Having a child is undeniably one of life’s greatest blessings. Pregnancy changes a mother’s life in so many ways, and most of those ways are for the better. Pregnancy also brings about many different changes to the body – hormonal changes and physical stress can affect the elasticity and harmony of the skin causing stretching and breakouts, fat redistribution, separation and stretching of muscle fibers and excess fat and skin hanging in the abdominal area.
Usually during pregnancy, the fibrous connective tissue between the abdominal muscles stretches out. This condition is called Diastasis Recti. Most patients associate this condition with the abdominal muscles themselves being separated, which is partly true, but the real issue is that the connective tissue that holds them together has become stretched and cannot snap back despite frequent abdominal exercise. The abdominal muscles themselves will benefit from core exercises, but the connective tissue, or fascia, cannot be strengthened or repaired with crunches.
The best way for that area to be tightened and/or flattened is with a muscle repair during Tummy Tuck surgery.
TUMMY TUCK AFTER PREGNANCY
It is best to wait several months after having a child and ensure that you are completely finished nursing before scheduling a tummy tuck. This waiting period allows women time to work toward their goal weight, as the best results for tummy tuck are achieved when patients are within 10-20% of their ideal body weight. Most women who wish to improve their post-pregnancy tummy will try to resolve these issues with diet and exercise. A tummy tuck is best for those stubborn fat deposits resistant to diet and exercise as well as skin and muscle laxity that cannot be repaired with exercise alone. We do strongly encourage maintaining a healthy lifestyle of diet and exercise, as this practice can only improve the results of surgery.
Women who plan to have more children in the future should not have a tummy tuck. The tummy tuck surgery does tighten the abdominal muscles, which naturally stretch and widen during pregnancy. It is possible to get pregnant and deliver safely after having a tummy tuck, but the growth of the uterus during pregnancy could be compromised due to the tightness of the muscle/fascia after surgery. Becoming pregnant after a tummy tuck can also cause the results of the surgery to be reduced or undone.
DO I NEED LIPOSUCTION?
Many patients who inquire about a tummy tuck also inquire about liposuction. Many patients are not sure what the difference between the two procedures is or what will benefit them the most. Liposuction cannot address any muscle separation or skin laxity issues. Liposuction is surgical removal of fat only. For patients with excellent skin elasticity who have a “pooch” that they can’t get rid of with diet and exercise, liposuction is a great option. Patients with a “pooch” and loose or sagging skin will more than likely need a tummy tuck to achieve their desired result.