5 Ways to Get Your Body Back with a Mommy Makeover
A woman’s body is a beautiful, powerful thing, able to endure the extreme stresses of childbearing and nursing. Unfortunately, due to factors like genetic makeup, hormone spikes, birth complications and age at pregnancy, your body may display long-term effects that make you uncomfortable mentally or physically.*
But what about all those celebrities who bounce right back after having kids? They could be endowed with extra tough genes… or maybe they’ve had a mommy makeover!*
What’s a mommy makeover?
A “mommy makeover” is a set of cosmetic procedures that addresses specific concerns you have about your body after having kids. You work with a plastic surgeon to personalize a combination of treatments. Procedures may be surgical or non-surgical, and they usually target areas such as the breasts, abdomen, thighs and vagina. Get a mommy makeover to restore your pre-motherhood physique or, like many women, you can take the opportunity to improve on it!*
#1 – Perk up your breasts
Most women gain extra cup sizes during pregnancy. The extra weight can pull on breast skin, changing your overall breast shape, nipple position and size of areola (circle of skin around the nipple). Several days after you give birth (or stop nursing), that swelling usually goes away. Breasts can even become smaller than before. The sudden disappearance of volume can leave your breasts looking deflated, stretched, and saggy. In some cases, breasts end up two different sizes.*
You can correct sagging, restore volume and improve symmetry with a breast lift (mastopexy). The type of lift will depend on your desired outcome. If you feel that your areola is now too big or your nipple too low, you may opt for a periareolar lift. It removes excess tissue from around the areola and can move your areola and nipple upwards as much as a few inches. If you want to correct more extreme sagging, there are the lollipop and anchor lifts. Both of these provide more dramatic results and work well with heavier breasts.*
Breast augmentation is often combined with a lift as part of a mommy makeover. Implants can restore or enhance former volume, giving breasts more pep and bounce. In some cases, you may be able to achieve all the lifting effect you desire with breast augmentation alone.* If you would to learn more about breast augmentation, read one of our latest articles: 7 Considerations to Make before Breast Augmentation Surgery.
Before you sign up for a breast lift or implants, make sure that your breasts have reached their final post-birth, post-nursing dimensions. Talk to a board-certified plastic surgeon about the best procedure and timing for you.*
#2 – Blast pockets of stubborn fat
Everyone gains weight during pregnancy. Not everyone loses the weight later. You may find that, no matter how diligent you are about fitness and healthy eating, some of that “baby weight” never goes away. There are currently a wide variety of solutions for safely and permanently removing it.*
Non-Invasive Fat Removal
- CoolSculpting – Chills fat cells to a temperature that destroys them, without harming surrounding skin and muscle.*
- Vanquish, Thermi and truSculpt 3D – All three use radiofrequency technologies to heat off your mom fat. Thermi offers the extra benefit of helping tighten and smooth the skin, which can reduce the appearance of cellulite.*
- Cellulaze – Mothers or not, about 80-98 percent of women have cellulite. Pregnancy increases it, along with fat. Cellulaze uses laser technology and a three-pronged approach to smooth out cellulite. It liquifies fat, cuts fibrous bands in the skin that cause dimpling, and thickens your skin by promoting new collagen.*
Surgical Fat Removal
Tried and true for more than 25 years, liposuction sucks out unwanted fat using tiny tubes (cannulae). It’s popular for targeting medium to large deposits of fat, and can be used to contour virtually any area of the body. If your skin is loose or you’ve already tried non-invasive methods of fat removal, your doctor may recommend enhancing efficacy by first liquifying the fat with a SmartLipo laser.*
If your target area is the belly and waist, and you have stretched-out skin or muscles there, the best option for you may be a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty, see #3). It removes saggy skin, along with the fat under it and the stretch marks on it. It also tightens the muscles underneath to provide a stronger internal girdle for a more svelte core.*
Right after giving birth, all women have a distended tummy. Your uterus still weighs 2-½ pounds, you’ve put on fat for nourishing baby, and your abdominal skin and muscles have been stretched to the limit. More than two thirds of pregnant women also experience abdominal separation (diastasis recti), detachment of their left abdominal muscles from their right ones. The gap down the middle can be wide enough to allow internal organs to bulge outwards, causing a pooch that can be as big as a mid-term pregnancy.*
Over the next weeks, your uterus should shrink back to about 2 ounces, fat stores will be used for breast milk, and abdominal skin and muscles mend and retract. For many women, however, their former abs may seem impossible to bring back.*
Tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) is a surgery to smooth and contour your waist and abdomen. It pares away excess fat, and removes extra skin along with any stretch marks on it. The surgery normally includes repair and tightening of the connective tissues (abdominal fascia) that form a natural girdle around the abdomen.*
If you have diastasis recti that never fully healed after pregnancy—a problem some women don’t even realize they have—a tummy tuck will reattach your abdominal muscles. Besides helping flatten your belly, this can solve health issues related to abdominal separation, including constipation, lower back pain, urine leakage and higher risk of hernia. But why not just fix the problem by swimming, certain yoga poses, crunches and other ab-toning exercises? These can actually make separation worse!*
Talk to a plastic surgeon about a tummy tuck to reclaim your midriff, leaving it tighter and leaner. If you need contouring only below the belly button and there’s minimal excess skin, ask about a mini-abdominoplasty, which can be carried out through a smaller incision.*
#4 – Tighten your vagina
You pushed a honeydew through a peephole–of course it stretched your vagina and perineum! An estimated 75-90 percent of mothers also experience tearing and, in some cases, must have an episiotomy (incision made in the vaginal opening to help delivery).*
The good news is that the vagina is a relatively resilient organ. It usually returns to nearly pre-birth status, but some women face unpleasant long-term changes. Vaginal muscles and tissue can be left stretched out, slack and torn, and some can even protrude from the opening. The canal can feel wide. These changes may contribute to decreased sexual satisfaction.*
Try physical therapy and exercises like Kegels to help tone weak, loose vaginal muscles. For more dramatic vaginal restoration, consult a board-certified plastic surgeon to identify the procedures that will work best for you.*
Vaginoplasty is a surgery that helps reverse damage caused during pregnancy and birth. Performed through a tiny incision in the perineum (area between the vagina and anus), it removes excess skin and tissue from the vagina, tightens the canal, and reduces the size of the vaginal opening. Vaginoplasty is often coupled with labiaplasty (see #5) for fuller vaginal restoration.*
Surgery-Free Vaginal Rejuvenation
New advanced technologies for vaginal restoration are now available on their own or as a complement to vaginoplasty. Two examples are ThermiVa, which leverages radio frequency energy, and FemTouch, which uses a carbon dioxide laser. Both stimulate collagen production in the vagina, not only tightening the tissue but also thickening vaginal mucosa and increasing lubrication.*
#5 – Reduce labia length
Blood flow to your lady parts increases drastically during pregnancy to support the fetus. This may engorge and distend your vagina lips, both outer labia (majora) and inner (minora). During labor and delivery, your labia — particularly the inner ones — may further stretch or tear. As with the vagina, labia skin is relatively elastic so heals quickly. For many women, lips revert to their pre-childbirth status in a matter of weeks.*
If yours remain longer, rest assured that labia come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Even if they’ve grown in size, it’s likely that they fall within the range of “normal.” However, long labia can potentially cause discomfort from friction during activities like sex, biking or wearing snug clothes. They can also contribute to frequent yeast infections and urinary tract infections (UTIs) by blocking in moisture or urine. Labia can sometimes protrude enough to be conspicuous in a swimsuit or sleek attire. Even if they’re not causing you trouble, you might simply prefer smaller labia and that’s OK.*
Labiaplasty is a simple surgery to remove excess tissue from the vaginal lips, most commonly the inner ones. It can be used to reduce lip length or to even out asymmetrical labia. Labiaplasty requires only local anesthesia, and is often performed at the same time as vaginoplasty (see #4).*
Time for a mommy makeover?
You may be jazzed to get your makeover started right after childbirth. However, many of the procedures yield the best results if performed after your body has had a chance to fully recover. And recovery from certain surgeries requires that you not lift anything above 5 pounds (like a baby!). In the case of most surgeries involved in a mommy makeover, it also makes sense to wait until after your final child.
Set up a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon. They can advise you on the right treatment plan and timing for your aesthetic goals, preferences, challenges and lifestyle. Then take advantage of the best technologies and techniques to help you get your pre-mom body back!
*Individual results may vary and are not guaranteed.