The body adapts and changes in many amazing ways during pregnancy. Skin, muscles, and even internal organs shift and adapt to make room for a growing child. The skin stretches quickly and the stomach muscles separate to accommodate the extra bulk. While these changes are extraordinary, they can also be extremely distressing for a woman, as she simultaneously forms a new identity, takes on a host of new responsibilities, and copes with the changes to her body. In the past, mothers had no choice but to accept the stretch marks and sagging skin, but today, women can improve the remnants of pregnancy with a tummy tuck. However, many mothers are uncomfortable with their desire to regain some of their pre-pregnancy shape with a tummy tuck, feeling like it is selfish to do so. If you’re feeling this way, you’re not alone. But it is important to note that investing in your own confidence is no reason to feel selfish.
What is a Tummy Tuck?
A tummy tuck is a procedure used to contour and rejuvenate the stomach area after pregnancy or massive weight loss. While the tummy tuck procedure does address excess skin and fat of the stomach area, it also tightens and essentially resets the vertical stomach muscles that often separate during pregnancy. These muscles will typically not repair themselves, and surgical correction is the only way to get a tight tummy again for some postpartum women. A tummy tuck can help restore a tight, toned, and contoured midsection, as long as patients keep active following surgery to maintain results.
The procedure involves a long incision from hip to hip—a scar that can be blended into a C-section scar if present. The scar produced by the procedure can be hidden by most bikini bottoms. The surgery is performed under general anesthesia or local anesthesia and sedation, and the procedure may consist of a “mini” tuck or a full tummy tuck, depending on the amount of sagging skin and fat present. Following surgery, about 3-4 weeks of recovery are necessary before exercise can be resumed, though desk jobs can be returned to at about a week after the operation. Swelling and bruising will fade gradually, until the final results can be seen a few months later. The scar will fade to its final appearance by about a year after surgery.
Why Does a Tummy Tuck Sometimes Create Feelings of Guilt?
For many women, the idea of getting plastic surgery feels like a selfish desire. There is a pervasive idea in American culture that mothers should put aside all of their own needs and wants at all times in order to be good parents. However, this is not the case, and there should not be shaming of mothers who choose to do something for themselves. A tummy tuck may seem like a selfish idea, but it can have major emotional benefits and improve a woman’s mood once the results have finalized.
Emotional Benefits of the “Mommy Makeover”
Women often take a hit to self-esteem and confidence when they become mothers, due to simultaneous changes in physique and identity. A tummy tuck or “mommy makeover” (series of procedures to rejuvenate the post-partum body as needed) can help women regain some of their confidence and feel more like themselves again.
Benefits to the Entire Family
A happy mom is usually a better mom, and it benefits the whole family for mom to feel good about herself. Taking control of her own needs also sends a positive message to children. A tummy tuck, when done well, benefits everyone in the family in the long run.
Are You a Good Candidate?
If you’re thinking about a tummy tuck, then you’ll need to be sure you are a good candidate for the procedure. Patients considering the procedure should have excess skin and fat and/or stretched-out muscles in the abdomen, must be in good overall health, have a certain amount of skin elasticity, and have realistic expectations about the results of the procedure.
Women who consider a tummy tuck should wait to have the procedure performed until they have finished having children. Another pregnancy would not be dangerous following a tummy tuck, but it could very well ruin the results of the surgery. Aside from this, most women need to wait until their children are a few years old at least so they will have a bit more independence and it will be easier to focus on healing after the surgery.
Choosing the Right Surgeon
If you’re nervous about moving forward with the procedure, know that this is perfectly normal. To help ease your mind and set yourself up for success, you will need to choose a skilled, knowledgeable, experienced, and compassionate surgeon. While this may seem like a difficult task, choosing the right surgeon is essential to your eventual success.
Not sure where to start looking? Our talented staff of board certified plastic surgeons have decades of experience and offer tummy tuck surgery as well as other procedures popular with mothers. If you would like to discuss your goals for surgery with an expert, call 866-487-3223 today to schedule your complimentary consultation with us at Masri Clinic for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery in Birmingham or Dearborn, MI.