Motherhood can be a rewarding experience that brings joy and fulfillment to a woman’s life. But it can also bring some less-than-desirable effects to the body. Weight gain and hormonal fluctuations can turn a woman’s body into something she scarcely recognizes. For many women, the physical reminders of their pregnancies and childbirth experiences are significant, including excess weight in areas like the abdomen, hips, and thighs, stretch marks, sagging breasts, loose skin, and more.
Even with the strictest diets and rigorous exercising, it is often difficult (if not impossible) to return their bodies to the pre-pregnancy appearance. This is because many of the changes simply cannot be reversed with diet and exercise. Dr. Matthew Schulman specializes in Mommy Makeovers, which is a catch-all term for a collection of surgeries often done at the same time that can help reverse the physical effects of pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood. At our New York City Plastic Surgeon practice, Dr. Schulman can meet with you to discuss your surgical needs and aesthetic desires to combine surgeries that can help you see what you achieve the appearance you want.
Since every mommy makeover is developed specifically for each woman, there is no single definition. Most commonly, Mommy makeovers involve a combination of procedures like liposuction, tummy tuck, breast lift, and breast augmentation. Also, even though we use the term Mommy Makeover, it is not necessary that you are a mother to get combination surgeries like this. Normal aging and weight changes can result in similar needs.
Learn more about why mommy makeovers are a good option for many women and how to schedule a consultation with Dr. Schulman to discuss your surgical options.
Unique Patients, Unique Needs
Mommy makeovers are popular procedures because they allow for several different surgical procedures to be performed in a single, safe operation. Because this usually involves a total body makeover, the results can be dramatic. Women find their bodies instantly transformed by their mommy makeovers, and usually end up with a body even better than their pre-pregnancy one!
But because no two women are the same, no two mommy makeovers are identical. It is customized for your specific needs. That said, several procedures are commonly combined into mommy makeovers, including:
- Tummy tuck
- Breast lift
- Breast augmentation
- Fat Transfer (Brazilian Butt Lift)
While a combination of the above procedures is most common, basically any procedure may be part of your Mommy Makeover, such as face lift, neck lift, arm lift, or thigh lift.
During your consultation with Dr. Schulman, you’ll discuss the areas of your body that you feel need the most attention. Dr. Schulman will examine your body and discuss your medical history, including specific aspects of your pregnancy (or pregnancies). For instance, women whose children were born through Cesarean section may have different issues with their abdominal muscles than women who gave birth vaginally. The amount of weight gain during pregnancy, size of the baby and whether or not you breastfed (and for how long) all play a role. Dr. Schulman will then be able to come up with a plan to address your specific areas of concerns. Remember though, that safety is key, and it may not always be possible to correct every issue in one operation.
One of the most commonly included mommy makeover procedures is the tummy tuck, which can benefit women whose abdominal area has not bounced back from either pregnancy or childbirth. The medical term for this procedure is abdominoplasty, and as a standalone procedure, it’s one of the five most common cosmetic surgical procedures, with more than 130,000 performed each year.
When a woman is pregnant, a woman’s uterus will grow many times beyond its normal size to accommodate the baby. This causes the mother’s abdomen to grow, creating the pregnancy shape many women know well. It’s not uncommon for a woman in her third trimester to have a belly the size of a watermelon, and mothers of multiples (twins, triplets, or more) will reach this stage even earlier in their pregnancy.
In addition to the skin of the belly stretching to accommodate the growing baby, women experience a separation of the abdominal muscles, called diastasis recti. This happens with every single pregnancy in every single woman. Small separations can correct themselves naturally or with the help of special exercises. However, wide separations often remain and can get worse with each additional pregnancy. Only surgical correction can eliminate persistent muscle separation. During a tummy tuck. The left and right abdominal rectus muscles are sutured together in the middle.
Tummy tuck alleviates these abdominal issues by removing the overstretched skin, eliminating stretch marks, and tightening the underlying abdominal muscles.
Certain areas of a woman’s body are essentially pre-programmed to store fat during pregnancy — the hips, thighs, and love handles. While all women will gain weight during their pregnancies, the lingering fat that remains after childbirth can affect a woman’s self esteem and ability to return to normal activities.
Liposuction, will permanently remove fat from these problems areas and reshape the body. During liposuction, a small surgical tube, or cannula, is inserted through a tiny incision in the skin. A vacuum is then used to gently suck fat cells through the cannula and out of the body. Liposuction is a procedure designed for shaping and contouring, not primarily weight loss.
About one-third of American women gain the recommended amount of weight during their pregnancies. According to the most recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, 32% of women gained the recommended amount, while 48% gained too much and 21% gained too little weight. Considering that nearly 1 in 2 women gained more than the recommended amount of weight during their pregnancies, if you think you could benefit from liposuction as part of a mommy makeover, you are far from alone.
Breast Lift & Breast Augmentation
As your pregnancy progresses, your breasts will become larger and fuller, your nipples and areolas may darken, and your nipples may stick out more and grow in size. Your body is preparing for the arrival of your baby by beginning the process of milk production. This causes your breasts to become larger and more sensitive the further along you get in your pregnancy.
After the baby comes, many women find their breasts become even larger as their breasts begin producing milk for the new baby and then shrink as they breastfeed. It’s not uncommon for a nursing mother’s breasts to swell and shrink several times over the course of a day. All that expansion and contraction strains the skin and weakens the deeper supporting structures. After nursing, most of the previous volume of the breast is gone and loose skin remains. This often creates smaller, sagging breasts with visible stretch marks.
That’s one reason why so many moms are opting for breast lift, that moves the breast to a higher position on the chest and reduces the loose skin of the breast. The popularity of breast lift as part of mommy makeover procedures is reflected in how popular breast lifts are generally. The procedure has seen a 108% increase over the past couple of decades, according to data from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
Breast lift can be limiting, though, for some women, as a breast lift will not increase the size of the breast. Remember, a breast lift only lifts. If does not increase volume. So, women who desire to have their breast lifted AND larger, may choose to combine a breast lift with breast implants.
Women who choose to add breast augmentation to their mommy makeover will discuss the size of the implant and the type of implant, silicone or saline, with Dr. Schulman prior to the procedure. Each type of implant comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages, and your consultation with Dr. Schulman will help you determine which type of implant is right for you.
Before Your Surgery
Once you and Dr. Schulman have decided on a combination of surgeries for your mommy makeover, it will be time to prepare your body for your procedures. Combining multiple surgical procedures into a single operation will increase your recovery process. Remember that any one of these procedures requires weeks to months of recovery, so preparing yourself and your family well ahead of time will help make sure that you can focus on recovery and maximize the cosmetic results of your Mommy Makeover.
You will need to take time off work, and you will need to have someone with you for at least one or two weeks. You will also need to make arrangements for childcare during your recovery period. Dr. Schulman will be able to tell you about your anticipated recovery period, based on the the procedures you will be having.
Dr. Schulman and our staff will provide you with specific guidance on supplements and medications that you should stop before your procedure. Several common over-the-counter supplements have been linked to bleeding, so be sure to clear anything you are taking with Dr. Schulman.
You should continue eating healthy and exercising regularly. A strong, healthy body is one with the best chance of reducing the risks of surgery and ensuring a good long-term outcome. Consider increasing your intake of protein before your surgery, as protein provides the building blocks of blood, muscle, skin, and other crucial components of your body. Increasing your protein intake before surgery can help boost your immune system. A multi-vitamin and iron supplement is also helpful in preparation for your surgery.
It’s also important to keep in mind that not everyone is a good candidate for a Mommy Makeover. The ideal mommy makeover candidate is a woman who is at least 9 months postpartum, and 3 months after stopping breastfeeding. This will help ensure that her body has had time to recovery from the normal changes associated with pregnancy and breastfeeding. Dr. Schulman also recommends that Mommy Makeover candidates do not plan on having additional children. This is because future pregnancies can affect the surgical results and make a revision surgery more likely. Also, you must be in top physical shape to undergo a Mommy Makeover, since these surgeries involve multiple procedures and longer surgical times.
Surgery & Recovery
The specific procedures involved in your Mommy Makeover will depend on exactly what you want and need. Most mommy makeovers can be done on an outpatient basis, but you will be under general anesthesia, so someone will need to drive you home after your surgery and take care of you during the recovery period.
Dr. Schulman and our staff will provide you with very detailed post-operative instructions and you should be sure to follow them closely, but here are a few surgical recovery tips that we’ve found helpful for many of our Mommy Makeover patients:
- If you have a tummy tuck, you will not be able to lift anything heavy so that you do not strain your abdominal muscles. For many moms, this means they will not be able to care for their young children so you will need to make appropriate arrangements.
- Give your body time. Some of the results of a mommy makeover are immediately evident, as in the case of breast augmentation. But full recovery and total effectiveness may not be apparent for months, and even up to a full year..
- Drink plenty of water and avoid coffee, tea, and soda.
- Do not smoke or vape, as consuming nicotine can constrict your blood vessels, which will interfere with wound healing, increasing your risk for infection and delayed healing.
- Ice packs can help reduce swelling, but do not apply firm pressure to areas of your body, as this could impact stitches and may detract from the results of the procedures. You should also be aware of that you can cause frostbite by over icing.
- Because you don’t feel great, you may be tempted to turn to comfort foods, but you should avoid this. Your body needs healthy, nutritious foods full of protein (to aid healing) and fiber (to keep everything moving smoothly). Weight gain after any cosmetic procedure will affect your results.
Schedule a Consultation
If you are interested in reversing the common effects of pregnancy and childbirth with a mommy makeover at our New York City practice, schedule your consultation with Dr. Matthew Schulman today.