For women considering a cosmetic procedure such as a breast augmentation or abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), the effects of any future pregnancy are often a concern.
Will it interfere with the ability to become pregnant, carry a child or breastfeed? Will a pregnancy after cosmetic surgery undo the surgeon’s work or lead to unwanted aesthetic results?
To help you decide whether now is the right time for your cosmetic procedure, or whether you’d be best to wait until after completing your family, we list the key points to consider:
Pregnancy After Breast Enlargement
Many women in their 20s wish to have breast implants, often before they’ve met a long term partner or thought about starting a family. Although it may seem a little way off, you’ll probably still want to know what happens when/if you do become pregnant.
The good news is that a breast enlargement, if carefully carried out, should not affect your ability to breastfeed. It is important to discuss with your surgeon your plans for breastfeeding in the future, so he or she can advise on the implantation method that will have the least impact on the milk ducts – this will influence the incision site and the placement of the implants on the chest (under or above the muscle).
Because nipple sensitivity can take 6-18 months to return after a breast enlargement, it is advisable to wait a year or two after surgery before becoming pregnant. This will also enable scars and scar tissue time to fully heal.
Another concern is the affect pregnancy will have on the appearance of the breast implants, and this is something that varies widely from woman to woman.
During pregnancy the breast becomes engorged with milk, which often stretches the skin. When a woman’s milk dries up (whether she chooses to breastfeed or not) the gland shrinks and sometimes breasts will have less volume than they did pre-pregnancy.
This decrease in volume, combined with slacker skin can result in sagging for some women. While the breast implant stays in position, the breast may sag down off of the implant. If this happens, further surgery will be needed to correct the issue.
However, many women experience no marked change to the appearance of their breast implants after pregnancy and some even report to being happier with the appearance, since the stretching of the tissue can leave them looking more natural.
Pregnancy After Breast Reduction
Pregnancy can change your breasts in completely unpredictable ways – regardless of whether you breastfeed or not. It is not possible to say with certainty what would happen to the results of a breast reduction post-pregnancy.
There is a chance breasts will be increased in size after pregnancy and also experience some sagging. However, changes can be minimised by controlling weight gain during pregnancy (following the advice of your doctor) and by always wearing a supportive bra.
If you are planning on becoming pregnant in the imminent future, it is certainly advisable to wait before having breast reduction surgery to prevent the possibility of having to undergo a revision.
If you do decide to go ahead, let your surgeon know you may wish to breastfeed so he or she can tailor the surgery to increase your chances of being able to do so.
Pregnancy After Breast Uplift
Pregnancy causes the breasts to temporarily swell – the extent to which your breasts increase in size and the speed at which they do so will affect the laxity of your skin once milk production has ceased and the breasts deflate.
In all likelihood your breasts will experience some changes and sagging is a risk. These issues can be corrected with a second breast lift (sometimes combined with implants), but if you are planning on becoming pregnant within a couple of years, it’s probably best to wait.
Most breast lift techniques preserve the ducts and glands meaning breastfeeding should still be possible, but always advise your surgeon of your plans.
Pregnancy After Tummy Tuck
Patients considering a tummy tuck often wish to know if it will impair their ability to become pregnant, carry a baby or give birth in the future. The answer to all of these questions is no, there is no danger to the baby and you will have a normal pregnancy. However, it is advisable to wait until you are fully healed; around 4-6 months after.
In terms of the aesthetic effects, pregnancy will stretch out the skin and muscle of your abdomen and you may experience some recurrent laxity.
Some women who have had tummy tucks are perfectly happy with their appearance post-pregnancy. If you are not, corrective surgery can be performed, which may well be shorter and less complex than your original operation.
Your decision to have a tummy tuck should be based on how soon you expect to become pregnant. If it won’t be for another 5+ years, then enjoying the aesthetic improvement now may well be worth it. On the other hand, if it’s likely to be in the next couple of years it makes sense to wait.