BY LISA WILLIAMS
It’s no secret that pregnancy and post-pregnancy can take a toll on anyone’s body. The bitter truth is, no matter how many prenatal yoga classes you attend or how much shea butter balm you apply to your stomach, once you start carrying a baby, your body stops being your own and starts expanding and changing in ways for which you’re not quite prepared.
The truth is pregnancy can put your body through the wringer. First and foremost, your abdominal area expands, resulting in stretching of the muscles and skin. The breasts also expand in preparation for breastfeeding after delivery.
What no one tells you is that your cravings will be really boring. They won’t be coal or dog biscuits or anything so revoltingly exotic. They will be pizza and crisps and anything that can be bought at Iceland.nThat your boobs will dust your stomach in such a way that wearing a bra does not just become a social condition, but a physical necessity to avoid being smothered alive.
That whilst you knew about pregnancy hormones – which don’t negate your emotional experience, thank you very much – you did not know that Angry Pregnant Woman is not merely a cliché endorsed by a patriarchal society, it is very much a real thing. It will strike when you see any kind of injustice, or witness any kind of tedious insanity.
And last but not least, no one tells you that after giving birth, your body does not miraculously bounce back into shape.
Thankfully, there are smart aesthetic rescues that can attenuate this treacherous path new mothers have to tread on their long road to regaining their beauty. Here, we shed some light on what to expect and what sort of SOS you should be looking for.
STRETCH MARKS: GALORE & MORE
If you haven’t given birth, you could be forgiven for thinking that once you leave the delivery room, babe in arms, your body will snap back into its pre-pregnant form. In reality, excess fat and skin remain obvious in the tummy area after delivery. To compound this issue, abdominal muscles muscles stay lax; this is the reason why many mothers complain that they still look pregnant even after delivery. Stretch marks also feature as one of the top complaints. Stretch marks are essentially due to dermal collagen tears. Rapid weight gain or loss and genetics play a role in their formation, and the underlying case seems to be a loss of elastic tissue.
SOS: Thankfully, there are effective options to treat all these concerns; Coolshape cryolipolysis to reduce fat, Vbeam to reduce red stretch marks, Fraxel lasers to renew damaged skin are some of the many aesthetic treatments in our impressive armamentarium. For those who want a more dramatic outcome, liposuction and tummy tucks are available options for their consideration. Speak to one of our plastic surgeons to discuss what is the most suitable procedure for you.
BREAST: THE RISE & FALL
Breastfeeding often leaves women with deflated or sagging breasts. Anyone who has breastfed will understand why breast lifts have been steadily on the rise. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the cosmetic procedure has increased by 75 percent in the last 10 years. Dr Tan Ying Chien, an expert in reconstructive plastic surgery has witnessed the surge over time. “It’s now a cornerstone of what we do,”he said. “And the vast majority of our breast lift patients are new moms.”
The constant expanding and contracting of the skin is to thank for the eventual sagging. According to Dr Tan, when you’re pregnant, the glandular elements of the breast get considerably larger, so you see an increase in one or two cup sizes. Postpartum, the breast gland goes back down to the original size or ends up being a little less. Since the skin stretches during the period of growth, there’s an increase in discrepancy between the skin and the gland.
SOS: In cases where the breasts are left deflated, restoration with a variety of techniques from natural fat transfer or breast implants are options. For sagging boobs, a surgical breast lift will breathe new lease of life to your chest.
THE TUMMY: THE SEPARATION
As if the tummy area has not undergone enough stress of accommodating a new tenant. Another occurrence after pregnancy is the separation of the abdominal muscles, also known as recti diastasis. In mild cases, this really puts a dampener on restoring a flat pre-pregnancy belly. In severe cases, it results in a visible bulge in the abdominal area. Suffice to say, not a pretty condition to have unless you want to look pregnant post-partum.
SOS: Abdominoplasty, a surgical procedure whereby the separated muscles restored to a more optimal closed position is the answer. The great thing about this procedure is that it can be done via any C-section scar, thereby reducing the need for additional scars. Furthermore, for patients who desire tightening of the tummy skin, this can be achieved in the same setting, killing two birds with one stone.
HAIR & SKIN: NEVER THE SAME?
Apart from the body where the most obvious damage is done, women also suffer from post partum hair loss which results in thinner hair. This adds to a new mother’s beauty woe. Skin can also continue to fluctuate after delivery as hormonal changes continue. Some women manifest this as acne, others as sensitive skin. Many women whne faced with these skin changes are at a loss of what to do as they have never encountered these issues before. A majority of women also complain of increased pigmentation such as melasma on their face. This is a form of stubborn pigmentation that appears to be resistant to topicals and may worsen with time.
SOS: Revage 670 is a low level laser therapy that helps to restore hair fullness and treat hair loss effectively in women.This treatment is welcomed by women who are anxious to see quick results. Skin changes can be effectively combated with topicals prescribed by your doctor. Melasma can be dealt with by Pico Pigment laser as well as Fraxel Dual laser, both reporting excellent results or their clearance as well as maintenance of care.
If you want to get things back to where they were pre-pregnancy, these new technologies and treatments help make it easier and faster and look and feel good post-pregnancy. If you’ve made a miracle, why would you want you’re body to be pre-miracle eh? Here’s to the post-miracle bodies.