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Having children changes your body, but you don’t need me to tell you that. For some women, pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding create drastic changes that can only be reversed with surgery. A mommy makeover at my Charlotte, N.C., plastic surgery practice is a single surgery that combines procedures such as a tummy tuck and breast augmentation to create comprehensive results.

But women considering a mommy makeover often wonder about the timing of the procedure and what they can do to prepare for their operation. Even though many women choose to wait until their children are older to get a mommy makeover, I see many patients with preschool-aged children who want to regain their pre-pregnancy bodies as soon as possible.

In those cases, I provide patients with the following general guidelines to use when they consider scheduling their procedures:

Maintain a Stable Weight

Weight fluctuations after having children are common, even for women who exercise and eat a healthy diet. Losing weight isn’t necessarily the goal before surgery, but it is important to reach and maintain a weight at which you are comfortable. I recommend that patients sustain their goal weight for about 6 months before scheduling a mommy makeover. A stable weight for several months helps indicate that the body is fully recovered from the stress of pregnancy and childbirth.

Wait Until You’re Finished Breastfeeding

Breasts change their size and shape during pregnancy and also while a woman breastfeeds her baby. The breasts then undergo more changes after the mother stops breastfeeding. Because mommy makeovers typically include some type of cosmetic breast surgery, such as a breast lift or breast augmentation, it’s important to wait for at least 6 months after you’ve finished breastfeeding to get a mommy makeover. By this time the breasts’ shape and size should have stabilized, and your surgeon can accurately assess the procedure that best suits your needs.

Are You Done Having Children?

A mommy makeover addresses the physical changes that occur during and after pregnancy. For example, a tummy tuck removes excess skin and repairs abdominal muscles, cosmetic breast surgery restores fullness and shape, and other procedures such as labiaplasty may also be part of the procedure. Having children after a mommy makeover is possible, but likely will compromise the results of the surgery. It’s best to be sure you are not planning to have more children before scheduling the operation.

If you want to learn more about mommy makeover procedures, the best place to start is by contacting our plastic surgery practice in Charlotte, N.C., to schedule a consultation.