A lot of concerns will flash across our minds when we think about getting pregnant, particularly if we find out we already are pregnant with a little surprise.
One thing which may not spring to mind for everyone, but is guaranteed to be on your mind if this applies to you is how the pregnancy is affected by a tummy tuck?
A tummy tuck can do wonders for a woman’s confidence following putting her body through a drastic and often difficult weight change.
This is a normal and common procedure that many women opt to have to restore their bodies to appearance, size and shape after giving birth or dramatic weight loss, but will it have an effect on her growing baby?
But what if months or years down the track you wanted to get pregnant after your tummy tuck, whether it’s for the first time or a subsequent pregnancy? What if you became pregnant by accident? What will happen to your body at this time? What will happen to your baby?
What is a Tummy Tuck?
As we mentioned already, this is a very common surgical procedure, during which your surgeon will work to improve the appearance of the anterior abdominal wall. Through this procedure excess skin and fat is removed and then linea alba is strengthened.
It is commonly undertaken to repair the look of a woman’s belly and abdomen after giving birth, after drastic weight loss or for other health reasons including when the abdominal muscles separate.
Can I Carry a Baby After a Tummy Tuck?
Yes, absolutely. The quick answer is both you and your baby should be absolutely fine and unaffected by your pre-existing tummy tuck.
You may feel some side effects of having had the surgery during gestation, and you may see some side effects afterward, which we will discuss in more detail below.
It is extremely common for women to become pregnant after a tummy tuck, and having had the procedure should pose no threat at all to the health of the mother or the baby.
According to plastic surgeons, there should be no reason as a result of the tummy tuck that the mother cannot carry the baby to term.
How Soon After?
It is not recommended that you deliberately put your body under this pressure, but you can get pregnant as soon as a few months after your tummy tuck.
You will be recovering from major surgery, so be as gentle on yourself and your personal expectations as you can.
Possible Complications During Pregnancy
Following a tummy tuck, a lot of mothers feel a bit uncomfortable as their womb stretches with their baby’s growth. This will depend on how tight your abdominal muscles are when you become pregnant.
You will feel tightening or pulling sensations as your tummy grows, but a great many mothers who haven’t had a tummy tuck will also feel that.
During every pregnancy, the skin of the anterior abdominal wall gradually stretches in all directions, making room for all of your internal organs and reducing the severity of stretch marks.
After a tummy tuck, you have less skin on your abdominal wall meaning that you may have an increased chance of stretch marks. The scar from your tummy tuck surgery may also be affected and can move or change.
Your internal organs may be under a little more stress because of the reduced give of the abdominal wall causing things such as heartburn, increased need to pee and greater chance of accidental peeing, and increased constipation.
This shouldn’t put your baby in any danger or discomfort. Your stomach may not pop out as much as you were expecting, but again your baby will still have all the room he needs to stretch and grow and kick you a lot.
C-Section or Natural Labor?
Either is fine. You can give birth the way you want to and the way you need to for any medical reasons.
Operating on a C-section after a tummy tuck is very similar to operating on a subsequent C-section; it just means that your surgeon needs to be aware of dealing with any scar tissue from a previous procedure.
In a lot of cases, if the C-section is planned, your plastic surgeon can also be present at the birth to ensure the appearance of your tummy tuck is preserved.
Will My Tummy Tuck Survive the Pregnancy?
The vast majority of tummy tucks should still hold their shape and loveliness after the baby has been born and the mother loses the baby weight again. It is rare that touch-up surgery will be needed but it is possible. It can depend on a number of factors:
- It depends on how much muscle was operated on during the tummy tuck procedure.
- If you gain excess weight during the pregnancy, this may affect how your tummy tuck looks after the birth.
It is always advised that you watch your weight gain when you are pregnant anyway, but this is more important if you want to perfectly preserve your tummy tuck after pregnancy. For any pregnancy, it is not recommended that you gain more than 25-35 lbs (11-16 kg).
- There may also be the presence of new stretch marks after having the baby that now change the appearance of your tummy tuck; you may require a touch-up for this reason.
When you realize that you are expecting, you should talk to your plastic surgeon and your obstetrician to work out if there’s anything you need to be concerned about or pay attention to during the pregnancy.
Is It Okay to Get a Tummy Tuck First?
According to plastic surgeons, it makes more sense practically and financially to delay your tummy tuck until after you’re completely done having babies.
This is not because you won’t be able to carry to term or give birth, but because it is unknown what your tummy will look like when it’s all done, and you may find yourself wanting touch-up surgery.
Carrying a baby affects people’s stomachs in all sorts of ways that can’t completely be predicted. If possible, you may wish to put off a tummy tuck until your tummy is done with all its hard work, and then get the procedure to make it look exactly as you wanted.
This is one very good reason why you may not wish to go with the cheapest plastic surgery you can source when considering having a tummy tuck. It is a case of you will get what you pay for.
Your baby will not be affected either way, but the appearance of your body after having the baby certainly might be.
If you are thinking of becoming pregnant at some stage down the track, make sure you talk to your plastic surgeon about this when planning your tummy tuck procedure.
She can take this into consideration when undertaking muscle repair, and make allowances for your body to stretch to accommodate a growing baby should it need to.