Get your pre-baby body back with a mommy makeover
If I had a quarter for every time I heard a mom say having kids “ruined” her body, I would be filthy rich. While some women wear their stretch marks and crepe paper skin proudly, plenty of women would prefer to have their old bodies back. And for some, no amount of exercise or toning exercises can lift and tighten sagging breasts and bellies or eliminate stubborn pockets of fat.
For moms who are otherwise healthy and strong and just want to feel sexy and beautiful again, a mommy makeover might just be the ticket. Before you balk at the idea, know that 1.9 million women underwent some form of a mommy makeover in 2015, and experts say that number is expected to increase by 20 percent this year.
“Every mom who has two, three, or more kids is going to experience changes to their bodies. And despite diet and exercise, they are never really going to have the body they used to have,” explained Dr. Rady Rahban, a Beverly Hills, Calif. plastic surgeon. “So, with the help of surgical interventions like the mommy makeover procedures, women find that they can regain their body image, their core strength, and feel sexy and attractive to themselves again. That’s why women are doing it and why it’s popular.”
This is not a light decision, however. It entails several different procedures that are typically done in one surgical session lasting between 4 to 6 hours. But the dividends are oh-so-worth it, said Clemmons, NC resident Amanda Baumbach, a satisfied patient of Dr. Peter Capizzi, double board certified cosmetic surgeon practicing in North Carolina. “My post-surgery experience was much better than I had expected,” she said. “One month post-mommy makeover, I am over the moon—my results are amazing, and I have more confidence in myself!”
So, what exactly is a mommy makeover?
“In my eyes, the mommy the makeover involves surgical rejuvenation of the breasts and abdomen,” said Dr. Scott Chapin of Chapin Aesthetics, located in Bucks County, PA. “These are the areas that can be most affected by pregnancy and the weight changes involved with this.”
Generally, a mommy makeover will include a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty), a breast lift with possible augmentation or an augmentation with no lift, and some liposuction. Here is why:
Tummy Tuck: “The body is damaged during [pregnancy], with abdominal musculature and fascia being stretched thin and unable to retain its shape and stability,” said Dr. John Paul Tutela, a New Jersey and New York City based plastic surgeon. “Regardless of diet and exercise, the lax abdomen will not return to its flat tight position without surgery.”
Liposuction: “Fat deposits that are resistant to diet and exercise are targeted and removed, leaving the patient with a sculpted body contour,” Dr. Tutela said.
Breast Surgery: “Often after a breast has been engorged from pregnancy and breast feeding, the tissue that was held up by ligaments have stretched and sagged, leaving many women with deflated breasts and nipples that sag and point toward the floor,” Dr. Tutela explained. “A breast lift (sometimes in conjunction with implants) restores the breast to a more youthful position on the chest and can provide more fullness to a woman’s upper chest.”
While these are the main staples in a mommy makeover, some women today are adding vaginal rejuvenation and gluteal enhancement to their list of procedures.
“It truly is restorative surgery,” said Dr. Tutela. “It’s always inspiring to see a woman give priority to herself after years of going through pregnancy, breast feeding, and child rearing where a mother typically puts everyone else in the family before her own self when prioritizing things to do.”
Stretch Marks & Scars
Stretch marks around the tummy are definitely a concern for many moms. If you’re having a tummy tuck, your plastic surgeon will most likely trim away much of the stretched out skin, reducing the number of visible stretch marks and in some cases, getting rid of all of them.
When it comes to scarring, Dr. Cat Begovic, FACS, a double board certified plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills, Calif., said, “there are two things that greatly affect the long-term appearance: one is surgical technique and the second is post-op scar care.” Dr. Begovic says she uses a gentle technique and sutures incisions in such a way as to reduce tension on them and create extremely thin and small scars.
Every surgeon is different and some may have a heavier hand than others, therefore, there are things you can do to help minimize scarring post-surgery. Dr. Begovic suggests Embrace Active Scar Defense silicone strips to help reduce tension on incisions and fortify the skin to help it heal faster with less scarring potential. Beyond this, you can opt for laser therapy to reduce signs of scarring.
What are the risks and recovery?
As with anything, there are always risks to consider. In this case, bleeding, infection, scarring, clotting, and healing issues are possible. “All surgical procedures have similar risks,” said Dr. Capizzi. “Choosing a surgeon for your mommy makeover who does those procedures on a weekly basis, almost every operating day, with excellent training and meticulous technique, can minimize the risks inherent with any surgical procedure.”
As far as down time post surgery—provided there are no complications—some doctors say to stay home from work one week, others say two. Most agree that you can return to normal activities within four to six weeks. You may have to wear compression garments to help with the healing process. Be advised, you won’t realize the full aesthetic results of the mommy makeover for three to six months.
“Seeing the smile, hearing the ecstatic comments, and feeling the beaming self confidence my mommy makeover patients radiate is the reason I love my specialty,” said Dr. Capizzi. “Healthy people made healthier, in mind, body, and spirit!”
Before You Go
Dr. Begovic offers her advice regarding the following five things before undergoing elective surgery.
- Do your research. Make sure your plastic surgeon is board certified in plastic surgery. Look at their qualifications and training, their reviews online, their videos, and before and after pictures.
- Schedule your consultation and ask questions. This is your time to get to know your doctor and understand your surgery.
- Know why you are getting plastic surgery. It should never be because someone is pressuring you to do so, or if you are trying to use it to fix something else in your life. You should get elective plastic surgery for yourself, because you want to, and to make you feel more confident.
- Give yourself time to recover and heal. This will affect your overall outcome and experience. Make sure to follow all of your doctor’s post-op instructions and go to your follow up appointments.
- Stay positive. I strongly believe that being positive and calm going into and recovering from surgery is important. Be patient as your body heals and enjoy the process of your exciting transformation.
By LaRue V. Gillespie