just sail through pregnancy without morning sickness, significant weight gain, skin changes, stretch marks, heartburn but for a majority of women, pregnancy takes a toll on our bodies, particularly the breasts and abdomen.
On average, women gain 25-35 pounds during pregnancy. Some of this weight is stored as fatty tissue in the breasts, abdomen, flanks, buttocks, thighs and hips. The breasts are preparing for nursing, and as they change, the skin is stretched and the tissue changes. As the baby grows, the abdomen gets bigger and bigger, stretching the skin (causing irreversible breaks in the collagen – stretch marks) and separating the abdominal muscles (rectus diastasis).
Weight loss following pregnancy does occur in many women, but so many are disappointed with their post-baby bodies and simply cannot diet and exercise their way back. This is because some of the changes to our bodies following childbirth are permanent. The stretch marks, the separation of the abdominal muscles (leading to a bulge that never goes away), and deflation of the breasts after breastfeeding are often the lifelong reminders of how pregnancy does take a toll on our bodies.
A Mommy Makeover is a combination of procedures that plastic surgeons perform to counteract the physical effects of childbearing. I hear from a lot of women that they feel selfish about even considering a cosmetic procedure. Reasons include time away from the family, money that could be spent on the children, and the natural tendency that we have as women to sacrifice ourselves and give everything we have to our loved ones, colleagues and friends. In reality, it is not self-centered, vain, egotistical (plug in any negative word you’ve probably used) to take care of yourself, feel youthful, sexy, and self-confident. Having a positive self-image not only benefits you, but your significant other and children as well. It can improve your energy level, your interactions with others, and your enjoyment of life. You may be a new mommy, but don’t forget that you are still YOU, and you deserve to feel happy!
Every woman is different, and what bothers one may not bother another. It’s a very specific, individual decision to restore and enhance your body. In general, a mommy makeover describes surgical procedures to the breasts and abdomen that are performed at the same time or separated in to 2 or more operations. Breast procedures include: breast lift, reduction, augmentation, or commonly a combination of a lift with an implant. Abdominal procedures include: full tummy tuck with tightening of the separated muscles, mini tummy tuck, and liposuction.
The length of surgery and cost depends on the amount and type of procedures performed. Costs usually include the surgeon’s fee, the operating room or surgery center fee, the anesthesia fee, and implant cost (if applicable).
Things to consider before a mommy makeover (or any type of surgical body contouring) are:
Are you done having children and breastfeeding? Having more pregnancies following surgery can cause the results to be less than optimal as the skin, breasts and abdominal wall stretch again. I recommend that you wait at least 6 months before considering body contouring after the birth of a baby. This time allows your body to reach equilibrium, and your new family life and emotions to become more regular.
Is your weight stable? If you continue to lose (or gain) weight, the results will be less than optimal following surgery.
Is your health stable? Any health problems need to be controlled and under the care of your primary physician prior to having elective surgery. You should follow all recommendations for screening mammograms and other preventative health measures. Your emotional health is just as important – surgery is never a cure for depression, anxiety or relationship problems.
Are your expectations reasonable? All surgery produces scars and has associated risks. I talk with patients very frankly about the trade-offs of surgery, the risks, and what can be expected. There’s no free lunch, so if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! If you begin the process with a positive, healthy attitude, good health and realistic expectations of how surgery will impact your life, you can rejuvenate your body and look and feel as beautiful (or better!) than you did before pregnancy.
Dr. Michelle Spring is a plastic and reconstructive surgeon located in Sandpoint (Ponderay), Idaho, and now also in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. She performs elective surgery at the beautiful, new, accredited outpatient Pend Oreille Surgery Center. Dr. Spring has advanced training in cosmetic breast surgery and body contouring. For more questions or to schedule an appointment, please call 208.265.4005 or visit www.SeasonsPlasticSurgery.com