Pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, and motherhood all lead to many changes in a woman’s body, and, unfortunately, many women consider their post-pregnancy bodies inferior to their pre-pregnancy bodies. This has resulted in a growing cosmetic surgery trend that has been nicknamed “the Mommy Makeover.”

How Can Having Children Affect a Woman’s Appearance?

Carrying one or more children commonly leads to weight gain throughout the entire body but often in the hips, buttocks, and thighs in particular.  As the uterus expands to accommodate the growing child, the outcome is stretched, flabby-looking skin in the abdominal area after giving birth. During and after pregnancy, a woman’s breasts may grow and become fuller in preparation for feeding the infant. These heavier breasts might cause the skin to stretch in the chest area and the breasts to sag.  Every area of the body that “grows” during this period (from weight gain or the baby) may develop stretch marks, which may initially appear as purple- or red-colored lines on the skin.  After the baby has been weaned, the breasts may lose their fullness.  Additionally, motherhood – especially for first-time mothers and mothers who have little family and/or social support – can be very stressful; it can be difficult to find an opportunity to exercise, and some (not all) women may cope by eating unhealthy foods that cause additional weight gain.

What Is a Mommy Makeover?

A mommy makeover is a group of cosmetic surgery procedures that attempt to restore a woman’s look to her pre-child-bearing appearance and/or to enhance it in other ways.  It is important to note that every mommy makeover is unique because not all women have the same pregnancy and nursing body changes or the same goals for their appearance.

What Procedures Might a Woman Choose for a Mommy Makeover?

For the breasts, a woman might choose a breast lift (removes excess skin to raise the breast but does not change size), breast augmentation (increases the size of the breast with silicone, saline, or body tissue implants), breast reduction (makes the breasts smaller – often for women whose breasts are so large that they contribute to back pain), or a combination of these procedures (e.g., a breast lift and enlargement).  To shape legs, arms, butt, and stomach, a woman may want to add liposuction (the surgical removal of extra fat) to their mommy makeover.  In addition to removing fat, a tummy tuck takes off skin and corrects muscles in the abdomen that may have become weak or separated.  Some mothers feel that the experience has led to more visible signs of aging and they consider cosmetic surgery for facial changes (face lifts for wrinkles, eyelid reduction, or chin or cheekbone implants).

Should I Get a Mommy Makeover?

A mommy makeover may be a good choice for you if:

  • You are satisfied with the size of your family (i.e., you don’t plan to have additional children)
  • You and your partner can afford the expense of these elective surgeries (i.e., insurance companies are unlikely to pay)
  • You will have help during the recovery period (each additional surgery will likely require more time off from work and other activities)
  • You have no health conditions that could make recovery from surgery more challenging
  • if negative feelings about your post-baby appearance are making it difficult for you to enjoy or function in everyday life