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Just like the process of pregnancy, recovering from it is also a function of time. Stretched out abdominal skin and muscles and engorged breasts will not instantly snap back into what they were.  At the least it is a period of months before a woman’ s body has any chance of returning to its pre-pregnancy shape…if that is even possible. For many women unfortunately that simply is not going to happen. A few fortunate ones do but many woman will have some permanent body changes.

The hallmark of irreversible pregnancy changes is that of loss of the elasticity of the skin, often seen as stretch marks. Stretch marks essentially represent a spring that has been broken and can not return to its original shape. On the breast this results in some degree of sag which is accentuated if there is any volume loss. On the stomach it is loose skin that is no longer tight or hangs down due to being overstretched. Some skin retraction occurs in every woman after pregnancy but the presence of stretch marks indicates that complete ‘snapback‘ will not occur even if one returns to their pre-pregnancy weight.

Once these body changes have occurred this is where the role of the Mommy Makeover comes into play. In the purest form of the phrase, this is a plastic surgery procedure in which both breasts and the abdomen are treated concurrently. It encompasses traditional forms of female body contouring surgery which includes breast reshaping (lift, implant or both), tummy tuck and liposuction. This combination can cause a powerful transformation of a woman’s body due to its ‘ying and yang’ effect of breast uplift/enlargement and inward/tightening of the abdomen.

A common question that many women pose is when is a good time after pregnancy to have a Mommy Makeover procedure. For some women this question may be how soon after pregnancy can they have it done. The fundamental concept is that this surgery is not for weight loss but for body contouring. Thus a women should be either at or very close to what they believe is their best weight. For some that may be what their weight was before pregnancy, for others it may be within 10 to 15 lbs. In addition, one should have stopped breast feeding at least 3 months before a surgery date if not longer. Both weight loss and the cessation of breastfeeding are to allow the abdomen and breasts to stop changing so that the contouring surgery results can be maximized and hopefully stable afterwards.

The best value of a Mommy Makeover is that it is done when one is certain that they have completed having children. Unplanned pregnancies can and do happen after any form of body contouring surgery. There is no problem getting pregnant afterward and carrying to term even with the muscle tightening of a tummy tuck. But the result will always be adversely affected and additional procedures will likely be needed to return to the initial surgical reshaping outcome.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis Indiana

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