Mommy makeovers: How soon is too soon?
We have an obsession with celebrities, and truthfully, I have an obsession with Kate Middleton - her clothes, her shoes, her hair! I have enjoyed watching her romance with William for the nearly a decade, and now, the birth of their baby. During the past several months, she has set fashion trends with her maternity wear, and during the next several months, she will likely set more trends as her body changes again.
Kate Middleton has just started her journey, and talk of a "mommy makeover" is premature, but as we watch her, we may wonder what is normal. Through the lens of paparazzi photos, we may be under the illusion that celebrity moms return to their pre-baby selves instantaneously; however, it is important to understand that all transformations take time. After the birth of a child, it takes several months for your body to return to its pre-pregnancy form. During pregnancy, the body makes hormones and changes to allow for the birth and growth of the new child. Not only does the abdomen have to stretch to accommodate the growing child, but breasts engorge to help provide milk for the baby. Once these changes are no longer necessary, the skin will contract to varying degrees in an effort to return the body to its pre-pregnancy state.
Following pregnancy, despite regular diet and exercise, some women may find that they have excess skin in the lower abdomen, and others may find that they have breasts that have lost volume and "sag," even after returning to their pre-baby weight. A mommy makeover describes the surgical procedures done to correct these changes and may include an abdominoplasty (also known as a "tummy tuck"), liposuction, and either a breast lift, breast reduction or breast augmentation.
These surgeries are body contouring procedures, not weight loss procedures. To ensure that you have a long-lasting result, you should be at your goal weight for at least six months and have stopped breast-feeding for 6 months. It's important to have stopped breast-feeding because your breasts need to return to their normal size and shape and stop producing milk. Additionally, I advise patients to have completed childbearing before proceeding with a "mommy makeover." You can have a successful pregnancy after a "mommy makeover," but you may require more procedures if you have more children or large weight fluctuations after your initial surgeries.
As I write this blog, I am watching the morning news shows - all of which are discussing the first wave, the carseat, Kate Middleton's dress, and the drive home. While thoughts of a mommy makeover are far from her mind, we have to remember that each of us will recover from pregnancy at different rates, and we just need to enjoy the journey. When it is time to consider surgery, I urge all patients to do their homework before having surgery. Make sure that you see a qualified surgeon who is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Ask where the surgery will be performed and make sure that it is an accredited facility. Ask to look at photos and make sure that you like and trust your surgeon.
As always, the advice of Dr. Bajaj is right on the money. These are the thing all mother's would like to know.Thanks, Anu for the well thought out and written blog!
David B. Reath, MD