While women understand that their body changes significantly during pregnancy, not every woman recognizes what causes weight gain and loose skin during and after their pregnancy.
Pregnancy will affect nearly every region of the body; however, none will be affected as much as the abdomen.
Your abs withstand the bulk of pregnancy trauma. Many women are left with pockets of fat, loose skin, and stretched abdominal muscles.
What Happens to Your Abs During Pregnancy?
Pregnancy and childbirth often leave women with unwanted abdominal pooches.
Hormones, the birthing process, and the strain of a growing uterus all cause the excess tissue to develop.
Before you get pregnant, your uterus is roughly the size of an orange. Over the following 40 weeks, your uterus grows to become nearly the size of a watermelon.
This growth forces your abdominal muscles to stretch over your growing baby. While some women are genetically blessed or have toned cores that can withstand this trauma, other women discover that this expansion causes the two sides of their abdominal muscles to separate.
Abdominal separation is known as diastasis recti, and it is estimated to affect nearly two-thirds of mothers.
Symptoms of diastasis recti include a lower belly pooch, bloating, lower back pain, and poor posture. There is no definitive way to prevent diastasis recti and no way to repair it without undergoing surgery.
How Can Plastic Surgery Help?
There seems to be a growing pressure for a woman to show how her body has bounced back after pregnancy.
Post-baby body transformations are all over social media and tabloids, and they can often compel new mothers to consider almost anything to restore their pre-baby physique.
These procedures can be beneficial for women who are unable to tone the areas on their own and are dissatisfied with their appearance.
You should, however, only undergo these procedures if you want to improve your physique for yourself, not to conform to any unreasonable expectations.
Liposuction can help the body eliminate the stubborn pockets of fat that accumulate during the childbearing process.
This treatment can address the stomach, waist, hips, upper thighs, and any other region of the body that experiences post-pregnancy weight.
Liposuction removes fat cells with a vacuuming device that is inserted through small incisions made in the treatment area.
Either the injection of a tumescent fluid or ultrasound technology will aid this process and help ease the removal of the fat cells for a more comfortable liposuction recovery period.
Tummy tuck surgery not only addresses excess skin, tissues, and fat that accumulated with one or more pregnancies, but it also repairs diastasis recti.
Tummy tuck surgery is the only process that can correct significant abdominal separation.
This procedure creates a horizontal incision across the abdomen within the bikini line
that will allow the surgeon to reattach and tighten the abdominal muscles, remove excess fat, and trim the loose or stretched abdominal skin.
Will Tummy Tuck Surgery Fix My C-Section Scar?
Undergoing a tummy tuck will not erase the horizontal scar on the abdomen, but it can improve its appearance.
Scars develop any time the tissues experience trauma. Since C-section cuts through the skin, a scar will develop.
Fortunately, a tummy tuck after a C-section will use the C-section scar for the incision.
This allows your surgeon to reduce the amount of tummy tuck scarring and lessen the appearance of the C-section scar since much of the tissue around it will be removed during the surgery.
The aesthetic appearance of the resulting scar is not a significant concern for your OB-GYN, but the resulting scar is a concern for your tummy tuck surgeon.
All efforts will be made to ensure that the tummy tuck scar is as hidden and small as possible.
When Can I Undergo a Tummy Tuck?
Many patients are interested in plastic surgery immediately following the birth of their child.
Unfortunately, this is not the correct timing to consider such an invasive cosmetic procedure.
Your body needs time to heal and adjust following your delivery. Patients should wait at least six months before considering any treatment.
This will give you time for the tissues to revert to their pre-pregnancy size, to understand what your abdominal aesthetic concerns will be, and to reduce excess fat naturally.
Plastic surgery on the abdomen will not affect your body’s ability to have additional children; however, getting pregnant after a tummy tuck will counteract and reverse the results from that procedure.
Have More Questions?
Dr. Spies is a board-certified plastic surgeon practicing in Scottsdale, Arizona.