Becoming a mother is an incredible experience. You will feel so many exciting emotions when your child is born — pride, joy, amazement and more. But among all the positives that come with having a child, you might also feel some worry or sadness at the changes that your body goes through during pregnancy and childbirth. The relationship that you build with your baby as it grows in your womb and as you breastfeed is precious, but it takes a toll on your physique. Some women view these changes as proof of their journey through life and motherhood, but others find them uncomfortable or embarrassing. The latter effect can take a toll on a woman’s self-confidence, which can interfere with many aspects of her life from everyday happiness to intimacy.
While you might think that self-care, eating well and exercising could help women who aren’t happy with their post-baby bodies, this isn’t always true. Stretched skin on the breasts and belly, separated abdominal muscle and stubborn leftover fat may not respond to these lifestyle-related efforts. What’s more, busy moms don’t always have the time to spend hours at the gym working on their fitness. It can be even more frustrating to want to do something about your body but feel unable to get anywhere. Fortunately, modern techniques offer another solution: a customizable package of surgical procedures dubbed the “mommy makeover.”
At Dr. Andrews Plastic Surgery, we know that all mothers are beautiful inside and out — and we want them to know that, too. We proudly provide mommy makeover procedures to many women who are seeking to restore their appearance after pregnancy and breastfeeding. With this post, you can learn more about the procedures that we can include in your mommy makeover package and how they can help address your unique concerns.
Every woman will gain weight during pregnancy — and it’s important that some of this weight is her own and not the baby’s. Women’s bodies need extra energy, insulation and nutrition to support their body and their baby as it develops. But once the baby is born, you will likely be left with some of the extra weight. This weight is notoriously difficult to lose; you will be busy caring for your new baby, recovering from childbirth and balancing your life with a new child. Finding time to exercise and burn calories might be one of the last things on your mind.
If your main postpartum concern is losing this excess fat, liposuction on the abdomen and the waist can be a targeted, time-saving way to restore your body to its former shape. Liposuction works best for patients who have healthy, elastic skin that has re-tightened satisfactorily over the abdomen during postpartum recovery. Liposuction cannot address loose or stretched skin, so if you have these concerns as well, liposuction alone may not accomplish your goals.
During liposuction, your surgeon creates small, hidden incisions and injects a solution that will numb the area and decrease bleeding. Then, a thin tube-like tool called a cannula is inserted into your fat tissue through the incision, and a suction effect removes excess fat in the area. There is soreness associated with this procedure, but most patients can return to work in 48-72 hours. After a few weeks to allow for all residual swelling to subside, you will notice significant changes in your body shape as stubborn, unwanted fat is now eliminated for good.
If you do have significantly stretched or loose skin on your belly after pregnancy, you will likely need an abdominoplasty (or “tummy tuck”) surgery along with liposuction. Abdominoplasty is a more intensive procedure, but it permanently removes excess skin and fat from the lower abdomen and waist. The result is a tighter, flatter belly instead of a “pooch” around the belly button.
A tummy tuck can also help women who are left with a condition called diastasis recti, or separated abdominal muscles. In many pregnancies, the growing womb causes the “six-pack” muscles on your abs to spread apart. After the baby is born, the separated muscles allow your intestines to protrude giving the appearance that you are still pregnant. This can be very distressing. During your tummy tuck, your surgeon can tighten the abdominal muscles with suturing techniques and correct the appearance of diastasis recti giving you a flat contour again.
A tummy tuck can be combined with liposuction to address skin, muscles and fat at the same time. It’s common to use these two procedures together during a mommy makeover for a fully sculpted abdomen and waistline. Abdominoplasty requires two to three weeks of rest and recovery, and your ability to exercise or lift heavy objects may be limited for some time. But the procedure produces high-quality results that are well worth the commitment; for concerns like loose skin and muscles and excess fat, no other permanent solution delivers such powerful results.
Breast Augmentation and Breast Lift
Pregnancy and lactation cause your breasts to noticeably swell until you are done breastfeeding. Once the breast swelling subsides and the breasts return to a normal size, your breasts can be left looking deflated, saggy and stretched, and even appearing smaller than they were before your pregnancy. If you want to restore volume or perkiness, you can choose to include breast augmentation and/or a breast lift to your mommy makeover.
Breast augmentation is a volume-enhancing procedure that uses implants to give the breasts a fuller appearance. The implants are placed within the breast envelope to “fill” the space left behind after pregnancy. Breast implants are available in many shapes and sizes, so you can create new breasts that look very natural or very dramatic depending on your goals.
For women who are concerned about loose breast skin and sagging, a breast lift can be performed instead of a breast augmentation or with a breast augmentation to fully rejuvenate your breasts. During a breast lift, your surgeon excises some of the loose skin and moves the nipple and areola to a higher position on your breast. The result is that your breasts sit higher on your chest wall and appear perkier instead of sagging.
Breast augmentation is a relatively quick and simple procedure — many women only need a weekend to recover before returning to work. A breast lift is a little more intensive and involves more incisions, so if you choose a lift or a combined lift/augmentation you will want to plan for a week or two away from most daily activities.
Results Tailored Just for You
At Dr. Andrews Plastic Surgery, we offer several “mommy makeover” approaches which combine abdominal and breast enhancement procedures to help you achieve your goals. During your visit, you will work with Dr. Kahlil Andrews to determine which set of procedures will be best for you. We also offer financing options, since these procedures are cosmetic and are not covered by health insurance. The mommy makeover is designed to save you time and money, though, since performing multiple procedures at once saves on surgical costs and also consolidates your recovery time.
The Dr. Andrews Plastic Surgery team offers extensive expertise providing mommy makeovers and a host of other aesthetic treatments. For expert plastic surgery and non-invasive cosmetic procedures in the Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, Iowa areas, please contact us to schedule your consultation. You can make your appointment by calling 319-382-8230.