You are a gladiator!! Like Kerry Washington (Miss Olivia Pope) and her other celebrity friends Megan Fox, Ciara, Kim Kardashian and of course her Royal Highness Duchess Kate (all new moms) you have been through the battle and come out victorious on the other side. You have definitely earned each and every one of those “tiger stripes” required to carry a child through pregnancy and then nourish and care for them afterwards. Although you would never change one moment of motherhood, many of you may be unhappy with some of the differences in your new post-baby body. You are not alone, many women experience deflation, sagging or enlargement of their previously perky breasts, and excess abdominal fat and skin over that previously flat abdomen. 2012 statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgery (ASPS) show an increase in breast augmentation, tummy tucks, and liposuction among “mom-aged” women, with very high satisfaction rates for the results.
A few of my patients remarked on the frustration they feel about hours spent in the gym without being able to change those problem areas.
They wonder how Duchess Kate and Kim Kardashian are able to get back into shape so quickly. Well first of all don’t beat yourself up. Though there are many things that can be addressed with exercise and a good diet, not everything can be. Also, do not forget that most celebrities have a big team behind them to help them to reach their goals. So, how can you restore that firmer more sculpted shape that you had pre-pregnancy? Here are some steps to reaching that goal.
1. Avoid excessive weight gain during pregnancy. If you are planning another pregnancy remember that “eating for two” does not mean eating twice as much. Expert Dr. Kiwita Phillips, OB/Gyn at Morehouse School of Medicine explains that women only need an additional 300 calories (size of a small sandwich) a day to keep themselves and baby healthy during pregnancy. She advises patients based upon the Institute of Medicine (IOM) guidelines. According to the IOM most normal weight women should not gain more than 25lbs, women who are severely underweight may need to gain up to 40lbs, and obese women no more than 20lbs. Dr. Phillips cautions that women who are morbidly obese (BMI < 40) may not need to gain any weight at all.
2. Breast feed. Some studies show that breastfeeding can help to reduce post-pregnancy weight as it burns 300-500cal a day. Long term weight loss and reduction of fat in the mid-section has been noted for women who are able to breastfeed for greater than 6 months.
3. Maintain a healthy diet and exercise. This one is a no-brainer, you already know this. Eating healthy is good for you and for the baby. Lots of vegetables, fruits and water are important. Stay away from processed foods. There is no substitute for the health benefits of regular exercise; at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week is recommended, check out Bikini Body Mommy for some great tips.
4. The Mommy Makeover. The Mommy Makeover refers to a combination of plastic surgery procedures that are individualized and tailored to restore and rejuvenate the body after pregnancy. For most women this includes a procedure on the breasts and the abdomen but can include other areas as well. If you are planning additional pregnancies it is recommended that you wait before doing these procedures.
Breast Lift, Breast Augmentation & Breast Reduction
Women see a variety of breast changes after pregnancy. For some women volume loss is the problem, their breasts have deflated after breastfeeding and they require a breast augmentation using implants. The breast engorgement during breastfeeding can stretch the skin and leave the breasts sagging. For women who experience this problem a breast lift may be an excellent solution. For women for whom both volume loss and sagging are a concern a combination of breast lift and augmentation may be the best option. Finally, some women experience significant breast enlargement after pregnancy and a breast reduction is a excellent way alleviate the neck, shoulder, back pain caused by the extra weight while simultaneously lifting the breasts.
Tummy Tuck & Liposuction
Many women are most frustrated by the excess fat and stretched out skin around their midsection. It seems like all the hours spent at the gym trying a plethora of core exercises just doesn’t seem to touch this area. Unfortunately there really are some changes post-pregnancy that the gym cannot fix. In spite of attaining a healthy weight women may still notice some stubborn fat deposits on the lower abdomen and love handles. Many women also develop a rectus diastasis after pregnancy.
A rectus diastasis occurs when connection between the two rectus abdominus muscles (six-pack muscles) actually stretches out causing the abdomen to protrude. Liposuction is a great option to target those areas of excess fat. A tummy tuck tightens the stretched out abdominal wall internally bringing the rectus muscles back together, and removes the extra skin and fat hanging over the lower abdomen.
Every woman’s body is unique and has different needs. Your plastic surgeon can help advise you about which options are best for you. The good news is that you can have it all, all the joys of motherhood and the more sculpted shape that you had pre-pregnancy.