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True You: Re-Discovering Your Before-Baby Body

Aug 03, 2016 02:00PM ● By Cate Reynolds
By Lisa J. Gotto

While most women report that being pregnant was some of the best and most fondly remembered time in their lives, many struggle with body image issues after the baby is born. This is entirely normal, especially with all those success stories and images of celebrities in our zeitgeist who have “… lost the baby weight!” in a remarkably short period of time. Keeping your perspective during your active childbearing years is truly what is important and remembering the bigger picture is raising a happy and healthy family.

If you have been blessed with your children, however, and still find yourself struggling to get off those last 15 pounds or so, and have tried every trick in the book to tighten up the less-than-elastic skin of post pregnancy, a series of cosmetic procedures, now widely known as a “Mommy Makeover” may be something you wish to consider.

What it addresses

Women also report being caught off guard when it comes to post-pregnancy body changes. Especially concerning aspects include:
  • A shift in shape resulting in clothes fitting differently even though your size is the same as it was prior to pregnancy
  • Hip broadening
  • Decreased breast tissue elasticity
  • Change in breast shape
  • Depth and pervasiveness of stretch marks
  • Less abdominal tissue elasticity/tone
“The ‘Mommy Makeover’ is the specific set of procedures that are used to reconstruct the parts of a particular woman’s breasts and body that have been irreversibly altered by pregnancy,” says Dr. Kelly Sullivan of Sullivan Integrated Aesthetic Center of Annapolis.

The series of procedures preformed include breast augmentation or a breast lift, Abdominoplasty, and sometimes liposuction. Ideally, these procedures are accomplished in one surgical session so the patient is exposed to the risks of anesthesia just once, and has one period of downtime.

For some patients with more extensive reconstructive needs, the one-session approach is not advisable, and the procedures are broken into two.

“The specific procedures that are done are specific for each woman, but the goal is to address those areas that are causing the problems and correct them in the safest and most natural way possible,” Dr. Sullivan adds.

While this series of procedures does an excellent job at addressing sagging breasts with its lift procedure, excess fat around the hip and thigh area with liposuction, and produces a flatter tummy through Abdominoplasty, the stretch marks associated with the post-baby body are another story.

“Stretch marks on the abdomen area can be addressed when performing an Abdominoplasty or Tummy Tuck, if they are in the range of skin that needs to be removed,” says Dr. Haven Barlow of Chesapeake Plastic Surgery of Annapolis.

“Unfortunately, there isn’t much available yet to address stretch marks that are found in other areas.”

Would you make a good candidate?

Good candidates for this set of procedures, according to Dr. Barlow, are women who are not looking to have any more children and have completed breastfeeding. This is the best point to re-assess if you wish to replace any volume lost in the breasts and how much baby weight you still need to lose.

As with any elected surgery, potential patients need to be in a good state of overall health to be considered optimal candidates for these procedures.

While achieving the look you had prior to pregnancy definitely has it pros or upsides; Dr. Christopher J. Spittler of Plastic Surgery Specialists in Annapolis says to take note of its cons.

“The cons of having this surgery done would include downtime and the need to arrange for help with the children while the patient is recovering. This usually spans approximately two to three weeks, so the patient would need to plan ahead,” Dr. Spittler says. Another con is cost. “These procedures are purely cosmetic procedures and are not covered by insurance,” Dr. Spittler adds.

The post-surgical must-haves

Among post-surgical testimonies from women who have had this done, one fact remains clear: this is a major surgical experience and process, even though many women do go home the same night and have their procedures performed in an out-patient setting.

The most valuable post-surgical resource is a good support system (a.k.a, friends and family) that can address your daily needs for the next one to six weeks. Depending on the number of procedures you have done, you should be prepared for:

  • Bouts of nausea from the anesthesia upon wakening and shortly after surgery
  • Wound after-care involving changing of dressings and monitoring of drains. (Drains typically remain for 1 to 3 weeks after surgery.)
  • Assistance being required for normal household and daily activities such as personal care, household chores like laundry, and meal making; especially in the first week.
  • While the direct pain at incision sites is typically well-managed with medication, the muscle groups addressed in the surgery will be tender and extremely sensitive to abrupt movement such as sneezing and coughing.
  • Post surgical appointments at your doctor’s office to confirm you are healing appropriately and to remove stitches.

Meanwhile, a large percentage (90-plus) of mommy makeover patients who have totally recovered from their procedures, report nothing but satisfaction with their results leaving the post-surgical downtime and inconvenience a worthy stepping stone on the path to re-discovering their pre-baby bodies.

Baby Fat Fact 1:

One to two years after having their baby, 86% of women say their belly still hasn't returned to normal.

— survey of 7,000 moms

Baby Fat Fact 2:

43% of the moms surveyed gained more than the recommended limit of 35lbs during their pregnancy.

Baby Fat Fact 3: reports 2,500+ survey takers gave the Mommy Makeover a 97% “Worth It” rating over a two-year survey period.

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