19th of November 2013

Mummy Makeovers. How soon is too soon?

Kate Middleton has just started her journey into motherhood. Through the lens of paparazzi photos, we may be under the illusion that royalty and celebrity mums bounce back to their pre pregnancy selves instantaneously. It is so important to understand that these changes take time.

After the birth of a child it takes months for your body to return to its pre-pregnancy form. And in reality, your body will never be the same again.

During pregnancy the body makes hormones and changes to allow for the birth and growth of the new child. The abdominal muscles and skin stretch and the milk producing glands of the breast become larger and active, the skin stretches as well. Once the baby has been delivered and later when breast feeding has ceased, the body undergoes further changes in an effort to return the body (to a varying degree) to its pre-pregnancy state.

After pregnancy, despite regular exercise and attention to diet, some women find they have excess skin on their lower abdomen and that their breasts have lost volume and sag – even if they have returned to their pre-pregnancy weight.

A mummy makeover describes the surgical procedures to correct these changes and may include an abdominoplasty, breast lift, breast reduction or breast augmentation.

These operations are body contouring procedures, not weight loss procedures. To ensure a good outcome and a long lasting result, it is important to be at a stable weight and shape for approximately 6 months and to have stopped breast feeding for approximately 6 months. (American Society of Plastic Surgeons Sept 2013). It is important to have stopped breast feeding to allow the breasts to return to normal size, stop producing milk so the breast glands can involute, and for the breast skin to stabilize.

I also strongly advise patients to have completed their family before embarking upon mummy makeover surgery. You can have safe pregnancies following this form of surgery but you may “undo all of the good work” and require further revision surgery.

So, as the Duchess of Cambridge embarks upon motherhood and all that society expects of her, we must remember that each of us recovers from pregnancy at different rates and that it is a different journey for each of us.

If you are considering this type of surgery at any point along the way, I urge you to consult with a qualified specialist who has many years experience in performing this type of surgery. If you would like to embark on this journey with a friendly, skilled female surgeon call 03 9429 3343 to book an appointment with Dr Jane Paterson at her Epworth clinic.

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