A tummy tuck is a surgical procedure that tightens the abdominal wall muscles and removes redundant skin and soft tissues. It improves abdominal contour and may also restore core abdominal strength. Patients often ask whether it is possible to have a baby after tummy tuck. Questions relate to concerns about the pregnancy as well as the mother’s abdomen. Many patients ask whether the abdomen would accommodate a growing fetus following tummy tuck and allow a mother to carry the baby to full term. Would history of tummy tuck surgery lead to smaller birth weight babies with associated health risks? What are the effects of future pregnancy on the abdomen following history of tummy tuck surgery?
The short answer is yes, you may still carry and deliver a healthy baby after tummy tuck. But if you are planning future pregnancies, it is recommended to delay tummy tuck surgery until 6 months or later following the delivery of your last child.
Studies of pregnancy following tummy tuck are limited. Pregnancies may reach full term and lower birth weights have not been reported. If you become pregnant following tummy tuck, this should be discussed with your obstetrician and you will be monitored throughout your pregnancy to rule out any concerns.
Future pregnancies may compromise the long-term results of tummy tuck surgery. The muscle repair will be placed under tension as the pregnancy progresses, likely resulting in a recurrent rectus diastasis. This refers to the separation of the abdominal wall muscles in the midline, which may contribute to a round appearance of the abdomen. Stretch marks as well as redundant skin and soft tissues will likely recur following future pregnancies. A patient may require a secondary tummy tuck following future pregnancies to achieve and maintain their aesthetic goals.
Changes of the abdomen following pregnancy and weight fluctuations are common reasons why patients proceed with tummy tuck surgery. The number of pregnancies, larger birth weight babies, and multiple births increase the likelihood of developing a rectus diastasis. If planning a future pregnancy, it is therefore recommended to defer tummy tuck surgery until family planning is complete. A fetus may still be carried to term and achieve a healthy body weight, although the aesthetic outcome of the tummy tuck will likely not be maintained.
Patients have occasionally inquired about having a tummy tuck performed at time of C-section. This is also not recommended given that the uterus and soft tissues take time to contract. It is recommended to wait 6 months or longer following delivery before proceeding with a tummy tuck. This reduces tension at the muscle repair site and also lowers risk of healing complications. Planning a tummy tuck once the soft tissues have contracted and adequate healing has taken place may lead to more predictable aesthetic outcomes and safer surgery. Tummy tuck may be performed when still breastfeeding, however you should discuss this with your surgeon pre-operatively. Prescription pain medication must be safely chosen if breastfeeding to lower risks to your baby.
Please contact us if considering tummy tuck surgery in the Toronto area to schedule your consultation with Dr. Power.