Being a mom isn’t easy, neither is reclaiming your pre-baby body. The Mommy Makeover is the secret to restoring your pre-pregnancy shape when conventional weight loss methods fall short. When no amount of crunches can mend your separated abdominal muscles, the Mommy Makeover surgically tightens your core while addressing breast volume loss or laxity. And all of this won’t take you away from caring for your little ones for too long.
But there’s much to learn before you dive in.
We spoke with New York plastic surgeon, Dr. B. Aviva Preminger, MD to discover when the time is right to embark on a Mommy Makeover journey and what to anticipate when considering one.
What is a Mommy Makeover?
Pregnancy brings numerous physical changes, many of which can be challenging to bounce back from post-birth. The Mommy Makeover is tailored to address skin stretching, the separation of abdominal muscles, and undesired alterations in breast shape or size.
“In some instances, a Mommy Makeover can also include blepharoplasty to enhance the eyes or liposuction of other areas,” Dr. Preminger explains. “But also they typically involve some form of breast procedure, whether it’s a reduction, a lift, or implants to restore lost volume.”
The abdomen is also a primary focus for the Mommy Makeover.
“Usually, it includes a tummy tuck or liposuction of the belly,” Dr. Preminger says. “People often opt to add liposuction for the hips and outer and inner thighs.”
The goal is to address any areas significantly affected by pregnancy and childbirth that you can’t seem to conquer independently. “If someone is still five to fifteen pounds over their goal weight, that’s okay. But it’s not advisable when they have more than that,” explains Dr. Preminger.
Those who are actively losing weight or have a substantial amount of weight left to lose are not ideal candidates for this procedure.
“We want to make sure their weight is stable,” Dr. Preminger says. “They should feel like they’ve attempted to lose as much as possible on their own.”
Timing the Mommy Makeover
So, you want to complete your weight loss journey, but when is the right time to schedule your Mommy Makeover? Motherhood is already the busiest job in the world, and finding enough recovery time for yourself can be challenging to plan.
Moreover, depending on your chosen nursing method for your new baby, you may need to wait a bit longer. “In terms of breastfeeding, we typically recommend waiting at least three to six months after you’ve stopped breastfeeding,” Dr. Preminger explains. “The timing varies for everyone, as it depends on how quickly the milk supply diminishes.”
The need for this wait arises for several reasons, which can include breastfeeding and physical considerations when you have younger children at home.
“We want to accurately assess their breast volume,” Dr. Preminger says. “If they still have breast milk, we can’t make that assessment. Additionally, we don’t want any breast milk present in the breasts during the procedure.”
“I also always ask my patients to think about their kids’ ages in this context,” Dr. Preminger adds. “If you have a two-year-old who expects to be picked up every day, you won’t be able to lift anything heavy during the four to six weeks of the post-op period.”
What to Expect Post-Procedure
Following your Mommy Makeover, your doctor may recommend having a nurse assist you during the initial uncomfortable nights after surgery.
“I never prescribe complete bed rest for my patients,” Dr. Preminger says. “Even for a significant procedure like a Mommy Makeover, complete bed rest can expose patients to risks like pneumonia, blood clots, and increased swelling. Often, after a Mommy Makeover, I encourage my patients to have a nurse with them on the first night to help them get up and move.”
Of course, this doesn’t mean you can immediately return to your regular exercise routine.
“That doesn’t imply you can head to the gym or engage in heavy lifting,” Dr. Preminger explains. “But I want my patients to get up and move.”
You won’t be able to lift anything heavier than a few pounds for about six weeks to prevent any strain on the surgical site. “I want to ensure they heal perfectly,” she says. “I don’t want any pressure on the area that could cause it to stretch again. But many of my patients are quite active and don’t like being told they can’t do anything. So, there are activities they can gradually resume.” For instance, brisk walking is an option you can return to two weeks after the procedure.
There are also various ways to ensure your child gets their regular comfort without you having to lift them for a few weeks. “As a mother of three and a working mom, I’m very attuned to the needs and concerns of these patients,” Dr. Preminger says. “They may not be able to lift their child out of the crib, but they can have the child placed on their lap to hold, for example. We consider all these factors to help set them up for success.”
What If I Have More Children?
While certain aspects of this procedure are best saved for after you’ve finished having children, there are no risks associated with becoming pregnant again after a Mommy Makeover. “There are certainly things that can be done without waiting until you’ve finished having children,” Dr. Preminger says. “I often see women who have always wanted a breast reduction or a lift, and they’re ready to address it. They may or may not be done having kids.”
There’s only one aspect of the Mommy Makeover that you might be asked to consider waiting for until you’re finished having children. “The one thing I encourage my patients to hold off on until they’re done having kids is a tummy tuck,” Dr. Preminger explains. “That’s because the abdominal wall will stretch again. It will always stretch again.”
However, there’s no inherent risk to getting pregnant after a tummy tuck. “Having a tummy tuck and getting pregnant again isn’t dangerous,” Dr. Preminger says. “The body will find a way to accommodate a pregnancy, but you will have spent a lot of money for it and your belly won’t return to its previous post-surgical state.”
The Emotional Impact of a Mommy Makeover
As you embark on your journey towards a Mommy Makeover, remember that the road ahead is not just about reclaiming your pre-baby body; it’s also a journey towards rediscovering confidence and well-being. And while there are considerations and waiting periods, it’s essential to keep your end goal in mind.
“Think of the Mommy Makeover as a chapter in your life, one where you prioritize self-care and embrace the changes it brings,” says Dr. Preminger. “It’s a step towards feeling like the best version of yourself, not just for you but for your family as well. So, when the time is right, take that step, and don’t forget that the journey is as important as the destination.”