NEW YORK, NY, UNITED STATES, June 15, 2023/ — The early days with a new baby are very special. However, pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding can sometimes change a woman’s body in ways she doesn’t like or want. Pregnancy and breastfeeding can cause the skin of the breasts and abdomen to stretch and lose elasticity, leaving stretch marks and loose skin. After breastfeeding is completed, the breasts may sag or appear smaller and deflated. The abdominal muscles may separate after childbirth in a way that can cause pain and pressure on the back muscles as well as a permanent bulge that cannot be fixed by weight loss.

“For some women, managing what they eat and exercising regularly are sufficient to return their bodies to their pre-pregnancy state,” says board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Constance M. Chen1. “There are some pregnancy-related physical consequences that diet and exercise cannot reverse, however. For women who want to feel more comfortable in their bodies after pregnancy, a “Mommy Makeover” is a personalized combination of surgical procedures that can help restore a woman’s body after pregnancy with the goal of boosting her physical and emotional health.”What can be corrected with a “mommy makeover”?
Mommy makeovers focus on revitalizing the abdomen and breasts. Most often it will include an abdominoplasty or tummy tuck to remove excess skin, stretch marks and repair damaged muscles. Not only does a tummy tuck often improve back pain by strengthening the core, an additional benefit is a flatter stomach and improved waistline. Another common procedure in a mommy makeover is a mastopexy3 or breast lift. Here the goal is to remove excess skin and reposition the nipple and areola higher on the breast mound or move the breast tissue itself higher on the chest wall, creating a more youthful, perky breast. Lastly, mommy makeovers can also include breast augmentation or breast reduction to improve the size, look and feel of the breasts.

The “mommy makeover” consultation
“A ‘mommy makeover’ can help a woman recondition her body after pregnancy,” says Dr. Chen. “Decisions should not be rushed, however, and should always involve careful consideration with a board-certified plastic surgeon. A consultation with a plastic surgeon is the first step to determine whether or not you are a good candidate for surgery and what the right procedures might be for you. A board-certified plastic surgeon will listen to a new mother’s concerns, and tailor solutions to address her problem” During the consultation, women should be prepared to discuss the following issues with their surgeon:

• Goals for the surgery: What areas bother you? What are your expectations for a mommy makeover? Are your expectations manageable and feasible?

• General health: Do you smoke? Do you have any chronic condition, e.g. hypertension or diabetes? Allergies? Previous surgeries? What drugs or medications do you use? This information will help the surgeon evaluate whether a mommy makeover is appropriate.

• Readiness for the procedure(s): Have you already tried reaching your goals with diet and exercise? Surgery is not a “cheat” for weight loss or a replacement for exercise. You should be at a stable, ideal weight and driven to healthy eating and exercise habits.

• Are you done having babies: Another pregnancy after a mommy makeover can undo the positive results.

• The treatment plan: After exploring concerns with your surgeon, providing a medical history, and receiving a physical examination, you and your doctor will discuss which procedures are best suited for your situation and desires.

• Managing expectations: Discuss with your surgeon the risks and potential complications of the procedures you are considering, learn what can be done to prepare for surgery, understand the timetable for recovery, and make a plan for care and support during your recuperation.

A healthy diet and exercise is important in restoring your body after having a baby. If your goals cannot be accomplished through diet and exercise, however, a consultation for a mommy makeover with a plastic surgeon might be in order. Be certain to find a surgeon who listens well and responds to your concerns, and with whom you feel safe. The good news is that it is possible for women to rejuvenate their bodies after having a baby and feel comfortable in their bodies emotionally and physically.

Constance M. Chen, MD, is a board-certified plastic surgeon with a special expertise in the use of innovative natural techniques to optimize medical and cosmetic outcomes for women undergoing breast and body surgery. She is Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery (Plastic Surgery) at Weill Cornell Medical College and Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery (Plastic Surgery) at Tulane University School of Medicine.