Snapping Back To Pre-Pregnancy Shape Is Possible
Congratulations are in order to those who've managed to shed their pregnancy weight once they’ve welcomed their little bouncing bundle of joy to the world. Now that the extra pounds are gone, many women may still be left with some residual excess or loose skin, as well as sagging – and I’m betting that some of them may be wondering what to do about it particularly because exercise and dieting doesn’t seem to be making a dent!
Well, lucky for you, we’ve got options, as outlined by Austin-based a board-certified plastic surgeon, Jennifer Walden, M.D. I chatted with Dr. Walden to learn more about what is available to women who have already removed as much of the post-pregnancy poundage as possible - and now want skin tightening solutions.
Mary Cunningham: Hi Dr. Walden, it's great to talk to you. Knowing so many people who have been diligent in their healthcare and self-care, many women want to know what they can do to feel even better about their physical appearance post-pregnancy. Can you tell me a little about the procedures that serve best after losing that extra baby weight?
Dr. Jennifer Walden: After pregnancy women will typically get a tummy tuck, technically called abdominoplasty, to remove extra skin from the lower abdominals and tighten the six-pack muscle region. This restores the shape and figure to the body's pre-pregnancy shape, and includes skin and muscle tightening.
MC: What happens if you get pregnant after a tummy tuck?
Dr. Walden: Given the hormonal environment of the female, the body has an amazing ability to stretch during pregnancy, which allows the skin to stretch out again to accommodate the new baby bump. Unfortunately though, all of the prior surgical work is undone.
MC: So will a woman have to undergo a second tummy tuck?
Dr. Walden: Chances are, yes, she will. A doctor will have to go back in to recreate the abdominoplasty after the baby is born due to the pregnancy stretching the layers of muscles of the abdomen, as well as the skin. We definitely advise patients to wait until they are done childbearing to have a tummy tuck performed.
MC: Once a woman has decided that she is no longer going to have children, how long does she need to wait before having a tummy tuck?
Dr. Walden: I am conservative and advise waiting a year. There are hormonal, dietary and emotional components at play after significant weight loss and they require time to equalize. It is important to give your body time to reach its own natural balance before undergoing any surgery.
MC: What should people expect in terms of recovery time?
Dr. Walden: The recovery time for a tummy tuck/abdominoplasty isn’t as lengthy as other procedures for drastic weight loss. Drains stay in for about 7-10 days, and you should plan to be off work for about 10-14 days. During this time you will be walking hunched over for a bit so you don’t stretch the skin and will also be wearing a binder.
Thank you Dr. Walden, it was wonderful to learn more about our options. Your valuable insight underscores how important it is to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon. As savvy consumers, we want expert guidance to understand all of our options, as well as any associated risks.
For more about Dr. Jennifer Walden:
Dr. Walden is board-certified and fellowship trained in aesthetic plastic surgery, is based in Austin, TX and is on the board of directors of The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Patients see her for various types of aesthetic plastic surgeries, including face, nose, breast, body and genitals.