It’s no secret that pregnancy can take a toll on your body. Bringing a child into the world is miraculous, but the physical changes that happen to you after pregnancy? Not so much.
Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy
If you have tried diet and exercise and you still aren’t satisfied with how things appear, you might look into the growing trend of “mommy makeovers.”
While mommy makeovers are popular, they aren’t right for everyone and the procedures aren’t without risks. Plastic surgeon J. Vincente Poblete, MD, offers insight about the procedures and discusses what you need to think about if you’re considering surgery.
What is a mommy makeover?
A mommy makeover is a series of cosmetic surgery procedures that some people have after childbirth. It can include a tummy tuck, breast surgery (augmentation, lift or reduction), labiaplasty and/or liposuction.
Data from the Aesthetic Society shows a significant jump in body contouring procedures, with a 66% increase compared to 2020 — mainly with liposuction and tummy tucks.
What procedures does a mommy makeover include?
From a tummy tuck to liposuction, a mommy makeover can include the following procedures.
During pregnancy, your abdominal muscles (and skin) stretch to accommodate your growing baby. Following pregnancy, you might find your tummy area is looser than it was before.
If you’re uncomfortable with how your abdominal area looks or feels, a tummy tuck helps remove excess skin around your abdomen and tighten your abdominal muscles. It may even improve or remove stretch marks and C-section scars.
“Usually, the excess is a combination of fat and skin,” says Dr. Poblete. “The optimal procedure may be a lipo-abdominoplasty, with the benefits of both liposuction and tummy tuck for enhanced contouring.”
Whether you breastfeed or not, you may want to consider some kind of breast enhancement.
If your breasts have lost mass, a breast augmentation, the surgical insertion of breast implants, can help your breasts appear fuller.
Breast augmentation is the most popular type of cosmetic surgery, with around 350,000 people in the United States undergoing the procedure in 2021.
The most common type of breast implants used for primary augmentation are silicone implants. It’s important to discuss options with your doctor, who can help you find the best choice based on how you want your breasts to look and feel.
If your breasts are sagging, a surgical breast lift can help raise your breasts by removing extra skin and tightening breast tissue.
It’s important to know that a breast lift doesn’t significantly change the size of your breasts. By removing excessive skin and tightening breast tissue, your breasts will appear more youthful and uplifted.
“What has increased in popularity the past few years is the combined breast lift with augmentation,” says Dr. Poblete. “This procedure is a more effective way of achieving a lifted appearance and more volume on the upper half of the breast.”
If your breasts are larger than before pregnancy — and making you uncomfortable or causing back pain — a breast reduction procedure can remove tissue and reshape your breasts.
If you aren’t getting the results you want from healthy eating and exercise alone, liposuction, the surgical removal of fat from your abdomen, arms or thighs, is sometimes an option.
This procedure can target the hips, abdomen, thighs and buttocks. Many people don’t realize that liposuction doesn’t remove cellulite, only fat.
“Liposuction works best for localized fat deposits,” explains Dr. Poblete.
Labiaplasty is a surgical procedure that reduces the size of your labia minora, the skin folds that surround your urethra and vagina.
After childbirth, excessive labial tissue can get pinched or tugged during exercise and sex — making those activities uncomfortable or painful. By removing extra tissue, your labia minora will appear more youthful and your pain should subside.
Things to consider before having mommy makeover surgery
If you’re thinking about a mommy makeover, it’s important to set realistic expectations for yourself. Dr. Poblete urges you to consider these aspects first before you opt for surgery.
How will you pay for it? Cosmetic surgery isn’t generally covered by insurance. Covering these procedures out-of-pocket is often costly.
Multiple procedures will cost more than just one surgery. But if you have multiple surgeries at the same time you can save on the costs of anesthesia and other hospital fees.
How long it will take you to recover depends on several factors like the number of procedures you have done, your age and health.
Most procedures are done on an outpatient basis.
Once you arrive back home, it’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions on care, especially for stiches and surgical incisions.
Most individuals wait about a week before returning to work. And it’s typically recommended that you wait at least six weeks before resuming your regular exercise routine.
You’ll need help in those first few weeks with daily activities, and should avoid lifting anything heavy, including children. So, make sure you plan accordingly.
Are you OK with having scars?
While scars from surgery do fade slightly over time, seeing scars where you never had them before is sometimes difficult, psychologically.
Are you done having children?
You should postpone a mommy makeover if you plan to have more children.
Are you in good health?
If you have existing health conditions like diabetes or heart disease, talk with your doctor about the risks of cosmetic surgery.
If you’re considering surgery, you’ll need to quit smoking for at least six weeks prior to surgery. Smoking has been linked to increased risk during surgery, and it can lengthen your healing time.
And for best results, maintaining a healthy body weight for the 12 months leading up to surgery is ideal.
“Studies have shown that the higher the BMI, the higher the incidence of local and systemic complications,” notes Dr. Poblete.
How to choose a plastic surgeon
When it comes to finding the right plastic surgeon, knowing what to look for is important.
- Make sure the American Board of Plastic Surgeons has certified your surgeon.
- Ask how many procedures the surgeon does. Choose a surgeon who does the procedure you want hundreds of times each year.
- Ask to see results. Seeing pictures of people before and after surgery can give you a good idea of what to expect.
- Make sure your surgeon is up to date on the latest surgical techniques and innovations.
- Be wary of surgeons who suggest having too many procedures at once. Having multiple procedures at one time will be harder on your body and tends to lengthen healing time.
The decision to have plastic surgery isn’t one to take lightly, says Dr. Poblete. Talking with your doctor about the risks, benefits and expected outcomes is an important first step.
“Many patients are very satisfied with the results of their procedures,” says Dr. Poblete. “Being able to fit back into their clothes makes them so happy.”
But first, take the time to learn as much as you can about the procedures and make sure a mommy makeover is right for you.