Having a ‘mommy makeover’ can seem miles away to someone who has just been part of a tremendous miracle: that of giving life. Women who give birth in this day and age are thankfully part of a powerful celebration of diversity and acceptance. Social media is largely responsible for the paradigm shift in terms on our ideals of beauty, yet statistics also show that post-birth plastic surgery is more popular than ever. Over the past decade, the number of breast augmentations has increased by 39%, breast lifts by 70%, and tummy tucks by 85%. For many women, it isn’t a question of vanity but rather, a wish to feel as fit as they were prior to pregnancy. Some struggle with issues such as excess skin in the belly area, which cannot be eliminated through exercise and diet. In this post we review these surgeries, as well as non-surgical options to deal with common issues.
Changes to the Abdominal Muscles
During pregnancy, the muscles in the abdomen separate to accommodate a growing baby. Sometimes, a space can form in between the abdominal muscle bands, causing a loss of firmness. This condition, known as diastasis recti, can be addressed with a ‘tummy tuck’, which binds the abdominal muscles together again. The procedure can also rid the abdominal area of excess skin, created by the rapid expansion of the belly during pregnancy. The result of this procedure is a taut tummy.
Breast Augmentations and Lifts
Like the tummy, breasts can grow considerably during pregnancy; their glandular elements can swell to such an extent that women can find they have gone up a cup size or two during or post pregnancy. The period during which milk comes in being called ‘engorgement’ for a good reason. Breasts can undergo a series of ‘swelling and shrinking’ transformations during this time, though eventually, breast glands return to their normal size and many women discover a noticeable loss in firmness.
Breast augmentations rely on an implant and, occasionally, the patient’s own fat (obtained from another area in the body such as the abdomen or hips) to create more natural contours surgically. Sometimes, more volume is not required and a ‘lift’ is performed to battle sagging skin. Some women also opt to have their areola treated during the procedure (since the areola – the ring of pigment surrounding the nipple – can become enlarged over time).
Non-Surgical Mommy Makeovers
While diastasis or excess skin cannot be corrected non-invasively, other issues can. For instance, many moms who find that they have stubborn fat in the abdominal area that is ultra resistant to exercise, turn to treatments such as cryolipolysis, commonly known as ‘fat freezing’. This treatment isn’t suitable to zap away large volumes of fat, but it is efficient at reducing volume in the tummy, back, upper arms, double chin, etc. Laser is another popular treatment for new moms, with treatments such as Fraxel often used to treat stretch marks and Cesarean scars. Requiring neither downtime nor recovery, Fraxel usually requires four or five sessions for an optimal result.
Self-acceptance and self-compassion are vital for any woman who has performed the amazing feat of childbirth. However, the choice of whether or not to address issues that are wresting from one’s sense of happiness is highly individual. What we do know is that plastic surgery is increasingly being seen as a useful solution to issues that cannot be fixed through lifestyle choices, nutrition, or exercise. The ultimate debate regarding self-acceptance vs the positive aspects of making a change, is for each person to resolve but having a variety of options is definitely better than having none at all.