While motherhood is one of the most rewarding experiences, there is no denying that pregnancy and childbirth can take a toll on your body. Many of the changes that occur to your body will gradually return to normal as time passes after your pregnancy, but some may be here to stay. One example that a lot of women experience after delivering their child is a bulge in the lower area of their abdomen, or, the “mommy pooch.” Unfortunately for many women, no matter how many targeted exercises or diets you try, the stubborn pooch will not seem to disappear.
If you are unhappy with your body’s appearance after having children, a tummy tuck could help you achieve the look you want. The board-certified team of experts at Arkansas Plastic Surgery in Little Rock is here to help answer your questions and help you reclaim your body after pregnancy.
What Causes Mom Pooch?
Your body undergoes a variety of changes very quickly during pregnancy. One of the primary ones is the abdominal muscles (the six-pack muscles) stretching to allow the expansion of the uterus to accommodate a growing baby. This can cause the abdominal muscles to separate completely and not be able to join back after giving birth in a condition called diastasis recti.
Diastasis recti can happen at any time during the second half of pregnancy, but is most common after childbirth because the abdominal wall slackens and the thinner midline tissue can no longer support the torso and internal organs. The organs behind the muscles bulge out, causing the belly to sag. While this typically results in the appearance of the mommy pooch, not every woman with diastasis recti will have a bulge — it all depends on your anatomy and the degree of abdominal separation.
How a Tummy Tuck Can Help a Saggy Belly After Pregnancy
For some women, plastic surgery may be needed to repair their stomach muscles after pregnancy. A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is designed to tighten the abdominal muscles back in place, remove excess skin, and flatten the bulging abdomen for a smoother, firmer look. While a tummy tuck is a routine procedure, it is extensive. The procedure itself is not painful but each plastic surgery procedure carries a different level of discomfort and our patients are given general anesthesia so they remain unconscious during the entire procedure.
More and more plastic surgeons are combining liposuction and a tummy tuck for improved patient outcomes. Lipo cannot tighten muscles that have been too stretched out, but it involves removing excess fat cells. This modern approach to abdominal sculpting can offer a winning solution for finally eliminating post-pregnancy belly without needing separate procedures.
When Can I Get a Tummy Tuck After Pregnancy?
Once you’ve realized that just a healthy diet and exercise won’t improve your body contour, you will want to discuss your options with an experienced tummy tuck surgeon. You should wait at least six months after you give birth or after you stop breastfeeding to get a tummy tuck. Waiting six months is ideal because not only will most of the deep tissues in your abdomen that have been stretched be healed enough, but the pregnancy hormones that soften them will no longer be active. Once this has happened, the tissue will hold together better and heal more efficiently.
Another reason to wait until six months after childbirth is that, as a new mother, you have to lift your growing baby often. Frequent heavy lifting puts undue stress on a healing tummy tuck and can damage the results. By six months, you can be much more efficient with lifting your child.
If you are breastfeeding, it is best to wait until six months after you wean your child because when you breastfeed, you transfer whatever is in your breastmilk to your nursing child. Under normal circumstances this is safe, but there is a risk to the child when the mother is given an anesthetic.
Does a Tummy Tuck Leave a Scar?
Since abdominoplasty is a surgical procedure that requires an incision, it will leave behind some scarring. Dr. David Bauer and Dr. Zachary Young are careful when placing the incision to make sure any scarring that occurs will be easily concealed by undergarments or a swimsuit. For women who have Cesarean section births, the incision can be made at the same location so there is only one, low scar. Our team can also recommend products to use that could help minimize the scarring. Over time, the scar may fade until it is barely visible.
Contact Our Little Rock Tummy Tuck Surgeons
For over 20 years, the surgical team at Arkansas Plastic Surgery has performed countless successful tummy tucks. For help determining if a tummy tuck or combination procedure with liposuction is right for you, schedule a consultation with our experienced, board-certified plastic surgeons. We can provide you with expert guidance and outstanding results — contact us to get started!