Post Pregnancy Tummy Tucks: How long do I wait?

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Post Pregnancy Tummy Tucks: How long do I wait?

By Michael L. Thornton DO FACOS
Mansfield Cosmetic Surgery Center

Pregnancy is an amazing life experience.  However, it undoubtedly takes its toll on the female body’s appearance. Namely, stretching of the skin and loosening of the abdominal muscles beyond limits of natural repair.
During pregnancy women may develop a condition known as diastasis recti, or abdominal muscle separation, which is characterized by a visible separation or gap between the midline abdominal muscles. Another dreaded side effect of pregnancy is the development of stretch marks, which affects the majority of pregnant women.

Unfortunately, losing “baby” weight and performing core abdominal exercises following childbirth may not be enough to restore your body’s appearance back to its pre-pregnancy state. Women work out religiously at the gym and resort to restrictive diets, and despite these efforts, a stubborn plateau is often reached.  So, how does a women confidentially wear a bikini ever again?  For the unfortunate few, the regrettable answer is “never” and they fall into deep spiral of unyielding body complacency…

On the contrary, undergoing an abdominoplasty may be the better answer, as during the mommy makeover tummy tuck procedure, your overly-stretched skin is permanently removed and your midline abdominal muscles are tightened.  Following surgery, your tummy becomes flatter, smoother, and ready to show off in your favorite summer swim wear!  There are varying degrees of tummy tucks (mini tummy tuck vs. traditional tummytuck vs. lipo-abdominoplasty) and it all depends on the amount of underlying fat, loose skin, stretch marks, previous abdominal scars, as well as the laxity of the underlying abdominal muscles.  You can read more about the different kinds of tummy tucks on my website.
How Long Should You Wait? 
In my opinion, waiting at least six months after childbirth is more than fair and practical when considering a tummy tuck following pregnancy.  That’s plenty of time for your body to naturally restore to its pre-pregnancy shape.  First and foremost, you need to lose most–if not all–of your “baby” weight before considering a tummy tuck and achieve a goal body-mass-index (BMI) of at least 30 or below. A BMI level of 30 or below will provide you with the highest safety profile and the lowest risk of developing post-operative complications.  Another point I commonly provide is that you must be completely finished with future family planning. In other words, it is not sensible to pursue a tummy tuck procedure if you want to get pregnant again.  I ask this question to everyone I perform a tummy tuck and either the female or her male partner has undergone some form of permanent sterilization.
Lastly, having a tummy tuck procedure shortly after giving birth or simultaneously at the time of a c-section is contraindicated and rarely performed for obvious reasons.  The immediate post-partum period is for being with your new baby…not recovering from a tummy tuck!  Furthermore, your skin remains stretched and flaccid, your uterus remains enlarged, and your body clearly has too much water-weight and pregnancy induced adiposity.
Cosmetic surgery consultations with Dr. Michael Thornton for clients from Mansfield, Arlington, or the Dallas Fort Worth area for post pregnancy abdominoplasty or mini tummy tucks are complimentary.  For more information about tummy tucks or to schedule an appointment, please call us at 817-477-9000.