Having a baby has to be one of the most fulfilling and exciting times of life, but despite good diet and exercise, potions and lotions, our bodies don’t always “bounce back” to their former glory. Cuddling your bundle of joy makes up for it to a large extent, but you might feel a little wistful when you look at yourself in the mirror.

You might even lose your body confidence altogether. Could a mommy makeover be the answer you’re looking for?

What is a Mommy Makeover?

A mommy makeover is not a single procedure. Instead, cosmetic surgeons will suggest a number of procedures that will address the issues that often make women feel self-conscious about their bodies after giving birth. Just what these will be will depend on a patient's individual circumstances, but broadly speaking, mommy makeovers include some combination of the following options:

  • A tummy tuck or abdominoplasty to do away with loose, sagging skin on your belly.
  • A breast lift to restore sagging breasts. Sometimes, this is combined with breast augmentation or breast reduction.
  • Liposuction to remove stubborn fat deposits that just won’t go away after baby’s arrival.
  • Microneedling or laser treatments to reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
  • Chemical peels to get rid of pigment blotches that often appear owing to pregnancy-related hormonal changes.
  • Some women also choose vaginoplasty to repair loosening of the vagina after natural childbirth.

If this looks like a whole lot of treatments to you, relax! You probably won’t have all of them done. Your surgeon will give you advice based on the post-pregnancy issues that bother you most. Of these procedures, the two that most moms choose are the breast lift and the tummy tuck. (Read Your Guide to Recovering from a Tummy Tuck.)

The procedures can be carried out simultaneously, or the patient might decide to have them done separately.

When to Consider a Mommy Makeover

Although new moms might initially be shocked by loose skin, sagging and bulging following childbirth, doctors warn that they shouldn’t rush to get a mommy makeover. The body needs at least six months to recover from pregnancy, and it’s entirely possible that you’ll get your figure and skin tone back. Healthy diet and exercise are big helpers, and a lot of women get their pre-baby body back the natural way.

However, every mom is different, and some of us will ultimately have to choose between living with post-pregnancy wear and tear and a mommy makeover. If there’s still lots of loose skin and sagging of the belly and breasts after the six-month window, you could consider having a mommy makeover done.

Don’t think it’s a magic bullet that guarantees you a perfect body, though. Most doctors agree that you need to be very near your ideal weight to get good results. Mommy makeovers aren’t about weight loss – even though you might opt for a little liposuction to sculpt your curves. (Learn more in CoolSculpting Vs. Liposuction: Which Procedure is Right For You?)

If you’re considering adding another baby to the family, you might want to delay your mommy makeover a little longer. Although mommy makeover procedures won’t prevent a healthy pregnancy, you might well end up at square one again after the arrival of baby number two.

And apart from having the potential to undo the improvements you’ll see after your mommy makeover, it’s worth remembering that some women find themselves unable to breastfeed after breast lift surgery.

Breasts and Tummy, the Big Two for Mommy Makeovers

As we’ve noted, a mommy makeover can consist of a whole lot of procedures, but breast surgery and tummy tucks take the top two places. Why are moms turning to these two procedures, and what do they consist of?

Stretched skin, sagging breasts, and a reduction in breast size are common problems for women who aren’t lucky enough to regain their pre-baby figures. In worst-case scenarios, the nipple can even become obscured in the fold beneath the breasts. While a good bra and discreet clothing can cover up the issue, many women find that the loss of confidence they experience affects their physical relationship with their partners.

Breast lift surgery (mastopexy) will result in some scarring, but a skilled cosmetic surgeon will place incisions where they’re least noticeable. Reshaping the breasts involves an incision around the nipple, and if need be, the nipple can even be moved.

From this incision, a second one will often be made vertically, toward the bottom of the breast. It’s known as a “lollipop” incision. If the lift is to be accompanied by breast enlargement or reduction, the surgeon will make another incision in the fold beneath the breast. At first, the scars will be very obvious, but with good aftercare, they will fade in time.

A full tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, removes excess skin from the abdominal area. For this procedure, the surgeon makes a hip-to-hip incision. If you want a little extra sculpting, your surgeon might suggest liposuction to remove excess fat, but you should expect the difference liposuction makes to be subtle rather than dramatic.

Non-Surgical Mommy Makeover Techniques

Although there are no non-surgical techniques that get rid of loose tummy skin or lift the breasts, moms who are bothered by stretch marks or skin pigmentation spots can get their issues sorted out without resorting to surgery. A cosmetic surgeon or dermatologist can help to reduce or even remove stretch marks and pigmentation spots using laser treatments or chemical peels. (Read Your Ultimate Guide to Chemical Peels.)

Stretch marks are caused by the skin being stretched too fast during pregnancy. The underlying collagen breaks and the only real cure is to encourage collagen production. Although various creams claim to be effective, the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery says that laser treatments are the only scientifically proven treatment available.

It’s not a quick fix, however. You will need to go for a course of treatments, and although laser treatments promote collagen regrowth, it may take some time for you to see the results.

Melasma, dark pigment blotches that develop during pregnancy, can also be faded out with a series of laser treatments. Chemical peels are preferred by some dermatologists when treating this condition.

Although these non-surgical interventions don’t constitute a full mommy makeover, they can be part of one. And for moms who have decided to wait till after their family is complete, they aren’t interventions that have to wait for the last baby to arrive.

Consult a Cosmetic Surgeon

Mommy makeovers may sound like a new trend, and the press often reports on them as if they were, but they’re really just a collection of plastic surgery and dermatology techniques that address the concerns of women who want to restore their bodies after having kids.

If you’d like to know what the implications of a mommy makeover will be, what you can expect, and what your recovery time will be, you should consult a cosmetic surgeon to get the details that would apply to you. Surgery means that you will need time off to recover, and how long that time will be depends on the procedures you choose.

A consultation with a doctor will answer your questions and help you to make an informed decision.