Cosmetic Surgery Tips

When can i get a tummy tuck after pregnancy

Pregnancy is one of the most defining times in the lives of both expecting parents. Amidst the excitement of picking out names and clothes and nursery furniture, it is natural to experience a moderate amount of stress. You worry about eating right, staying healthy, maintaining a safe exercise routine, and whether or not you will be the parent you hope to be.

Many women are also concerned about how their bodies will change, especially how their tummy may look after being stretched to accommodate a growing baby. After carrying a baby for nine months, changes to your body are inevitable. The skin around your stomach may stretch and loosen and abdominal muscles may separate and weaken.

Getting A Tummy Tuck After Pregnancy

Immediately after pregnancy, your body is performing an invisible magic dance to restore the uterus to its normal size and location, produce milk to feed the baby and restore its usual hormonal cycles. You should allow yourself the time to completely recover from pregnancy and lose any extra weight you may have gained. Since vigorous exercise is not recommended immediately after giving birth, you may need to ease back into your exercise routine.

You can’t undergo anesthesia and take medications while breastfeeding. Breastfeeding keeps your hormone levels higher than normal and your body will not completely return to its normal function until after you have stopped nursing. Because of this, you will have to wait until you’re done breastfeeding to get a tummy tuck procedure.

A tummy tuck is a surgery that requires its own recovery time, and you want to ensure that your body is as strong and healthy as possible for optimum results. The general consensus in the medical community is that a woman should wait a minimum of three months after having a baby before having a tummy tuck procedure.

While diet and exercise play an important role in getting your body back after pregnancy, a postpartum tummy tuck is an optimal choice for achieving optimal results in your midsection. Learn more about one patient’s journey getting a post-pregnancy tummy tuck in the video below.

Getting Pregnant After A Tummy Tuck

Life does not always go according to plan. It is important not to worry about your or your baby’s health if you have previously had a tummy tuck then get pregnant. Pregnancy and childbirth after a tummy tuck procedure are safe for both you and your baby. Your baby will have plenty of room to grow and thrive.

That said, general recommendations are to wait until after you are finished having children before having a tummy tuck because a subsequent pregnancy can re-stretch the abdominal walls and skin, increasing the possibility of needing a follow-up procedure to restore the toned look you desire.

Everyone’s body is unique and responds differently. In most cases, women who become pregnant after a tummy tuck continue to enjoy the results of their surgery after their baby is born. Some women require a minor touch up, called a “mini tummy tuck” which is much less involved than a traditional tummy tuck, with a faster recovery time. Should you go through pregnancy after a tummy tuck, the best way to preserve your procedure results is to avoid gaining large amounts of weight during the pregnancy.

When will my stomach feel normal after tummy tuck?

Let’s be honest…A tummy tuck is a big operation and you can expect it to take a couple of months before you get back to normal. There are many types of tummy tucks, and the recovery time can vary depending on the extent of the surgery.

Tummy tuck recovery stages

Below, you’ll find a handy timeline for what to expect after tummy tuck surgery. Again, keep in mind the extent of your surgery can vary. For example, a mini tummy tuck is far less invasive than an extended Sculpt tummy tuck, which means a shorter recovery time. Your mileage may vary. 

Now that we’ve said that, let’s dive into a typical tummy tuck recovery timeline that you may find useful as you prepare for tummy tuck surgery:

Week 1: This is no doubt the most difficult part of tummy tuck recovery. Tummy tuck pain, swelling and even bruising are common.You may even regret having a tummy tuck. Don’t worry – these feelings are normal and this, too, shall pass. 

You’ll be walking bent over at this point, and will be spending most of your time resting from the comfort of your bed or sofa. Walking every day is vital to recovery. Even just a few minutes every few hours can help.

Driving is off limits for the first 2-3 weeks.

At the 7 day mark, you will come in for a follow-up appointment. Dr. Beldholm will change the PICO dressings. Click here to learn the benefits of PICO negative pressure dressings.

Week 2: The worst is behind you. You’ll still have some discomfort, but it will decrease day by day. Swelling is still prevalent. Numbness in the lower abdomen is also normal. Your tummy still feels tender, so you will likely still need help around the house from friends, family members or an aid. By day 10, most patients will start walking upright. You’re doing great. Hang in there!

Week 3: Congrats! Most patients are allowed to start driving after a tummy tuck at 2 to 3 weeks. Now that you can drive, it frees you up to have a lot more independence. You’ll still need assistance carrying heavy groceries, etc. at this point, though. By now, you should be feeling a lot better overall.

Swelling, discomfort and bruising will decrease greatly by this stage. 

The lower tummy will most likely still be numb and feel a bit “alien” for the time being. That’s because the sensory nerves in the skin were damaged during surgery (this is normal, after all, you just had surgery). Feeling will return eventually. Numbness usually subsides within 3 months as the nerves repair themselves.

Week 4: Most patients return to work around 4 weeks post-op. Returning to work signals how far you have made it in recovery. It also helps patients feel good knowing they are back in a familiar routine, so you will start to feel more “normal” again.

Week 5-8: Each day is easier and easier. You will be amazed at how far you have come in such a short time. The worst of the swelling will start going away 1 to 2 months after surgery. Most patients can resume a full exercise routine at the 8-week mark. 

Exercising after tummy tuck is beneficial. It not only shows how far you have come physically, but exercise can also improve your tummy tuck results by keeping you fit and healthy. You’ll also be able to handle lifting heavy objects like groceries without assistance, which makes life easier.

Week 9: You’ve made it to the 3-month mark. This is when most of Dr. Beldholm’s patients say they really start feeling “back to normal”. Some swelling will still be present, but it will be substantially less than it was a few weeks ago. There shouldn’t be any pain or discomfort at this stage and you will be completely independent. The scars will still be red at this stage. It can take a long time for surgical scars to mature.

In the weeks and months that follow, you will notice swelling reduce even more. As the swelling settles, your tummy tuck results will become more visible. It’s amazing to see the transformation that takes place. 

Remember, just a few months ago you had a totally different body with loose skin and unwanted fat that made you feel pretty low. Clothes will fit better now, and you will start feeling more like yourself as you get used to your beautiful, flat tummy.

How long until I see the results of a tummy tuck?

Getting a tummy tuck is a big landmark in many patients’ lives. It is no wonder that they feel both excited and anxious to see the results of surgery. After all, it took a lot of time and effort finding the right surgeon, taking time off work, arranging rides to doctor appointments, etc. Not to mention, the cost of tummy tuck surgery.

After all that, of course patients wish they could see results right away. The truth is, you will see a noticeable improvement immediately after surgery. That unwanted loose skin and fat will finally be gone for good. But — and this is a BIG “but” — it takes a while to see the final results because of the swelling after surgery.

In Doctor Bernard’s experience, 12 to 18 months is how long it takes to see the final results of tummy tuck surgery. However, you will feel “normal” again by the 3-month mark. 

Tummy tuck scar fading is usually what takes the longest. (Hint: If you want to fade tummy tuck scars faster, try Laser Genesis to reduce scar redness.)  

Is a tummy tuck covered by insurance?

Although there are certainly medical and functional benefits to be gained through a tummy tuck, the procedure is not typically covered by insurance. Some related procedures, such as the panniculectomy – which is used to remove the excess skin of the pannus after weight loss – may be covered by insurance in certain cases.

Can I combine a tummy tuck with other procedures?

Yes! Many patients choose to combine their tummy tuck with additional procedures in order to maximize the results of their transformation as well as to cut down on expensive surgical fees in the long run. After weight loss patients may choose to have a tummy tuck, arm lift (brachioplasty), and thigh lift all performed simultaneously, for instance.

Another example of a combined procedure is the mommy makeover, which can be highly beneficial for women who have had children – and even those who haven’t. Some of the procedures most commonly combined with a tummy tuck as part of a mommy makeover include breast augmentation, breast lift, and Brazilian butt lift (BBL).

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