Why Timing Matters for a Post-Pregnancy Tummy Tuck

Pregnancy takes a physical toll on women’s bodies, which can leave some moms self-conscious about things they used to be more comfortable with, like wearing revealing clothes or even getting undressed in front of their spouses. Excess abdominal skin or “belly pooches” caused by pregnancy can be removed with a tummy tuck at St. Louis Cosmetic Surgery, but the timing is important if you’ve recently had a child.

A tummy tuck can do what exercise and dieting can’t: create a flatter, aesthetically pleasing midsection. Here’s the simple fact at play here: Abdominal skin and muscles stretched during pregnancy rarely return to their previous appearance, no matter how many hours you spend at the gym or how many desserts you skip.

Different Types of Tummy Tucks

Our surgeons specialize in 3 tummy tuck techniques:

  • Full tummy tuck: This is the most common type of tummy tuck for women after pregnancies. It involves making a horizontal incision from one hip to the other, as low as possible, so that it can be concealed by bikini bottoms. Surgeons can repair abdominal muscles separated during pregnancy as part of a full tummy tuck, in addition to removing excess skin. The belly button also needs to be repositioned, and liposuction is often included to ensure smooth, contoured results.
  • Mini tummy tuck: If sagging skin is confined to the area below the belly button, your surgeon may recommend a mini tummy tuck. The goal of creating a flatter abdomen doesn’t change, but the surgery requires a much shorter incision. This can be a good approach for patients concerned about bulging and limited excess skin.
  • Extended tummy tuck: This technique is often used for patients after significant weight loss and removes skin from both the abdominal area and the flanks (or “love handles”). The recovery period is typically longer than a full tummy tuck.

Our surgeons discuss the options during your consultation and create a surgical plan based on the physical exam and your cosmetic goals.

Tummy Tuck Timing

Are you still breastfeeding?

Hormone levels can get a little wacky when a woman is breastfeeding, and it takes some time after your child stops breastfeeding for hormone levels to settle back to normal. Those hormonal changes often come with fluctuations in a new mother’s weight. It’s best to be at a stable weight before considering a tummy tuck, so we do recommend waiting at least 3 months after you stop breastfeeding before scheduling surgery.

Have you reached your target weight?

Being at a stable weight you can maintain before body contouring surgery greatly increases the likelihood that you’ll be happy with the results. Another important factor: Having a body mass index (BMI) of less than 30 before undergoing surgery reduces the risk of complications.

Do you plan to have more children?

Women often ask if they can have more children after a tummy tuck. It’s possible, but we recommend postponing the tummy tuck if you’re planning to get pregnant again. It’s likely that a subsequent pregnancy will again stretch the skin and abdominal muscles, undoing the results of the cosmetic surgery.

Some women with young children at home choose to wait until their kids are a bit older to get a tummy tuck. It’s important to remember that you won’t be able to lift a baby or toddler for at least a week after the surgery, and you’ll need someone to provide childcare during the initial stages of your recovery.

If you’re considering getting a tummy tuck, our before-and-after photos of past patients reveal how dramatic the results can be. If you’re interested in learning more about the procedure or other cosmetic surgery options, you can request a consultation using the online form, or call us at (480) 423-1973 to schedule an appointment.

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