The Mommy makeover: Getting your body back after baby

BY JENNIFER WALDEN 07.30.12 | 07:00 am

What gift would a new mom give herself after having children if she had the chance? One might guess a day at the spa, a new wardrobe, or maybe a weekly “date” with her personal trainer.  These are all appealing yet unsurprising things, but a recent survey shows that what a new mom really wants is plastic surgery.

A survey released from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) last year shows that if cost were not an issue, 62 percent of mothers said that they would consider a “mommy makeover” that includes procedures such as a tummy tuck, breast augmentation with implants and/or a breast lift.

According to these same statistics, the number of women getting “mommy makeover” procedures is on the rise. Women had nearly 112,000 tummy tucks in 2010, up 85 percent since 2000; 90,000 breast lifts, up 70 percent since 2000; and 296,000 breast augmentations, up 39 percent since 2000. I have found these trends to be right on the mark, as they are procedures I perform most often in my cosmetic surgery practice, Jennifer L. Walden, MD, PLLC, in Austin, Texas.

Before you gasp after reading the latest statistics, I’d like to take a step back here to give some background. This is the point in the article where some readers may infer that the rise in the number of cosmetic procedures is a terrible indicator that women feel pressured to change their bodies for someone else, and that our culture is too focused on that unattainable perfect female body image.

Many patients are asking for these procedures by name, largely because women now openly talk about having cosmetic work done. It’s more culturally acceptable than it was in previous generations, and it’s also more accessible.

I would like to set the record straight here to say that the majority of women seeking these procedures routinely are not doing it for a husband, partner or friend — they are doing it so they themselves can look and feel good again, the way they did in college.

Any woman who has had her abdominal muscles or “6-pack” irreparably stretched out by carrying a baby through gestation, or breasts completely deflated after breastfeeding would agree — so don’t knock it till you’ve tried it (pregnancy, that is. And… well, um, plastic surgery).

In the last decade women’s attitudes about cosmetic surgery have also changed. Today women are not afraid to admit that they love their children, but they wish their bodies looked the way they did before their first pregnancies. And they’re not afraid to acknowledge that they may need a little help beyond a healthy diet and exercise, as many of the physical changes brought about by pregnancy cannot be fixed by diet and exercise alone.

It would be unfair at this point to label the female of the species as being “selfish” for wanting surgery to restore her body back to the way it was before pregnancy and breast-feeding.  Getting mother nature back, yes. Selfish, no. Indeed,  how is it selfish to want your figure back after doing the most selfless thing in the world — becoming a mom? Motherhood in its purest form is, by the way, made up of sacrifice and love.

And the women seeking “mommy makeover” plastic surgery are younger than a decade ago.

In the past it was usually women in their 50s getting these procedures, but today it’s not uncommon to see young mothers in their late 20s, 30s, and early 40s coming in for cosmetic work. They don’t want to wait years to reestablish how they used to look and want their pre-baby bodies back now.

Many patients are asking for these procedures by name, largely because women now openly talk about having cosmetic work done. It’s more culturally acceptable than it was in previous generations, and it’s also more accessible.

So here we have a post-feminist wave of women making decisions for themselves about their own bodies, decisions that early feminists may not entirely agree with. That’s interesting, as the feminist movement was all about making personal decisions about our own bodies.

By the way, did you know Gloria Steinem had cosmetic surgery? I’ve always thought that spoke volumes without saying a word.  She’s an attractive woman (I saw her in a hopping midtown Manhattan eatery recently). The bottom line is, we all care about how we look on this particular planet, even though some don’t want to admit it.

So if you are thinking about getting anything done at all, it’s important to consider the following: plastic surgery techniques and technologies can now be used in an outpatient setting in a very safe and effective fashion, minimizing the amount of downtime, pain, and time away from work. This appeals to many patients.

If you are considering a “mommy makeover”, Dr. Jennifer Walden has these tips:

Wait at least six months to one year after having your last child to undergo “mommy makeover” procedures

Be specific about your post-baby body goals so that I can recommend the most appropriate procedures

To optimize the final outcome, if you are trying to lose weight, do so before undergoing “mommy makeover” procedures

Take a look at before and after photos of patients here who have similar body shape as yours, including height and weight, to get an idea of what to realistically expect given your anatomy.

4 Responses to “The Mommy makeover: Getting your body back after baby”

  1. Flory Says:

    Unfortunately the cost is still an issue for most women because otherwise I’m sure more than 60% of women will consider breast augmentation surgeries. Even the ones that don’t have a problem with the size of their breasts would like to give them another shape and off course the ones that have a nice shape usually are not happy with the size.
    Before I had my Toronto breast augmentation surgery at I had both problems:)) I have to say money were a problem at first but I decided I shouldn’t waste any more time and have it done.
    Needless to say the surgery made me and my husband:P very happy

  2. Miranda Says:

    Breast augmentation is worth it for those that need it.

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