Women dedicated to reclaiming their pre-pregnancy bodies after having a baby often find themselves frustrated even though they work out regularly and follow a healthy diet. That’s because the physical toll taken on their bodies, such as stretched skin and separated abdominal muscles, can’t be corrected without surgery. Many new moms considering a tummy tuck contact our Lexington and Louisville, KY, practices to learn how soon after giving birth they can schedule the procedure.
While we understand their frustration and the desire to regain confidence in their bodies, rushing into tummy tuck surgery too soon after childbirth is both too risky and won’t yield the results patients want. A number of factors need to be considered before determining when a specific person can get a tummy tuck. Understanding the procedure itself can help moms be patient.
What Happens During a Tummy Tuck?
Even though we’re focusing on women who have had children in this blog post, a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) is a solution for anyone with excess abdominal skin after losing weight. In addition to removing excess skin, a tummy tuck can also repair a condition called diastasis recti. This condition is caused by abdominal muscles becoming separated during pregnancy, and it can result in what’s often called a “belly pooch”—which can make a woman appear pregnant months or years after having a child.
Tummy tuck surgery is often combined with liposuction to remove pockets of fat and create smooth contours in the midsection. Some patients also choose to get cosmetic breast surgery during the same operation, as well, in a procedure called a Mommy Makeover.
Now, back to the question: How soon after childbirth can you get a tummy tuck?
The answer actually differs from patient to patient depending on a number of factors. Our board-certified plastic surgeons recommend that all women wait for at least 3 months after having a baby. It’s important that your body has had a chance to fully recover from the physical demands of pregnancy and childbirth before undergoing a tummy tuck, which is a major surgical procedure.
Other critical factors to consider include:
Are you still breastfeeding? The hormonal changes that occur for breastfeeding moms cause their bodies to continually change as they produce breast milk. It can take several months after you stop breastfeeding for hormones to return to normal levels. It’s best to wait until that occurs before scheduling a tummy tuck.
Are you trying to lose weight? We recommend that patients be at or near the weight they intend to maintain (a “target weight”) before getting a tummy tuck. Abdominoplasty isn’t weight loss surgery, and if you intend to lose more weight, that can compromise the results of the procedure. Our surgeons also recommend that patients have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or lower when they get a tummy tuck.
Are you planning to have more children? Women can become pregnant after tummy tuck surgery, but in most cases the results will not survive the pregnancy. Regaining a flatter midsection will require a revision procedure.
Even though tummy tuck procedures are among the most common cosmetic plastic surgery performed in the U.S., it’s important to choose a surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) to ensure he or she is qualified and experienced. One way to help choose a surgeon is to review before-and-after photos that show patients’ actual results.
If you are considering abdominoplasty and looking for a plastic surgery practice in the Lexington or Louisville areas, you can contact us using the online form to request a consultation or call us at (502) 890-9502 to schedule an appointment.