Motherhood is a beautiful thing.
The ability to have children is a true gift, and also a huge milestone in life. Nine months of pregnancy is a priceless time where a mother forms a bond with her child as it grows in her belly, but unfortunately, it also takes a huge toll on the body.
Immediately after pregnancy, a woman’s body goes into overdrive, trying to lose the baby weight, and shrink back to normal. While the body naturally sheds quite a bit of pregnancy pounds, it can take up to a year or more to get back to your pre-baby weight.
Going back to your old body, however, is a completely different story, and much harder than it appears to be.
Redbook magazine writer, Hallie Levine, was a long time athlete, who regularly participated in marathons and triathlons. Naturally, due to all that exercise, Levine was in great shape, washboard abs and all.
After her second baby (a 10-pound boy), Levine suffered from diastasis (separated stomach muscles), which is a common problem many women face after giving birth.
No matter what she tried, she couldn’t get her belly to shrink. She said she looked 5-months pregnant, even after losing all of her pregnancy weight. Levine went to her ob/gyn and begged for a solution to get rid of her self-proclaimed “Buddha belly”.
He told her, “If it bothers you, just don’t look in the mirror.”
Instead of avoiding mirrors for the rest of her life, Levine took matters into her own hands, did some research on the Internet, and discovered the Mommy-tuck, a tummy tuck marketed especially towards women who’ve had babies.
She was surprised to see that like her, an incredible number of young mothers were unhappy with their post-baby bodies, and turned to plastic surgery to get back to the way they used to be.
According to Levine’s research, the number of tummy tuck procedures in the United States has increased a whopping 88.7 percent from 2000 to 2009.
Seattle-based plastic surgeon and member of the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons, Phil Haeck, MD, told Redbook, “Ten years ago, we were doing these procedures on postmenopausal women. Now, the average woman having a tummy tuck in my practice is a young mom under the age of 35, with two small children. She feels that she gave up a lot with changes in her body during and post-pregnancy, and she doesn’t want to wait years to reestablish how she used to look. She wants her pre-baby body back now.”
A tummy tuck is a serious plastic surgery procedure, one not to be taken lightly. With other cosmetic surgeries like liposuction, patients generally experience a short recovery time, but a tummy tuck will put you out for about two weeks.
Along with common surgical risks that include some pain, loss of sensation in the surgical area, and risks for blood clots, a tummy tuck still isn’t guaranteed to erase all of your problems.
Plastic surgeon Robert Grant, MD, told the magazine, “"I'm upfront with all my patients: I tell them this surgery won't give them back the stomach they had at age 18. They'll still have a scar, which usually goes from their hipbone at the top of the pubic area to the other hipbone. We can make it low enough that a woman can hide it with a pair of bikini bottoms, but it's still there."
To complete the full Mommy Makeover, many women pair a tummy tuck with a breast lift (some with breast implants), vaginoplasty and liposuction too. These four plastic surgery procedures pretty much cover it all when it comes to rebuilding a woman’s pre-baby body.
As for Levine, she became pregnant again, and is required to have surgery for a hernia right after giving birth. While she’s tempted to undergo a simultaneous tummy tuck procedure, Levine still isn’t totally sure about taking a leap towards plastic surgery.
She wrote, “My husband tells me that he loves me no matter what my belly looks like. He says he thinks I’m beautiful, but he’ll support me whatever I choose to do. And given all I’ve learned, the mommy-tuck decision is not one I’ll make lightly.”
To learn more about tummy tuck and other Mommy Makeover plastic surgery procedures, contact a plastic surgeon in your area.
The information on this site is not a substitute for diagnosis or treatment from a licensed medical practitioner. If you are experiencing a serious medical condition call your local emergency services or your doctor.