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I Just Had a Baby: When Can I Get Abdominoplasty?

You know you’ll have weight to lose after having a baby and that it’ll take some time. But then months go by and no matter how well you stick with your diet and exercise plan, you just can regain your slim, pre-pregnancy tummy.

It’s incredibly frustrating when you can’t tighten and tone your abdomen after pregnancy, but it’s not your fault. Pregnancy can change your abdomen in ways that can’t be fixed with weight loss or getting obsessive about doing crunches.

Don’t give up. The solution is abdominoplasty, better known as a tummy tuck, which removes loose skin, repairs weak muscles, and eliminates small areas of stubborn fat.

At Plastic Surgery Specialists of Boca Raton, exceptional plastic surgeon Rafael C. Cabrera, MD, FACS, has years of experience performing tummy tucks that create shapely, well-toned abdomens. Here, he explores the changes that occur during pregnancy and the variables that determine how soon you can have a tummy tuck after delivering your baby.

How pregnancy affects your waist

Some women regain their pre-pregnancy body in a short time with little to no effort. Others struggle for months (or years) and can’t regain a flat, firm abdomen.

You can even be thin or at your desired weight and end up with love handles after pregnancy. So, what gives? Here are a few reasons you can’t improve your tummy.

Pregnancy hormones

Pregnancy hormones can make your body develop new deposits of stubborn fat that don’t respond to diet and exercise. This extra fat leads to a muffin top or love handles even after you return to your healthy weight.

Loose skin

After having your baby, your skin may retain its elasticity and retract back to its normal pre-pregnancy tightness. Or the skin’s tissues may be stretched beyond their limit, damaging collagen and other supporting tissues. As a result, your skin loses elasticity, and it can’t retract.

Damaged muscles

Pregnancy stretches your muscles and can tear the tissues running down the center of your abdomen. Then you end up with a protruding stomach pouch even if you’re thin because the muscles aren’t strong enough to support your abdomen. 

No amount of exercise improves damaged muscles or stretched skin. We repair both when you have a tummy tuck.

Deciding when to have an abdominoplasty

There aren’t any hard-and-fast rules about when you can have an abdominoplasty after delivery, but these three guidelines can help you decide:

1. Give your body time to heal

Pregnancy and delivery have a tremendous impact on your physical health, and your body needs time to fully recover. You won’t know for sure if you’ll lose the fat or your skin will tighten unless you give your body time to return to its pre-pregnancy state.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons recommends waiting at least six months after having your baby before getting abdominoplasty. It could take a year or longer for some women to heal.

You don’t need to guess about whether your skin, muscles, and body are ready for surgery. We can give you personalized guidelines after examining your abdomen.

2. Reach your healthy weight

Losing or gaining weight after abdominoplasty will effectively reverse the changes made during your surgery, and you could need another surgery to restore your tummy. It’s best to be close to your ideal weight — one that you can sustain.

In addition, abdominoplasty is not a weight loss procedure. We remove small pockets of stubborn fat, but we don’t eliminate substantial abdominal fat during a tummy tuck.

3. Plan your family

You may want to postpone a tummy tuck if you plan to have more children, especially if you expect to get pregnant again in the next year or two. A future pregnancy will significantly compromise or completely reverse the results of your abdominoplasty.

If you’re not sure about your family plans, or you don’t want to postpone abdominoplasty, we can do a tummy tuck now and then perform a second procedure after you deliver children in the future. 

The best way to learn if it’s safe to have abdominoplasty is to schedule a consultation. Call Plastic Surgery Specialists of Boca Raton today or request an appointment online.

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