Plastic Surgery During Pregnancy – Is It Safe?
It is no secret that a woman’s body changes drastically during the pregnancy process, and often leaves her with permanent reminders of the stresses caused by fluctuating weight, hormones, and other factors. It is also a time when many women feel less than confident and seek outside measures to restore the sense of their pre-pregnancy self.
“I don't get many requests for cosmetic procedures from pregnant women. As a physician, I would be concerned about doing anything ‘elective’ that might indirectly or directly lead to com-plications in a pregnant woman,” says board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Brian Reagan He stresses that even seemingly routine and frequent procedures that may be performed in a plastic surgery office are to be considered very carefully: “The possibility of complications from the more common procedures such as neurotoxin or filler injections is low, but real. I avoid injections of any kind during pregnancy. I would avoid use of any medication that can have hemodynamic effects such as lidocaine or epinephrine. Most patients gain weight during pregnancy and therefore don't need more volume in the face. Neurotoxins are not recommended during preg-nancy as per the literature in the inserts.”
What is acceptable by medical standards seems to be mild, topical work at the most— and even that is used sparingly to combat hormonal skin reactions like melasma, a patchy facial skin dis-coloration that is a common pregnancy phenomenon.
“Slight exfoliation of the skin via microdermabrasion or a light chemical peel is acceptable during pregnancy. Hormonal changes can lead to melasma which can effectively be treated by laser or chemical peel post-pregnancy.” Dr. Reagan stresses that his first choice to disguise pregnancy-induced melanoma is a tinted sunblock to conceal pigmentation.
Focusing on the health and development of the baby is the primary concern for most plastic surgeons, but the nips, tucks, and improvements shortly after the baby makes his or her way out into the world is where plastic surgeons typically feel they have the most to offer, safely.
“I recommend that patients relax and focus on their health and the health of their baby during pregnancy. When ready, we are there to address their post-pregnancy needs. Skin lightening creams, lasers for hyper-pigmentation, breast augmentation with mastopexy, tummy tucks: all help mom feel and look great!”
So the best advice for pregnant women feeling a bit self-conscious about their overall aesthetic? Embrace it. Own it. By the time you’re at the 5-month mark, people know you’re pregnant and don’t expect you to look anything other than pregnant. As the doctor says, your health and the baby’s health are of the utmost importance, so if you’re feeling the need for a pretty pick-me-up – perhaps a great accessory will tide you over until your baby’s here and you can re-assess your post-pregnancy plastic surgery needs.