While the joys of child-baring are experienced far more directly by women than by men, so are the burdens. What is meant by the burdens of child-bearing? Pregnancy, while a beautiful experience also has negative consequences, its costs, if you will. As the child inside develops and enlarges, the increased size stretches the abdominal tissues surrounding it. Stretched beyond their elastic limits, beyond the ability to recoil back to their original dimensions, the tissues, the muscle, the fascia (covering over the muscle), and the skin, are left looser and less supported than their pre-pregnancy state. Furthermore, it is believed that there are abdomen hormones during pregnancy whose purpose is to prepare the woman’s body for the incredible act of delivering the baby by loosening and softening of tissues. Unfortunately, these loosening effects are not specific to the birth canal but affect the entirety of the women’s body and are not entirely reversible, often leaving a woman’s body permanently changed following pregnancy. These changes are seen in the body but also in the face. This observation is addressed in the face section of the site.
Additionally, with pregnancy the breasts swell in preparation for and during milk production. Following the termination of breastfeeding, the breasts swelling subsides but often the breast do not return to their original form. They are often left with sagging from the stretching and loosening that occurred and smaller than their original state due to the atrophy (loss of tissue) that occurs with the termination of breastfeeding.
Furthermore, even with advances regarding equality in the workplace and at home, women still more often than not shoulder a greater amount of the child rearing duties then do men. While this is done out of love and with great satisfaction, it also leaves women with less time to exercise and eat right. Thus many women who are raising children or who have raised children never have had the opportunity to lose the weight gained during pregnancy nor the time to re-strengthen and re-tone their tissues. And in many cases the decreased opportunity to exercise leads to increased weight gain that stubbornly resists loss with future exercise and diet.
Thus the forces of loosening and starching of weight gain or even tissue loss in the case of breasts can leave a woman who has carried and raised her children out of love and selflessness feeling less like a woman, less feminine. The abdomen often has a pooch with looseness and stretch marks especially below the belly button. This fullness combined with laxity may creep to the sides and is experienced as a “muffin top” when clothes with a true waist are worn. The breasts are often deflated and sagging, not a fair reward for their vital past role in the important process of nourishing a child (by the way – I am a strong advocate of breastfeeding because of the very important biological benefits to children).
Areas other than the abdomen and breasts are also affected by child baring and rearing. The pubic areas, the triangle of tissue baring the pubic hair, often becomes fuller and drops downward. Studies have even suggested that these changes reduce satisfaction associated with sexual activity. Those same studies imply that improvements in these areas associated with cosmetic surgery enhances satisfaction. C-section scars that are thick, starched, uneven, or tethered down can also exacerbate the unattractive appearance of the abdomen that is sometimes the result of child-bearing.
Mommy Makeover is an umbrella term used to refer to a variety of procedure combinations designed to undo many the ravages experienced by a woman’s body due to the process of child-baring and child-rearing. The most common combination referred to as Mommy Makeover is the abdominoplasty performed the same time as a breast augmentation. Alternatively, abdominoplasty performed at the same time as a mastopexy (breast lift) is also a common form of Mommy Makeover. Finally, the third combination commonly dubbed a mommy make-over is the combination of an abdominoplasty with breast augmentation-mastopexy (breast implants with a breast lift). These three Mommy Makeover combinations are designed to address the two body regions most adversely impacted by being a mother, the breasts and the abdomen. These combinations are intended to simultaneously flatten the abdomen, compress the waist, and raise the breasts and/or make them fuller. It should also be noted that an abdominoplasty is a perfect opportunity to correct or improve the appearance of an unfavorable C-section scar. Please refer to the procedure specific text at other locations within this site for greater understanding of abdominoplasty and breast procedures.
It should be noted that not all mothers need an abdominoplasty but many may benefit from liposuction of the abdomen. Thus, liposuction to the abdomen in combination with one of the afore-mentioned breast procedures can also be considered a Mommy Makeover. It should also be mentioned that in mothers special attention often is needed to rejuvenate the pubic area and even the vaginal labia (lips). Special techniques for reducing the size of the pubic area and lifting it are employed during abdominoplasty to reduce the added fullness and sag. Alternatively, the labia in mothers, and even and non-mothers, can enlarge and lengthen resulting in discomfort (especially with sexual activity), itching, difficulty with hygiene, and even unsightly bulges seen in some tight clothing. A labiaplasty performed by itself or with a Mommy Makeover is a powerful technique to reduce labia bulk and length and rejuvenate the vaginal area.
One of the real highlights of the Mommy Makeover is the benefit of being able to have cosmetic improvements from two procedures with only one recovery. The overall length of recovery from a Mommy Makeover is not the length of recovery of two procedures added together. Quite the contrary, the recoveries overlap and thus it is as if there is only one recovery. The length and nature of the recovery is generally determined by the abdominoplasty, if performed, because that has the more involved and longer recovery. See the abdominoplasty section of this site for additional information pertaining to recovery from this procedure. Some patients are concerned about there being too much discomfort due to two procedures at once. However, my experience has been that this is not a significant issue. It is as if the discomfort from the two procedures overlaps as well. Think of it this way, there really is not a big difference between simply stubbing your toe and bumping your head while also stubbing your toe. Both experiences involve discomfort which is not really experienced as greater as or worse than when independent or combined.
Because a Mommy Makeover inherently involves two or more procedures, the combination increases surgical times. This important factor is always taken into account so as to create a patient experience that is characterized as safe. Attention to this a necessary component of a successful patient experience is always discussed with patients. Each patient is educated so they are empowered to be an active participant in this process.
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