It's no secret that pregnancy and childbirth does a real number on our bodies. Even if you bounce right back after your first baby, subsequent pregnancies and deliveries can really take their toll! And that's why so many moms think about or turn to a mommy makover. With those changes of pregnancy and motherhood, add to that normal changes to our bodies from aging, weight gain or loss, and putting ourselves in the back burner to focus on our kids, and many moms find themselves yearning for the days of perky breasts and flat tummies. A healthy lifestyle and balanced diet are always important, but there are some aftereffects of pregnancy and childbirth that you can't exercise away.
Many women are turning to plastic surgery to address issues from pregnancy and breastfeeding - it's not for everyone, but it is definitely an option! A combination surgery called a mommy makeover has gained in popularity over the last ten years or so, as a way for women to get their "pre-baby" body back. Here's everything you need to know about the intense (and yes, expensive) procedure.
What is a mommy makeover?
For a lot of women, getting back in shape after the birth of a child isn't as easy as working out and losing some weight. Pregnancy and breastfeeding can change your body in ways that exercise can't address. A mommy makeover is a collection of surgical procedures designed to improve the lingering aftereffects of pregnancy and breastfeeding, like sagging breasts, sagging skin on your abdomen, separated abdominal muscles, and loss of contour in your body shape. The procedures are "piggybacked", or performed at the same time, during the same surgery. A mommy makeover can eliminate trips to the plastic surgeon to address separate issues, and can (in the long run) save you money by combining the procedures.
Every women will have specific areas they'd like to address, but in general, a mommy makeover may include a breast augmentation, reduction, or lift, a tummy tuck, abdominoplasty, or liposuction. If that sounds like a lot of surgical procedures, that's because it is! A mommy makeover is certainly more convenient than doing several procedures over time, but it is a significant undertaking.
How much does a mommy makeover cost?
As you can imagine, a mommy makeover isn't cheap. Most women can expect to pay between $15,000-20,000 dollars for their procedures, and that doesn't always include operating room or anesthesia costs. You may also be required to pay for pain medication during your recovery, and depending on your support at home, may have to shell out for extra childcare and help around the house in the first 1-2 weeks. Some insurances will cover the cost of the procedures if there are conditions that require surgical intervention (such as severe diastasis recti or umbilical hernias), but getting all of the procedures in a mommy makeover covered by insurance would be difficult. Many plastic surgeons offer financing plans, and credit card companies like Care Credit may have favorably financing terms.
When you're doing your research on plastic surgeons, you'll probably come across some offices that offer pricing far below what their competitors are offering. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Considering the seriousness undergoing several surgical procedures at once, you want to find the most skilled team you can find. Looking for a reputable plastic surgeon is not the time to go bargain basement shopping.
What happens during a mommy makeover?
Just like every pregnancy is different, every mommy makeover will be different! That's because every woman will have different areas of concern or areas that need more attention than others. Most mommy makeovers are done as outpatient procedures, meaning you won't need to stay in the hospital overnight (but depending on the extent of your surgery, your doctor may have you stay in a recovery suite for 24 hours for monitoring). But in developing this mommy-focused procedures, doctors have made several improvements and advancements in the surgery itself. For example, some doctors are using a new technique called progressive tension sutures, which eliminate the need for bothersome drains after a tummy tuck. Other doctors offer options for anesthesia, so you may not have to be put under general anesthesia for less-invasive procedures like skin-only breast lifts or tummy tucks. You may also have the option of IV sedation or local anesthesia during your mommy makeover.
What is recovery like after a mommy makeover?
Again, your recovery will depend on the extent of your procedures, and which type of anesthesia you opted to use. But generally speaking, you can expect to need 1-2 weeks of downtime to recover from the surgeries. This means REAL downtime - as in, no lifting (even and especially your children), no driving if you're taking pain killers, and significant pain and swelling for the first couple of weeks (swelling can actually last six months to a year, so don't expect to see full results right when the bandages come off). During the initial 1-2 week recovery period, you will need help around the house and help with childcare and daily tasks, as you'll have very limited mobility, and will need to rest as much as possible. This can be exacerbated if you have drains from any of your procedures, and your recovery period may be longer, depending on the extent of your surgery.
Many women return to work and most normal functions within two weeks after their surgery, but there are still aspects of recovery that will last several weeks to months. For example, your doctor may not clear you for some physical activities for 4-6 weeks, like exercise, lifting and twisting. If you had work done on your breasts, you may be required to wear binding garments or special bras for several weeks. Most women find they can return to full, unrestricted activity about three months after their mommy makeover.
What are the risks of mommy makeovers?
Of course, as with any type of surgery, there are risks involved in getting a mommy makeover. Complications can arise, like bleeding, infection, fluid build up (seroma), or delayed or slow healing. The risk of complications can increase if you don't follow your recovery instructions, but these are risks associated with most any surgery. There's also an increased risk when general anesthesia is involved, and when it comes to mommy makeover, tummy tucks done under general anesthesia come with the highest risk of death; 1 in 16,000 deaths, compared to 1 in 55,000 for other procedures. The risk of complications also rises when you piggyback procedures, as is done in a mommy makeover; more trauma to tissues, more time spent under general anesthesia, and a longer recovery period can increase the risk of complications.
There's no shame in wanting a mommy makeover - plastic surgery is a personal choice, and if that's the right choice for you, then there is absolutely nothing wrong with that! But do your research and educate yourself on your options before taking the leap.