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Mommy makeovers
Bouncing back from child bearing is not always an easy task, but there are ways to return to that "pre-baby" body


March 2015

Motherhood is a beautiful thing. But after surviving pregnancy, childbirth, midnight feedings and those terrible twos ó not to mention the stresses that come with work, hubby and home ó it can be difficult for some moms to capture the confidence they carried long before they were called "Mom."

Even for those mothers who manage to keep their diet in check or sneak in a workout from time to time, the lasting effects of pregnancy, such as stretch marks, extra skin or those less-than-perky breasts, can be enough to make any woman feel insecure.

And while some moms are happy to bare their battle scars (we say embrace those stretch marks!), itís good to know there are options for those who are seeking a little extra help in getting their sexy back.

"A lot of women feel that after the baby and all the changes that happen to their bodies, that they donít feel like themselves ó no matter how hard they exercise and diet," explains Dr. Mark F. Blake, a board- certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon at the Clinic of Cosmetic Surgery, just south of Bayshore Town Center.

In todayís body-conscious society, cosmetic surgery enhancements have lost much of their taboo. The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery reports that more than 11 million procedures were performed in 2013, and at least 90 percent of those were done on women.

Cosmetic procedures are safer and more affordable than ever before, so itís no surprise that more women are lining up for nip-and-tuck procedures. Yet, unlike the plastic surgery extremes seen on the West Coast or in South Beach Miami, for example, Blake says Midwest mommies typically opt for subtle enhancements like breast augmentation, breast lifts, tummy tucks and liposuction.

Of course there are exceptions and a lot more options for surgery, too: full or partial body lifts, fat injections and other advanced slimming surgeries.

"Here, they say, ĎI donít want to look too extreme; I donít want to look like Barbie,í" Blake says. "Theyíre not trying to turn heads when they walk into a room."

Dr. Paul Loewenstein, a board-certified plastic surgeon at Greater Milwaukee Plastic Surgeons in Brookfield, suggests women in post-pregnancy should wait at least six months after delivery before considering plastic surgery. This is usually the time that it takes for moms to return to full mobility and regular activities, as well as a stable weight.

Ideally, surgery shouldnít commence until after a woman has decided not to have more children ó especially following a tummy tuck, since ultimately a subsequent pregnancy would "undo" surgery results, says Loewenstein. Other procedures, like breast augmentation, may hinder the ability to breastfeed in the future.

Some of the biggest concerns voiced by mothers include the time required for recovery and how that downtime will affect their families. Loewenstein says that while everyone is different, there are some common threads.

"Typically, for desk jobs, most women can return to work after seven to 10 days for a breast augmentation, two weeks for a tummy tuck, and three to seven days after liposuction depending on which area is done and how many areas," Loewenstein explains. "Laser treatments may require a few days to two weeks, depending on the type of laser used."

And since these procedures are technically invasive (itís still surgery, after all), Blake says itís important for moms to understand that there will be moderate pain, scarring and an indeterminate recovery period. Mothers of young children should expect to avoid heavy lifting or strenuous housework for up to six weeks, he says.

For moms searching for less invasive procedures, injectables such as Botox or fillers and other skin treatments like microdermabrasion, which work to fill or reduce fine lines and wrinkles, are a viable option.

The surgeons strongly advise patients to do their research ó on both the doctors and the practice where surgery is to be performed, as well as into their treatments of choice. They say it is also important to be realistic. Stretched, saggy skin resulting from pregnancy canít be "lipo-ed away," and surgery canít substitute for a healthy self-esteem.


This story ran in the March 2015 issue of: