Being a mother is arguably one of the hardest, most demanding callings in life, yet one of the most satisfying and rewarding. The journey to motherhood results in significant changes to a woman’s body, and despite preventive self-care, a healthy diet, and routine exercise, many women will often display the physical sequela of pregnancy after childbirth and breastfeeding.
During pregnancy, all women will experience some degree of breast enlargement as the body naturally prepares itself for breastfeeding. Despite supportive bras and skin moisturizers, significant breast growth may stretch the skin sufficiently to leave the breasts deflated and sagging after pregnancy. In addition, a woman’s abdominal muscles and skin will stretch and grow to accommodate a developing child, which can leave one with post-pregnancy loose abdominal skin, prominent stretch marks, and separated muscles. Weight gain during pregnancy may also leave women with excess fat deposits in their waist, flanks and thighs that can persist even after reaching their pre-pregnancy weight.
As mothers devote their time and energy to caring for their children, any focus on their own needs and physical appearance is often pushed to the back burner. As a result, the “Mommy Makeover” was created. A popularized term, the Mommy Makeover combines a breast enhancement and abdominal contouring procedure to restore a woman’s pre-pregnancy appearance and contour. By combining the two procedures, women can safely address the areas of their bodies hit hardest by pregnancy while undergoing a single recovery that requires little downtime from their responsibilities as a mother.
Just as each woman’s body will respond to pregnancy and breastfeeding in different ways, Mommy Makeover treatments should be customized based on the degree of changes to a woman’s breasts and abdomen, as well as each woman’s desired goals.
Most women fall into one of three categories of breast rejuvenation needs:
- For women who find their breast growth during pregnancy desirable and wish to replace any lost volume incurred during breastfeeding, a breast augmentation will restore their desired breast size.
- For women who maintained their breast size but developed excess breast skin that produces a sagging shape and low nipple, a breast lift can be performed. A lift will remove the excess skin and elevate the natural breast tissue and nipple into a higher, more youthful position.
- For women desiring complete breast rejuvenation, implants and a breast lift can be performed in the same setting, addressing all pregnancy-related breast changes.
Abdominal contouring for women after pregnancy helps flatten a woman’s stomach, strengthens her core, and improves her posture.
- Women with mild amounts of excess abdominal skin and stretch marks limited to below the belly button will benefit most from a mini-tummy tuck. Mini-tummy tucks produce shorter scars, do not require an incision around the belly button, and have shorter recovery periods than traditional tummy tucks.
- Women with greater amounts of excess abdominal skin and/or abdominal muscle laxity and separation are best treated with a full tummy tuck. This more powerful procedure allows for dramatic changes in contour by addressing post-pregnancy changes of the entire abdominal region.
With any combination of breast and abdominal surgeries, liposuction can be added to further refine breast, abdominal, and lower body contour by treating areas of isolated fat deposition.
A mother’s work is never done, and rarely is it fully appreciated. Mothers deserve the opportunity to take time for themselves, and a Mommy Makeover can help return one’s confidence and overall sense of self.
As an Emory, Harvard, and University of Pittsburgh-trained, ASPS board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Castillo provides Mommy Makeovers for women looking to restore their bodies after childbirth. By considering each woman’s unique figure, Dr. Castillo tailors procedures to help women look fit and feel confident.
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