How Soon After Pregnancy can I get Tummy Tuck Surgery?
Looking down at your tummy after pregnancy can stir up all sorts of emotions. While you’re excited to have a new baby, it’s a struggle to see loose skin hanging on your belly. Skin stretches during pregnancy. You may have stretch marks. Pregnancy changes the body in many ways. It takes a toll on your looks and self esteem.
You probably want a tummy tuck right away to get your stomach looking how it did before you got pregnant. You may ask, ‘How soon after pregnancy can I get tummy tuck surgery?’ But not so fast! It’s important to wait at least a year after pregnancy to get a tummy tuck. This article explains why.
Your body needs time to heal
Pregnancy is a major life event. It’s tough on your body. If you had a c-section, the recovery is even harder. A c-section is considered a major surgery. After giving birth by any means, your belly and uterus won’t shrink overnight. It takes time for the body to heal.
Mostly healing occurs in the first year after pregnancy. During this time, the uterus returns to its normal size. This takes about 3 to 6 months. Any tissue damaged during childbirth also heals. Hormones level out once you’re done breastfeeding. Skin retraction occurs as well.
With all this healing going on, it’s not a good time to have cosmetic surgery. The human body can only handle so much at once. When you’re feeling back to normal after pregnancy, which can take a year or two, then you may consider a tummy tuck.
You’re busy with the baby
Being a mother fills up your schedule fast. You’re busy breastfeeding. You’re changing diapers and giving baths. You’re staying up all night. It’s hard to get a restful night of sleep when you’re soothing a crying newborn. Between feeding and diaper changes, there is a lot to do. It’s hard to imagine taking time off for an elective surgery right now. That is a big reason women wait at least 1 to 2 years after giving birth to have a tummy tuck.
Tummy tuck downtime takes a few weeks. You will need help with household chores and taking care of the kids. Walking and bending is difficult for the first 10 days. Lifting is off limits for several weeks. While caring for a toddler is no easy task, they don’t require 24/7 care like a newborn. This is a big reason women wait at least a year or two, sometimes more. With your load lightened and a bit of help at home, you can squeeze in time for tummy tuck recovery.
Loose skin may shrink on its own
Loose abdominal skin after pregnancy makes your tummy look deflated. Skin folds are a source of discomfort. You may feel defeated in your looks. While all women want excess abdominal skin to disappear the moment the baby is born, skin retraction is a process that takes time. Doctor Bernard explains that it takes up to two years for the skin to shrink back to normal after pregnancy.
For women with several pregnancies, poor skin laxity, or that gained a lot of weight during pregnancy, the extra skin may not ever shrink back to normal. Still, it’s important to wait two years for natural skin tightening to occur. Any excess skin that remains at the two-year mark is unlikely to tighten further. This is the time to consider skin removal surgery with a tummy tuck.
By waiting a year or two for skin tightening to occur on its own, you’ll avoid over tightening the skin with a tummy tuck. For example, if you have a tummy tuck right after giving birth (before letting skin retraction occur), the skin could theoretically tighten further after the surgery — leaving you with a cosmetically displeasing result.
You may be thinking, “Yes! I want the tightest skin possible!” But in reality, that would be a bad tummy tuck result. Skin that’s too taut appears stretched, unnatural, and uncomfortable. Too much of a good thing is never good.
You need to reach a stable weight first
You will need to reach a stable body weight before having a tummy tuck. A tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) is not a weight loss surgery. It is not a replacement for exercise or healthy eating. It’s there to refine the results of your weight loss efforts. It’s there to tighten skin on your tummy that can’t be removed with diet and exercise alone. It’s done to sculpt your abdomen and get rid of stubborn fat rolls with lipo. It’s done to fix ab muscle separation. It’s done to improve the way your belly button looks.
First, you’ll need to reach a stable body weight. Then, you’ll need to maintain a healthy weight for at least six months before a skin reduction surgery, such as a tummy tuck. The more fit you are before a tummy tuck, the better your tummy tuck results. It takes most women at least a year to get back in shape after pregnancy with diet and exercise.
Losing baby weight takes time. The best way to lose weight after pregnancy is with proper diet and exercise. Eating healthy foods and keeping track of calories (also known as “calorie counting”) goes a long way to help get your body in shape. For new mums, working out at home may be easier than going to the gym. But it is nice to get some gym time in when you can. That way, you can focus on yourself without tending to mummy duties. If that’s not possible, working out at home is your best bet.
A combination of diet and exercise allows women to shed the kilos gained during pregnancy. It won’t happen overnight. Most women find it takes at least a year or two. It’s not that diet and exercise work that slowly. It is often simply the fact that mothers are busy. Taking care of a newborn leaves you with less time to go to the gym. Take the first year or so to get in shape. That way, you’ll get the most benefit from your abdominoplasty.
You can fix separated ab muscles without surgery
You may have weak core muscles after giving birth. Diastasis recti (ab muscle separation) is common in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. Core exercises for separated ab muscles (such as The MUTU System) can help.
If you manage to repair separated abdominal muscles naturally, you can avoid having them surgically repaired as part of your tummy tuck surgery. This may reduce your overall tummy tuck cost. It could mean you’re a candidate for a skin-only tummy tuck or mini tummy tuck, which means less downtime, less discomfort, and a lower abdominoplasty cost.
Keep in mind diastasis recti exercises may not work for everyone. If you have really damaged the ab muscles during pregnancy, it’s hard to workout. Even then, severe diastasis recti often requires ab muscle repair surgery. During a Sculpt Tummy Tuck with Dr. Beldholm, the ab muscles are stitched back together. This can help you regain abdominal strength over time. Ab muscle repair makes it possible for patients to get back in the gym once they heal from surgery.
Are you sure you don’t want more kids?
After giving birth, most women are relieved to no longer be pregnant. Right after pregnancy, you probably can’t imagine being pregnant again so soon. If you had a tough pregnancy, or already have several kids, you may be thinking you are done. You’re pretty sure you are finished building your family and may be thinking of a tummy tuck. But what if things change in a year?
A tummy tuck should only be done when a woman is certain she will not have any more children. Getting pregnant will simply undo the results. The skin will stretch again. New stretch marks may form. If you gained weight during your last pregnancy, you’re likely to gain weight again.
A tummy tuck is an investment. It’s costly. Insurance doesn’t cover tummy tucks. Women that have a tummy tuck after pregnancy will pay out of pocket. So you need to be sure you won’t have any more kids after the surgery. Give yourself a year or two after pregnancy to reach that big decision.
Is it safe to get pregnant after tummy tuck?
While it’s not a good idea from a cosmetic standpoint, getting pregnant after tummy tuck surgery is possible. A tummy tuck does not affect your reproductive organs. There is nothing about it that would stop you from getting pregnant again. There are few known risks. It is considered safe to get pregnant again, as far as we know. However, keep in mind there has not been much research on this. That is because most women that get a tummy tuck are finished having children.
If you do get pregnant after tummy tuck surgery, you should let your OB/GYN know that you’ve had a tummy tuck in the past. Informing your tummy tuck surgeon that you have become pregnant again may also be wise. Women that get pregnant after tummy tuck surgery should be closely monitored. Your safety, and your child’s safety, are top priority.
How long should I wait to get pregnant after tummy tuck surgery?
Ideally, you won’t have another pregnancy after your tummy tuck surgery. But if you change your mind and choose to have more children, there is nothing stopping you. Just understand that this may undo the incredible tummy tuck results.
If you decide to have a child in the future, it is best to wait at least one year after tummy tuck surgery to do so. As discussed earlier, your body needs time to heal. Tummy tuck downtime only takes a few weeks. However, it takes up to a year for swelling to go away totally. Abdominal tissue damage that occurs as part of surgery also takes time to heal. It takes about three months to feel back to normal after tummy tuck surgery. And it takes 12 months on average to see the final results.
During the first year, women should use their contraceptive method (birth control) of choice. That ensures you won’t get pregnant in the first year after surgery. It allows time for your body to heal. Most women continue using contraception beyond one year, since they don’t want to undo the tummy tuck results by getting pregnant again. As mentioned, the only time to consider a tummy tuck is when you are truly done having kids.
A year goes by quickly when you have a newborn
Having a new baby is an exciting, but hectic, time in your life. As a mother, you’re likely to be sleep deprived, breastfeeding, trying to get back to exercise, and dealing with weak ab muscles and loose skin that will hopefully shrink over time. In Doctor Bernard’s medical opinion, it is best to wait at least a year to consider a tummy tuck after pregnancy.
Once you’re at a stable weight and fully recovered from childbirth, that’s the time to come in for a tummy tuck consultation. For some women, that takes just one year. For most women that Doctor Bernard sees for tummy tuck surgery, he finds that two years is more realistic. He wants to make sure that you’re fit and healthy so you get the best tummy tuck results possible.