Sometimes no amount of dieting or exercising is enough to make your post-baby body spring back into the shape you once knew. For the moms who aren’t willing to live with the unrecognizable changes their bellies, breasts, thighs and beyond have endured, there are dramatic solutions.
Today, plastic surgeons offer Mommy Makeover packages that can include several procedures at once. There’s no need to be embarrassed about your altered shape. Yes, you got a beautiful baby by sacrificing your figure, but you aren’t being a selfish mom by wanting to focus on yourself.
Why go under the knife?
Noelle C., mom to two busy boys (ages three and one), chose breast augmentation for herself after careful consideration with her doctor. "After two babies, I wanted to do something for myself and my husband was more than happy to pay for it." But she didn’t want to balloon into something unnatural – Noelle C. was looking for an alteration in proportion to her body. She just wanted to "regain what I had lost as a result of breast feeding, age and gravity."
Find out if cosmetic surgery is the right choice for you by reviewing these four top procedures for moms.
If your breasts have lost their volume or are just sagging more than you would like, breast augmentation may be the right choice. After a one- to two-hour surgery you can walk away with either saline- or silicone-filled implants. It’s a permanent procedure, but sometimes breast implants do need to be replaced years down the road.
Though the surgery may be relatively short, recovery isn’t simple as Noelle C. can attest. "The hardest thing was not being able to lift anything over 10 pounds or raise your arms higher than 45 degrees for two weeks." And that meant no lifting her chubby, irresistible toddlers! But proper recovery is crucial so sacrifices had to be made. From pain pills to sponge baths, Noelle C. was a mommy who needed her own mother for a few days. She says, "I knew I could not stay at home and not be ‘mommy’ to my boys so I decided to leave the kids at home with their father and went to my mother’s house so she could take care of me."
She advises, "The most important thing is to have someone who will be able to do all the things for you that you’re unable to do, especially for the first three to four days following surgery." Hmm… sounds like heaven for any mom, minus the pain of course.
Side effects of breast augmentation can include temporary soreness, swelling, sensitivity and bruising. Most patients should be able to return to work in one to two weeks.
Average cost: $3,500 to 4,000.
If the thought of implants make you uncomfortable, a breast lift may be the way to go to recapture that coveted youthful look and shape. Perky doesn’t have to be a thing of the past – this procedure offers an alternative method to re-inflate sagging, droopy and poorly shaped breasts. Excess skin is removed, breast tissue is lifted and nipples and areolae are moved or even reduced in size.
Like augmentation, side effects can include temporary discomfort, swelling, bruising and also scars which will fade with time. It’s a procedure that can take an hour and a half to over three hours to complete but the good news is that the results are long-lasting. You can’t stop gravity completely, but you can put it on pause for a little while.
Most patients should be able to return to work in one to two weeks.
Average cost: $4,300.
Also know as an abdominoplasty, this major surgical procedure can take two to five hours from start to finish. Your surgeon will remove excess skin, may reposition your navel and will give your weak abdominal muscles new life by tightening the abdominal wall.
A scar is inevitable in a tummy tuck and recovery is slow – you can be back to work and mommy duty in one to three weeks, but it could be longer depending upon each individual’s physical condition. The results though can be a dramatically flatter stomach and narrower waist.
Average cost for these permanent results: $5,350.
Body contouring is the friendly term for liposuction, but the procedure isn’t glamorous by any means. Having fat sucked out of your body isn’t any prettier than it sounds – but the results can be amazing and instantaneous. If you’ve ever seen a liposuction on TV, it looks vicious, but there are newer methods that do reduce some of that violence by melting the fat first with ultrasound.
Keep in mind, liposuction is not an alternative to weight reduction. It can, however, be effective in removing stubborn fat that doesn’t react to diet and exercise. What this means is – don’t be surprised if your doctor recommends that you lose more weight before embarking on this procedure.
Depending on how much area you’re looking to have liposuctioned, the procedure can take anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours. Bruising, soreness and even some numbness may occur but the final contour is usually evident by the three-month mark. You can be back to work in about one to two weeks but be prepared to wear a compression garment for up to six weeks to encourage your skin to contract and decrease the inevitable swelling. Average cost: $2,900.
The bottom line
Remember that no matter how minor some of these surgeries may seem in comparison to other types of cosmetic procedures, it’s a serious situation every time you go under the knife. Do your research. Be sure to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon and don’t be afraid to ask questions about everything from their reputation to the number of times they’ve performed the procedure. Be honest about your childbearing plans as well – if you want more babies, let it be known so the doctor can advise you well.
Yes, you might be chomping at the bit to banish those baggy clothes and reveal a new you, but you do have a little one (or ones) at home to think about – your health and safety are more important than ever. Go slowly so you make the right decision and, most of all, take care of yourself so you can take care of them.
**Details regarding cost, length of the procedure and recovery time are courtesy of The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. The price of each surgery will vary considerably by geographic region and does not include facility fees, anesthesia and other surgical costs.
Find out more about cosmetic surgery:
Expert tips on plastic surgery
Cosmetic plastic surgery "mommy makeovers" on the rise
Can you breast feed after breast augmentation?
Have you had a "mommy make-over"?
Leave us a comment and tell us about your experience.