Do You Still Have Loose Skin Two Years After Pregnancy? Here’s What You Can Do About It


Dr Bernard Beldholm

Loose skin after pregnancy can leave a woman feeling frustrated with her body. But it’s not all bad news. Skin retracts on its own after giving birth to an extent. Some women bounce back quickly, with skin shrinking back to its pre-pregnancy position. Yet this isn’t the case for all new mums. In this article, Dr. Bernard Beldholm discuses what you can do if your skin doesn’t shrink all the way by the time your baby’s celebrates their 2nd birthday.

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How does pregnancy change the body?

Pregnancy changes the body in many ways. One of the biggest change is excess loose skin. This most often happens on the tummy area, since the belly skin stretches a great deal to accommodate a growing baby. Pregnancy also causes women to put on weight. Giving birth helps shed a few kilos. Then, diet and exercise can get rid of excess fat stored during pregnancy. Unfortunately, working out and eating well won’t shrink loose skin.

Mums may have loose skin on the abdomen, inner thighs, arms, breasts, and more. This is mainly related to the weight gain and then weight loss of pregnancy. Pregnancy also takes a toll on the skin, which stretches as your belly grows. Women older than 30 years produce less elastin and collagen, which give skin elasticity and strength. That means stretch marks and loose, hanging skin after weight loss.

Then there are breasts. Pregnancy hormones and milk production during breastfeeding cause the breasts to increase in size. Once a woman is no longer pregnant or lactating, breasts decrease in volume. That can leave the breasts looking deflated. Empty, sagging breasts are one of the top complaints after pregnancy. Again, diet and exercise won’t tighten breast skin. For this, we recommend a breast lift.

How long does it take for skin to shrink after pregnancy?

Loose skin after pregnancy is very common. But there is good news. The skin shrinks a lot as time passes. But how much time does it take for skin to retract after pregnancy, exactly?

All women are different. You won’t magically wake up with a tight, toned tummy one day. The skin tightens gradually. While there is no exact timeline, a good rule of thumb is that skin retraction takes place over the first two years after giving birth. If you reach the two-year mark and the skin is still loose, you are not alone.

My skin hasn’t retracted two years after pregnancy. What can I do?

Time helps heal the body after pregnancy. Nature has a way of fixing your post-pregnancy body on its own…but only to a certain degree. While the skin retracts after pregnancy a lot, it may not be enough to return your tummy to its pre-pregnancy appearance.

If your youngest child has reached two years of age, and you are a mum still struggling with loose skin, you have options. Unfortunately, there is very little you can do to tighten skin yourself at home. Diet and exercise can help you lose fat, but the skin is unlikely to change much at the two-year mark. However, there are surgical and nonsurgical skin tightening options to help get your body back after pregnancy.

Nonsurgical skin tightening

Cutera TruSculpt® iD is the latest fat melting technology. Doctor Bernard is a huge fan of the procedure for nonsurgical fat reduction. It is effective on stubborn areas of body fat that won’t budge with diet and exercise alone, and is ideal for women that don’t want liposuction. While it’s not a weight loss procedure, TruSculpting helps remove small-to-medium fat bulges nearly anywhere on the body. It can be used on the tummy, arms, thighs, hips, back fat, bra rolls, breasts, neck fat, double chin, and more.

  • Minimally invasive
  • No surgery or incisions
  • Provides up to 24% fat reduction in the treated area
  • Virtually painless
  • No downtime
  • Affordable compared to surgery and liposuction
  • Performed in an outpatient setting
  • No general anesthesia needed
  • FDA and TGA approved
  • Melts fat cells naturally with RF energy (lipolysis)

Loose skin removal surgery

While fat melting procedures and skin tightening devices can improve the skin noticeably, most women see the most benefit with loose skin removal surgery after pregnancy. There are many kinds of surgical skin reduction procedures after pregnancy or weight loss (such as arm lifts and thigh lifts), but the tummy tuck is most popular.

That is because the tummy is where most people store fat. Once weight is lost with diet and exercise, the tummy skin often remains the loosest on the body. You may need a mini tummy tuck, full tummy tuck, or extended tummy tuck after pregnancy. To learn which type of Abdominoplasty is right for you, it’s just a matter of where that loose skin is located.

  • Dramatic results in one surgery
  • Long lasting results
  • Effectively removes skin when diet and exercise fail
  • Can be combined with liposuction for even better results
  • Repairs separated ab muscles
  • Can fix certain types of hernia from pregnancy
  • Fully customized to your needs

Mini tummy tuck after c-section

If you have a small belly pooch that hangs over your c-section scar, you can do a mini tummy tuck. This is a smaller surgery than a full tummy tuck because it only addresses loose skin on the lower abdomen. Liposuction is a popular add-on service.

  • Remove flap of skin after c-section birth
  • Makes c-section scar look better
  • Addresses extra skin on the lower abdomen only
  • You can have a mini tummy tuck with lipo, if desired
  • Long lasting results
  • Shorter surgery than a full tummy tuck
  • Less discomfort and faster recovery than other cosmetic abdominal surgeries
  • Affordable compared to other surgeries
  • Ideal for women with a small amount of loose skin after pregnancy
  • Does not repair loose abdominal muscles

Reverse tummy tuck

Most women have loose skin on the lower abdomen, or both the lower and upper tummy after pregnancy. Loose skin that is on the upper tummy alone is rare. If the upper abdominal skin is loose, and there is no overhanging skin on the lower abdomen, a reverse tummy tuck may be the right choice.

Also known as a reverse abdominoplasty, this procedure starts with an incision that follows the breast fold, then along the sternum that connects both sides of the abdomen. Skin on the upper tummy is elevated, and the excess is trimmed away. Once the skin is elevated, your surgeon can perform abdominal muscle repair, if needed.

While only hanging skin on the upper abdomen is removed, liposuction fat removal may be done on both the upper and lower abdomen to refine the results.

  • Ideal for loose skin on the upper abdomen only
  • Liposuction can be done on the upper and lower tummy
  • Upper abdominal muscles can be repaired during surgery
  • Long lasting results

Full tummy tuck

A tummy tuck is a loose skin removal surgery. If you have loose skin on both the upper and lower tummy, then you really need a full tummy tuck or an extended tummy tuck. A full tummy tuck, also called a standard tummy tuck, involves upper and lower abdominal skin tightening. It also helps repair separated abdominal muscles, a condition known as diastasis recti that is a common side effect of pregnancy.

Many women come in for a tummy tuck two years after giving birth. By this time, the skin has retracted as much as possible on its own. In addition to extra skin on the tummy, many new mums complain of stubborn fat that remains, even after diet and exercise. It is recommended to have a tummy tuck procedure when you’ve reached your goal weight, or are very close to it.

A full tummy tuck with liposuction offers both skin tightening and surgical fat reduction. Doctor Bernard’s Lipo-abdominoplasty with VASER Lipo combines two possible benefits in one.

  • Get rid of loose skin on the upper and lower abdomen at the same time
  • Provides dramatic results in one surgery
  • May remove some stretch marks
  • You can add liposuction to tummy tuck surgery, if desired
  • Long lasting results
  • Repairs split or torn abdominal muscles after pregnancy
  • May include a tummy tuck with hernia repair if needed
  • Better-fitting clothes
  • Effectively removes skin when diet and exercise fail
  • Fully customized to your needs
  • A popular surgery for mothers that want to get their body back after pregnancy

Extended tummy tuck after pregnancy

An extended tummy tuck is just like a full tummy tuck, except the incision is extended around the sides of your body. It removes loose skin on the upper tummy, lower tummy, and the hip area for women with extra skin in that area. Like most tummy tucks, it can be combined with liposuction, hernia repair, and/or rectus muscle tightening, if needed.

  • Helps remove loose skin on hips as well as upper and lower abdomen
  • Dramatic results in one surgery
  • Can remove stretch marks from pregnancy
  • May be combined with liposuction for even better results
  • Long lasting results
  • Fix separated abdominal muscles from pregnancy
  • May include hernia repair, if needed
  • Clothes fit better
  • Fully customized to your needs
  • Popular among weight loss patients and new mums

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Do I have to wait two years to get a tummy tuck after pregnancy?

While you may be dismayed to see loose skin after pregnancy when you look in the mirror, it pays to be patient. It’s important to wait two years after giving birth before undergoing a tummy tuck, in Doctor Bernard’s opinion. In some cases, he will do a tummy tuck one year after giving birth, but this would be a special circumstance.

Since the skin shrinks a lot on its own over the first two years, it’s a good idea to wait. Let nature take its course. That way, less skin needs to be removed during surgery if you decide to get a tummy tuck. This means less pain, inflammation, and tissue trauma during your surgery. It also means less time spent in the operating room, which may impact the final cost of tummy tuck surgery.

Finally, the most important reason to wait two years before having a tummy tuck is that your body needs time to heal after giving birth. Pregnancy causes a lot of physical changes. Childbirth is a big event. That is especially true if you’ve had a cesarean section birth. It’s a good idea to let the body heal naturally before going in for another surgery.

Waiting to get surgery also lets you be a great mum to your newborn. Rather than spending a few weeks in early motherhood recovering from tummy tuck surgery, which can make it harder to perform motherly duties such as lifting your child, you can enjoy spending time with your newborn uninterrupted. Then, when your youngest born reaches two years of age, coming in for a tummy tuck is much more manageable.

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30 Belmore Rd
Lorn NSW 2320


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