Oh, Mother: More Women Are Getting a ‘Mommy Makeover’
Many women enter motherhood elated, only to be surprised and disappointed by how pregnancy has impacted their body. Stretch marks, stubborn body fat and sagging skin are common changes after nine long months of a constantly changing, growing body.
While some mothers see their post-pregnancy body as a badge of honor, others would do just about anything to return to the way they looked before.
However, modifying those post-pregnancy changes through diet and exercise alone may be physically impossible. Surgeons have long known about the common desire to reverse pregnancy’s effects. Now, many of them market a “mommy makeover” as the answer for frustrated moms who are willing to pay $10,000 to $20,000 for visible changes.
A mommy makeover combines various cosmetic procedures in one, united by the common goal of addressing the physical changes brought on by pregnancy. Mommy makeovers typically include breast implants, a breast lift and a tummy tuck, complete with liposuction and excess skin removal. Some patients add vaginal rejuvenation and a butt lift to the docket, as well.
Frequency of mommy makeovers
The appeal of mommy makeovers is far-reaching. Data from the American Academy of Plastic Surgeons show that 62 percent of new moms, if money were no object, would seek some form of cosmetic surgery after giving birth. Most women, obviously, don’t seek such procedures, either due to cost or fear of surgery. However, there is clear interest among women to find surgical solutions to the physical toll of motherhood.
Plastic surgery rates for women and men are rising globally. The number of cosmetic minimally invasive procedures went up 2 percent and reconstructive procedures rose 1 percent in 2019, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Even if most mothers don’t opt for a full mommy makeover, many are still choosing to have some work done.
Getting one area worked on rather than undergoing multiple procedures helps minimize cost and recovery time. Yet, having everything done at one time is something that appeals to many new mothers.
The risks & benefits of surgery
Not all of the benefits of a mommy makeover are purely cosmetic. Patients will see some health and quality-of-life improvements, too. For instance, it’s not uncommon for the abdominal muscles to permanently stretch and separate during pregnancy to accommodate the growing fetus. This condition, called diastasis recti, can be surgically repaired through a tummy tuck. In more pronounced diastasis recti cases, a tummy tuck not only tightens the midsection but can also reduce the burden of incontinence, lower back pain and hernias.
Of course, no form of surgery is without risk. A mommy makeover is an invasive grouping of procedures that requires extensive downtime for recovery. Patients are placed under general anesthesia, risking the possibility of heart and lung complications. Furthermore, post-operation recovery necessitates that patients not lift more than 25 pounds for several weeks, and that may be a luxury that mothers of young children can rarely afford.
Nonetheless, cosmetic surgery offers a relatively permanent solution to a common issue, and it is now more socially acceptable, safer and easier to access than ever. Financing options can alleviate the monetary burden of surgery, and friends and family members may be more likely to assist at home if they understand how much the operation means to the mother.
If you’re interested in considering the surgical option, consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon. Note that you should wait at least six months after giving birth to undergo surgery. And be sure you have the necessary child care and other support to allow your body sufficient time for recovery after the procedure.