Marianne Campolongo, Staff Writer
Marianne A. Campolongo is an experienced writer and photographer. Her work has appeared in newspapers and magazines and on websites. The topics she has written about include health, parenting, lifestyles, travel, food, and dieting. She has also photographed magazine covers, including personalities such as Hillary Clinton and former CBS co-anchor René Syler. She holds a law degree from Fordham University School of Law.
November 15 2007
Mommy Makeovers: A Body After Baby
After having a baby, many women struggle to overcome the changes that occur to their bodies due to pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding. For instance, breastfeeding often enhances your breast size and helps burn calories. But once you stop nursing, losing weight after baby gets harder. Your lovely full breasts may start to sag. Even worse, they may shrink smaller than before you were pregnant. Unfortunately, that after-baby tummy bump, that you want to shrink, may not disappear!
It's not your fault. Bouncing back into prepregnancy shape is not easy and sometimes even the best balanced diet and exercises won't do the job.
Having a baby stretches your abdominal muscles from the inside and wreaks havoc on those "six-pack" muscles that keep your tummy firm and flat. After childbirth, your abs may not bounce back, turning even the fittest mom's "after-baby belly" into a bulge hanging over her low-slung jeans. Your skin has also stretched out and may not recover completely. And each time you have another child, bouncing back gets harder and harder.
Help for a Better Body after Baby
When diet and exercise fail, more and more women are turning to a "mommy makeover" to lift sagging breasts, reduce saddlebag hips, and tighten the after-baby belly. The most commonly requested cosmetic surgeries for a mommy makeover include a tummy tuck to reduce the belly, breast augmentation to restore the fullness of breasts and a breast lift to reduce breast sag. Some women also choose to have liposuction and other body sculpting procedures as part of their mommy makeover.
Choose the Right Combination of Procedures to Get the Best Results from a Mommy Makeover
With the right combination of procedures, a mommy makeover can make a women's body nearly as firm as it was before childbirth. Depending on a person's individual goals, overall health, and the extent of the procedures selected, several cosmetic plastic surgery procedures can be performed all at once, with just one recovery period, or they can be spread out over time.
One important thing to remember, a mommy makeover isn't for first-time moms who expect to have a larger family down the road. Getting pregnant again after a makeover will undo the benefits of the cosmetic procedures. Also, breast surgery may affect your ability to nurse.
Most experts agree that a woman should want a makeover for herself, not simply to please others. She should be strong and healthy, physically and mentally, and be prepared for the recovery period, which can be anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks or longer, depending on the cosmetic surgeries procedures performed.
If you're considering a mommy makeover, there are at least two good reasons to wait at least 6 months to a year after having your last child:
- To give yourself time to see if diet and exercise can do the trick
- During your recovery period you won't be able to lift your baby.
Here's a tip: start planning your makeover while you're pregnant with your last child (many moms do)—just know it's a long-term plan!
Mommy Makeovers Are More Popular Than Ever Before
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, statistics show that more than 325,000 women age 20 to 39 had tummy tucks, breast augmentation and breast lifts in 2006, an 11% increase over 2005.
"In this day and age, women are giving birth later, returning to their careers sooner, and have busier schedules than ever before. Many are finding cosmetic plastic surgery to be the answer to returning to a prepregnancy shape they are comfortable with," said Roxanne Guy, MD, ASPS president.
Having a baby should be a happy experience. Some moms see their sagging breasts, poochy bellies, and stretch marks as badges of honor. That's great. But moms who want their after-baby bodies to be just as sculpted as they were before baby are turning more and more to mommy makeovers.