Learn about common changes to your body post-pregnancy, and remedies to safely correct and restore your body contour!

Having a baby is a momentous and joyous occasion for everyone! As we all know, pregnancy often leaves some undesirable changes in the feminine form. Do you know that there are many mothers who are able to enjoy motherhood without the stigmata of a post-pregnancy body?

Consultant Plastic Surgeon Dr Matthew Yeo, notes that one of the most common signs after pregnancy is that of an abdominal bulge, which may be accompanied by excess skin and stretch marks in the lower and sometimes upper abdomen. This abdominal bulge may persist even if mothers have a healthy diet, do regular exercise and return to their original pre-pregnancy weight. 

Pregnancy causes stretching of the abdominal wall and causes the two muscles in the front of the abdomen to move sideways. Following childbirth, the muscles may not return to the midline, and manifests as a central bulge, a condition known as rectus diastasis. The abdominal skin does not completely retract, thereby leaving varying degrees of skin excess and stretch marks that are most obvious in the lower abdomen.  Many mummies find that they are no longer able to fit into their favorite pre-pregnancy clothes.  However, mummies, fret not! Restoration of the abdominal form can be reliably achieved with tummy tuck surgery, or abdominoplasty, in which the abdominal muscles are tightened back to the midline and the excess skin removed, through a well-concealed lower abdominal scar.

“Following childbirth, the muscles may not return to the midline, and manifests as a central bulge, a condition known as rectus diastasis.”

The breasts also undergo changes following pregnancy. The breast glands enlarge for purposes of nursing the newborn child, and the areolae become larger and darker. After cessation of breastfeeding, mummies may find that their breasts remain disproportionately large, or they may shrink and sag.  Various minor surgical procedures are available to lift the breast (mastopexy), remove excess skin, alter the breast volume and reduce the size of the areola.

Weight gain during pregnancy also commonly causes fat deposition in the arms.  After delivery, loss of fat results in loose skin folds, commonly known as "batwing" arms. A simple remedy is arm lift surgery (brachioplasty) and liposuction, a minor surgical procedure that reliably restores one’s arm contours through small and well-concealed incisions. 

Collectively, these procedures are popularly known as mummy makeover procedures and they seek to restore, and sometimes enhance, a mother's form, femininity and confidence. Dr Yeo is an experienced plastic surgeon and assures mummies that these procedures are safe, effective and have a short recovery time.

Mummies, you can still look good while having bubba in tow at your local grocery store!

FAQs for mummy makeovers

Who’s suitable?

Mummy makeovers are generally done no earlier than 3 months post-delivery. This allows the loose abdominal tissue to settle and shrink, and will have an impact on the final scar length.

If you’re taking oral contraception or have a history of deep vein thrombosis, you should notify your plastic surgeon prior to surgery. These are risk factors for postoperative thrombosis of the leg veins. 

What should I take note of before and after surgery?

Your ability to breastfeed and the process of breastfeeding will not be affected by tummy tucks. However, if you wish to do breast lift surgery at the time you do a tummy tuck, you are advised to stop breastfeeding at least a week before. This is to prevent formation of milk cysts (galactoceles) after surgery. The breast wounds also take 2 to 3 weeks to heal and it’s not advisable to nurse infants when wounds are present.

After a tummy tuck, you are advised to avoid carrying heavy loads for the first 6 weeks.

How much does it cost?

There are several components that make up the cost of a surgery. This includes the professional surgeon, anaesthetist, surgical assistant, facility as well as inpatient ward fees (if admission is required). The professional surgeon and anaesthetist fees cover the cost of their expertise during the surgery as well as the immediate postoperative period. Professional fees vary depending on the complexity of each case and expertise of the specialist (both anaesthetist and surgeon). 

A surgical assistant is also often brought into the operating room to assist and facilitate the surgery, expediting its completion and reducing the overall operating time and facility fee. The facility fee covers the use of the operating room and basic equipment required for surgery. The cost is higher for longer and more complicated surgeries.

For more information, please call Thomson Surgical Centre at 6846-6766 or e-mail surgicalcentre@thomsonmedical.com.