Do you have loose stomach skin or sagging breasts after having children? If so, you’re definitely not alone. Yet everyday, we hear the words “bounce back” used in reference to pregnancy and the post-baby body. But pregnancy can takes a huge toll on tummy skin, breast skin and body fat distribution. So in this blog, we discuss pregnancy’s effect on breast tissues and tummy skin and what some individuals choose to do about it from a surgical solution perspective.
Stretch or Sag – how your body handles changes after pregnancy is based on a combination of factors.
- Everything from your hormones to your psyche, to your bones, skin, core abdominal muscles, body fat, tendons and vaginal tissues, may have changed after having a child.
- Some changes to your body after pregnancy will be short-lasting; others will last a life time.
- It really depends on how your body responded to carrying and delivering a baby.
They key is to try to get fit again in a realistic way, and give it proper time, before you consider your surgical options for a Tummy Tuck or Breast Lift/Breast Augmentation or Reduction.
- Once you’re back at the gym, eating nutritiously and resting properly; you’ll likely reach a stable body mass index stable weight) around 6 to 24 months post-pregnancy.
- But this can vary from a few months to a few years – pregnancy is a BIG event and having children takes its toll on your body, exercise routines, lifestyle and physique.
- So assume the average fitness-recovery after pregnancy is 12 to 18 months on the short side and 2 to 3 years for many women or for women who’ve had multiple births or multiple pregnancies, difficult pregnancies or a lot of weight gain during the pregnancy.
At this stage of your post-pregnancy recovery, you’ll probably be familiar with whether or not your skin is going to tighten up or reduce any further; and what your abdominal area scars from having children are looking like over the longer term – stretch marks and/or c-section scars.
- Read more on C-section scars and how it normally takes 12 to 18 months for scars to settle (we also cover stretch marks).
Loose Tummy Skin and Sagging Breasts after Pregnancy? Pregnancy’s effect on breast tissues and belly skin.
- The term ‘bounce back‘ makes recovery and body restoration after pregnancy sound like a breeze.
- In reality, it’s anything BUT a breeze. Your belly area, pelvic region and vaginal skin, and your breasts all change dramatically after most pregnancies.
- Body changes during and after pregnancy can be even more profound after a second pregnancy OR after carrying a very large baby, twins or triplets.
So let’s look at pregnancy’s effect on breast tissues and your abdominal region, particularly your skin in your lower abdomen and your abdominal muscles (core ab muscle strength).
When is surgery a solution for post-pregnancy body complaints or health conditions such as redundant skin or urinary incontinence?
Every patient is unique. The first step for your body is to meet with your GP and/or a Plastic Surgeon for an assessment of your post-pregnancy skin complaints or abdominal area weakness.
But in general, you may want to research surgical option:
- When you have reached a stable weight and healthy lifestyle but still have body complaints or skin problems after pregnancy.
- When the excess skin concerns or sagging breasts and abdominal apron are compromising your quality of life, your emotional well-being, your comfort during intimacy and/or your physical health.
- When you have loose skin or sagging breasts that have led to chronic skin infections, health conditions and/or back, neck or shoulder pain.
- When you’ve reached your ideal post-baby body weight and a healthy, stable BMI, but still have excess redundant folds of skin that are causing you problems or concerns.
IN the post-pregnancy example below, the patient has what’s called an “abdominal apron” of loose, sagging skin below the naval and above the pubic area. No amount of exercise is going to tighten that skin or reduce that skin redundancy. For this patient to restore natural looking curves and abdominal area firmness, and attain a more defined waistline, surgery was required in the form of a Tummy Tuck/Abdominoplasty with Liposuction for added body contouring.
Post-Pregnancy Abdominal Skin and Abdominal Apron
- Overstretched, loose SKIN cannot be exercised away.
- If you have an abdominal apron after 12 months post-pregnancy, and are at a healthy stable weight, it is unlikely to change significantly in the future.
- Muscles can be strengthened – but redundant skin can only be mildly firmed with certain lasers – minimal amounts at best – OR surgically excised.
Even if you are thin everywhere else, sagging skin on the stomach/belly or abdomen will not suddenly tighten up or reduce itself.
Illustration of torn abs (diastasis recti) and the corrective process a full Tummy Tuck, which can have a strengthening, firming and flatting effect on your belly area while restoring normal abdominal area muscle functions pivotal to core muscle strength. Studies indicate appropriate surgery of the abdomen after pregnancy can help reduce chronic back pain after pregnancy, and improve urinary continence (reducing incontinence) in select patients.
But remember, surgery is serious and involves risks, and not everyone is a good candidate for surgery. Plus, results can vary from person to person and what you’re starting with DOES impact your surgery results. Other life events after surgery – such as weight changes or additional child-bearing – also have an impact on your results, and future surgery may be required.
Breast Lift or Breast Augmentation After Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Post-Pregnancy Breast Skin and Sagging Breasts, Deflated looking breasts or drooping nipples
- And sagging breasts after breast feeding, once several months have passed after weaning, aren’t likely to suddenly move back to where they once existed on your chest wall or upper torso.
- The only long-term solution tends to be a surgical one.
In the breast lift/mastopexy-augmentation surgical illustration below, the photographs reveal a breast lift and nipple reshaping combined with augmentation.
Is corrective Plastic Surgery to reduce loose tummy skin and uplift sagging breast tissues the answer?
- Not for everyone, no. And surgery is serious so should never be your FIRST attempt at regaining your pre-baby body contours, but more a ‘when all else hasn’t worked’ approach.
- But for some women, surgery is the one option that will actually help them regain a firmer, tighter and more uplifted physique – because as above, loose skin cannot be exercised away – it must be surgically reduced or excised (removed).
If you’re considering these procedures to regain your pre-baby contours, schedule an appointment for an assessment with our leading Plastic Surgeons in Melbourne (or Sydney or the Gold Coast) by phoning our Patient Care Team on 03 8849 1444 or
- But be sure you also read our Guides before you meet with one of the top Specialist Plastic Surgeons who performs “Mummy Makeover Surgery” nearby to you (ask a Patient Care Coordinator about appointments in Melbourne, Sydney or Gold Coast).
Note: our main Plastic Surgery location is in Melbourne but there are also top Sydney and Gold Coast location options for Plastic Surgery – phone us for contact information on (03) 8849 1444 or send an enquiry form today.
The Deflated Breast and Sagging Belly Skin
Topic: How to recognise when your breasts have changed to the point that a breast augmentation, breast lift or breast reduction is the most viable solution to effectively treating breast ptosis (deflated looking, sagging breasts or downward pointing nipples) or that you need belly area skin excision via a Tummy Tuck.
What is the Pregnancy effect on Breast Tissues and Belly Skin?
- Significantly breast and tummy skin, although normally resilient, can get stretched to the point skin elasticity is long gone after pregnancy and/or breast feeding.
- So what happens to breasts after pregnancy and breast feeding?
- Depending on your age, lifestyle, existing body fat distribution and your skin elasticity, if you’re like most women who give birth over the age of 25 or 30, you may find your:
- belly skin expands and doesn’t ‘contract’ back (over-stretched)
- abdominal muscles may split (torn abs) – known as diastasis recti
- your belly becomes more rounded and you still look potentially pregnant long after the birth
- your vaginal canal may feel lax or you may have a C-section scar
- overhanging belly skin is common – often spoken of by mums as a “bulging roll of fat” but it’s actually fat and redundant skin after pregnancy
- the breasts change – nipples may change in appearance or location, sometimes drooping downwards
- breasts look fuller or rounder during breast-feeding but a few months later, they may look deflated, sagging or like ’empty socks’
- stretch marks are common
Key complaints from women about their loose tummy skin and breasts after pregnancy are:
- breasts that once looked rounded in shape (or voluminous cleavage) now looks smaller, saggy and deflated after pregnancy or after breast feeding
- or alternatively, they expanded and are now heavier than ever before (leading you to think about a breast reduction)
- skin on breasts, belly and thighs or hips may be covered in stretch marks (difficult to treat but visit cocorubyskin.com.au for assistance and assessment)
- breasts after pregnancy appeared deflated, soft or saggy instead of firm and perky
- you no longer have a nicely-rounded breast shaped or nipples – they no longer sit uplifted on the chest wall as they did before your pregnancy
- your breast nipples drooped or changed in appearance (the nipple aerola complex – the NAC – can be changed during a breast lift, Mastopexy-Augmentation or a breast reduction)
- your skin seems more prone to excess sweating or frequent skin irritations and skin infections due to breast or tummy skin folding in on itself or over other skin (skin fold infections or chaffing)
- it’s difficult to find clothing you actually enjoy wearing and “feel comfortable in” – you prefer to hide your body in baggy clothing or dark lighting
The Breast Lift or Breast Reduction Option: Example of Breasts with ptosis and a breast reduction/nipple lift. All rights reserved.
Download the Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery GUIDES to understanding Breast Surgery and Tummy Tuck procedures by Plastic Surgery experts in post-pregnancy breast and tummy surgery – Melbourne or Sydney options.
Visit our Downloadable Guides pages
For more information about Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery options and research in Australia.
Key complaints about abdominal muscles and core strength after pregnancy:
- you believe you still look pregnancy even though it’s been over a year after pregnancy
- you have a “belly apron” – your belly skin or residual abdomen area fat and belly skin sags over your belt-line
- your waistline seems non-existent or OUTWARD looking instead of inwardly curved
- your upper torso has more fat and you now have side-rolls or back fat “rolls” of skin or skin folds
- your belly bulges more when you exercise or do crunches
- you lack core strength and feel weak in the lower back or abdomen (often due to diastasis recti)
- you still have back pain even after recovering from pregnancy and vaginal childbirth or a c-section
- you have some form of post-pregnancy bladder leaking (urinary incontinence)
- you feel more comfortable in baggy clothing than in form fitting clothing
- you feel embarrassed to be seen naked or in a swimsuit as your stomach looks so different to how it did before having children
- it’s difficult to buy form-fitting jeans or pants that still feel comfortable
Saggy skin or droopy breasts after pregnancy?
Surgical Options may be necessary to regain natural-looking body contours and re-define your abdomen or waistline and your breast curves and nipple location.
Ask for a consultation with one of our Surgery experts for the most popular Mummy Makeover Plastic Surgery procedures. Phone (03) 8849 1444.
Steps you can take after pregnancy to try to get your tummy skin and breasts and nipples back to where you like them to be.
- The first step is to allow time to heal and recover from pregnancy, and to get fit again.
- After 8 months to 15 months post-pregnancy, you should have a sense of what your body response to the pregnancy has been.
- If exercise and nutrition hasn’t solved your concerns, then it’s time for a consultation with a Plastic Surgeon (for breasts, you can visit with a Plastic Surgeon about a breast lift somewhere after 4 to 6 months after ceasing breast feeding/after weaning – some Surgeons suggest a bit longer but the average is about 6 months to 12 months and there are some RULES about Medicare rebates if you are wanting to correct breast ptosis).
When exercise and nutrition don’t work (and they won’t work on excess skin) – here are the potential Surgical solutions to excess skin and body changes due to pregnancy:
- If you’ve had children and consider yourself done with expanding your family, you may decide it’s now time to turn your attention back to yourself and your body shape and fitness levels.
- When you see other women who are in great shape (and many are at the pre-baby stage of life), they remind you of times in the past when you felt fit and firmer, too.
- Your body, in fact, may be one of your top “me time” priorities because you remember that you always felt your best when you were in shape and able to exercise freely (no belly apron or sagging breasts to get in the way of your fast-walking or running, your gym class, cycling, yoga or other exercise routines).
- So you’ll start researching Tummy Tuck procedures or Breast Augmentation using implants, Breast Lift surgery with or without implants, and Breast Reduction procedures along with Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) surgery options or a Belt Lipectomy.
- Only a consultation with a Plastic Surgeon can assess your best surgical options and help you understand the procedure including surgery planning, surgery risks, prices and costs, and recovery and healing time as well as scar management processes.
- Our Surgeons operate in genuine accredited private Hospitals (including St Vincents, Epworth, Masada and St John of God’s in Berwick) and use experienced Anaesthetists to improve patient-safety and patient care
- But all surgery has risks and you’ll need to be aware of these before consenting to surgery (these will be provided in a consultation and you’ll want to be sure you ask any and all questions of your Surgeon about his or her recommendations for procedures).
- A second opinion is also recommended and we have several independent expert Plastic Surgeons you can visit with.
Most Popular surgical Mummy Makeover procedures MUM’s take after pregnancy (click here to read the blog).
Do you know the difference between a Cosmetic Surgeon versus a Specialist Plastic Surgeon? Find out what they are.
Pregnancy Recovery – When Do Patients Recognise their Breasts or Abdomen and Tummy Skin Won’t ‘Bounce Back’ to resembling pre-pregnancy appearance?
You MAY be able to get your body curves back to closer to how they were before your kids came along.
And you really will have the best of both worlds when you get your body back to having body confidence with fewer skin folds and a more proportionate and firmer-looking physique.
Life without the kids would never be the same, and life without a great body would never be the same. Find out what your SURGICAL options are and what a skilled Plastic Surgeon can help you accomplish; but remember, results can vary from patient to patient and having a stable weight and healthy BMI are CRUCIAL components of a successful surgery result.
What are the signs that it’s really time to consider the option of plastic surgery now – and not waste more time waiting to see whether or not you can do it yourself?
There are signs that help women recognise it’s a belly area or breast SKIN PTOSIS problem or a torn abdominal-muscles or abdominal-hernia problem (not a weight problem).
If it is a skin related or torn abdominal muscle problem, then a Plastic Surgery solution may be the GO TO option – so long as you’re otherwise fit and healthy and at a stable weight. But remember, results can vary from patient to patient, there are risks and healing times to consider, and you’ll want to be as prepared for your surgery as possible – including maintaining a stable, healthy BMI (body mass index) – which simply means a healthy height-to-weight ratio.
The Top Signs That Your Breast or Tummy Skin Won’t Bounce Back
Here’s a list of 20 possible signs that your body has gone beyond the limit of you being able to restore your body by exercise and nutrition alone (but don’t let healthy lifestyle habits lapse – you’ll need them for a good surgery result):
10 Signs You May Need a Tummy Tuck
- The skin on your abdomen no longer firmly hugs your torso or your body contours, even though you are fit again and have lost your pregnancy weight.
- In fact, losing weight may have left your belly skin and breasts look even more saggy or droopy (Bad news: Skin doesn’t actually shrink or re-tighten much after it’s been over stretched for long periods of time)
- Your belly skin may fold over your C-section scar
- You may have skin rolls or belly bulges around your lower torso/abdomen area, even when you’re at a healthy weight for your height
- You have weak abdominal strength or weak core muscle strength and it hurts to exercise (chronic back pain) – read the update on Tummy Tuck research and incontinence and back pain
- Your pubic area, lower abdomen or hips are difficult to see without holding up your belly skin and bending forwards – EVEN when you’re at your ideal weight.
- Exercise seems to be doing little for your belly skin or sagging breasts (building pec muscles can help some women lift their breasts a tiny bit, but breasts are not overly muscular in composition – so there’s little most women can do for sagging breasts other than breast surgery OR helping to elevate them by wearing a good supportive bra (uplift or padded bra)
- You have stretch marks in your abdominal area (ask about DermaPen, SkinPen or Skin Needling; but stretch marks are notoriously difficult to treat so keep your expectations realistic)
- You don’t feel comfortable in clothing and you don’t feel comfortable exercising (your skin may flap or fall in places you rather it didn’t)
- You have chronic skin irritation in the skin folds and/or back pain and postural issues
10 Signs You May Need a Breast Surgery Procedure (Breast Lift or Augmentation or Breast Reduction)
- Your breasts have lost their shape
- Exercising your upper body at the gym doesn’t bring back the rounded shape of your breasts.
- You constantly wear a push up bra or heavy duty support bra to keep your breasts in place
- You no longer feel comfortable with the way your breasts look including in swimwear, revealing fashions or during moments of intimacy
- Your nipples point downward instead of forward or you have very asymmetrical breasts or nipples (uneven in size or shape)
- Your nipples and breast tissues have fallen below the halfway mark from between your shoulder and elbow – in other words, they rest downwards and fall below the inframmary fold (a fancy word for breast crease).
- Your breasts appear longer and look empty or deflated – the ’empty sock look’ – they make you look older than you actually are
- Your breasts are not symmetrical anymore or they fall in different directions and it’s far more obvious AFTER pregnancy than it was BEFORE
- You have inverted nipples and you want them corrected.
- You miss your pre-baby boobs and want to do something about getting them ‘back’ (such as a breast enlargement, breast lift or reduction)
Considering an after pregnancy makeover? Give us a call at our office today to schedule a consultation or fill out the contact form below and we’ll get back to you quickly. Or phone us during clinic hours on (03) 8849 1444.
Helping you plan your new you is what we’re good at!
And of course, delivering the best-practice care and surgery planning is another thing we’re great at. We value your well-being and we go the extra steps to keep you comfortable and relaxed about your procedure, with honest advice and recommendations and genuine FRACS Plastic Surgeons to serve your plastic and cosmetic surgery needs.
- Check out a bigger list of FAQ’s and information on the surgical process
- Attend a Monthly Patient Information Evening Event
- For more information about Pricing and Payment methods of your Surgery, please visit our page on Surgery Payments.
- You can also talk to a Patient Care Team to answer your questions from 8am-6pm Monday to Friday on (03) 8849 1444