For most women, the rewards of motherhood far out paid the toll that pregnancy, child birth and breast feeding takes on their bodies. Despite the joy our little ones bring having a baby can also change a woman’s body in ways that even diet and exercise can’t completely reverse. Does having a baby mean saying good bye to your pre-pregnancy figures forever?
A growing trend among mothers is the “mommy makeover”. This consists of a variety of procedures to rejuvenate the post-partum body; from eliminating stretch marks, to flattening the tummy, thinning the thighs, and lifting the breasts. These procedures can change not only how a woman looks but also how she feels about her body after having a baby. Here are some of the common concerns mothers have regarding their post-partum bodies:
Stretch marks that result from pregnancy technically known as striae gravidarium, occur in up to 90% of pregnant women, while they post no physical harm, they can be quite distressing aesthetically. Most stretch marks appear on the lower abdomen but also frequently occur on the breasts, hips and thighs. Stretch marks appear when the deeper layer of skin known as the dermis stretches beyond its capacity creating small scars. What can women do to treat stretch marks? While many products claim to prevent or diminish stretch marks, unless the product penetrates the deeper layer of skin it’s physically unable to produce a dramatic effect. While there is some evidence that topical retinoic retin-A may reduce the appearance of stretch marks, they’re contraindicated during pregnancy and not advised to use while breast feeding. The only effective treatments for stretch marks removal are either direct excision or laser removal.
Traditionally treatment for stretch marks on the lower abdomen has been abdominoplasty (tummy tuck surgery) This will remove both extra belly skin and the stretch marks. Recent advancements in laser technology has produce a boost in popularity for its ability to reduce the appearance of stretch marks. They require several treatments but has little down time and few side effects.
Loose Belly Skin
The primary area of a woman’s body affected by child bearing is the abdomen; including both the skin and the muscles. Pregnancy not only necessitates the expansion of the abdominal skin, but also causes the abdominal muscles specifically rectus abdominus muscles. To stretch, these changes are cause not only by the expanding uterus pressing against the abdominal wall but also by the pregnancy hormones that relax the connective tissue. The result for many women after child birth is extra belly skin and stretch muscles that no amount of abdominal crunches can tighten. So what can be done? First, We always remind mothers to give their bodies time to heal. If however, a focus exercise routine and sensible eating are insufficient to restore the skin and muscle tone of a woman’s abdomen than abdominoplasty or a tummy tuck surgery may be a good option. Depending on the amount of abdominal laxity, tummy tuck surgery ranges from a simple procedure where a small amount of excess skin below the bellybutton is removed to an extensive operation where skin and fat are removed from the belly and the abdominal muscles are surgically tighten. Liposuction is often combine with tummy tuck surgery to address fat deposit of the hips and flanks commonly present after pregnancy. Abdominoplasty is a dramatic operation with nearly immediate results. However, it is important for mothers to realize that abdominoplasty is performed after child bearing is completed. As subsequent pregnancy, is likely to reverse the effects of surgery.
Sagging Breasts with Loss of Volume
While many women enjoy an increase in the breast fullness during pregnancy and with breast feeding, the breasts often appear deflated afterward. The combination of breast atrophy and stretch skin is primarily responsible to the droopy appearance of breasts after child bearing. While a good bra does wonders for a woman’s shape in clothing, improving the shape of the breasts often requires a lift if not a lift and implant. With the breast lift, the extra breast skin is removed and the breasts are reshape to a more youthful position. Sometimes an implant is use with a lift or alone to restore the loss volume particularly in the upper aspect of the breasts. Woman with mild droop will get sufficient elevation of the breasts with implants alone without the lift procedure. Like tummy tuck surgery, breast lift and augmentation produces an immediate effect, ideally to bring back appearance of the breasts before their volume was lost.
While stretch marks and extra skin may be a small price to pay for the privileges of motherhood. With a little help many women today are enjoying their bodies again after babies.