Where Did the Pregnant Glow Go?

Ahhh… the joys of pregnancy… flawless glowing skin, cute "baby bump" and best of all a darn good excuse to eat that extra chocolate chip cookie. Welcoming your new bundle of joy is definitely the most wonderful and rewarding experience. But you have to admit they have taken a toll on your old bod’. That pregnant glow now is a hyper-pigmented mask of pregnancy. That flawless skin is now ridden with hormonal acne. And that baby bump has transformed to a bulging abdominal wall with stretch marks. How is it that after one burrito, I can easily return to my 5-month pregnancy shape? Now, I am just waiting to be done nursing so I can pose for National Geographic. Don’t get me wrong I wouldn’t trade any of it for my two sweet children.

While I am a strong advocate of diet, cardiovascular exercise and core strengthening, it is good to know there are other options for helping with my post-baby body. So what can I do and when can I do it safely? I have broken it down into three categories: Immediately following birth (when you are ready to sacrifice a nap for a doctor’s visit); Immediately following nursing (when you no longer have to be careful about every thing you ingest or put on your body); 3 months after finishing breastfeeding and/or maximum body achieved by diet of chicken finger scraps and peanut butter and jelly remnants.

Immediately after birth: What is safe?

IPL (Intense Pulse Light): used to treat melasma (mask of pregnancy), sunspots or hyperpigmented skin.
Nd:Yag laser: used to all those spider veins that have popped up on your legs.
Laser Hair Removal: used to treat for area. Most commonly bikini or underarms- who has time to shave at this point anyway?
Immediately after nursing: What can I do?

Botox: used to relax the frown lines. These have been given a recent workout while overseeing your 3 year old’s tantrums and wondering why your husband can’t help with the baby’s night time feedings.
Sclerovein: just another option for spider veins. This is an injectable method for reducing of the veins vs. laser.
Latisse: topical eyelash enhancer. Not that anything really happened to your eyelashes during pregnancy, but this stuff is amazing. And it has been off limits for 9-months plus! So of course, you want to use it even more!
Retin A: there truly is nothing that is going to get rid of stretch marks. So don’t believe anyone that tells you otherwise. (At least as of May 2009) However, if your stretch marks are still purple (and you are not breastfeeding), you can apply topical Retin A that will lighten the color. If they are already silver or white, not much to do but self-tanners or spray tans.
Obagi Skin Care: this is an amazing line of skin care products with medical grade ingredients like Retin A and hydroquinone. They are perfect for evening coloration and smoothing the skin. They will get you back to about as close as you can get to the glow of pregnancy. Also helpful for active acne or acne scarring.Later: While we may wish we had all the trainers, nutritionists, and nannies it took to get Heidi Klum on the runway at 6-weeks post baby…that is not reality. So if you have given it your best effort with the time and resources available to you, but are seeking some additional intervention here are your options:
Liposuction: removing unwanted fat most commonly from abdomen and thighs. Often this can be enough for managing problem areas that don’t come off with diet and exercise
Tummy tuck: there are mini and full options- if your abdominal wall is too stretched for just liposuction, this might be an alternative. The full will tighten the abdominal wall, and get rid of stretch marks from the belly button down. And both full and mini will get rid of stretched out abdominal skin.
Breast augmentation/lift: who knew??? Who knew what breastfeeding does to your boobs? Just remind yourself of all the diseases you have saved your child from contracting and that will make you feel better. And if it doesn’t just insert a small implant and remove excess skin.
I might mention… it is good to wait at least 3 months after childbirth to do a tummy tuck. Even without a lick of exercise, your body will still change. And wait at least a couple months after nursing and until you are no longer producing milk or your breasts seem to be done changing size and shape. Also… you may as well wait until you are done with having kids before you invest in any of the surgical procedures unless you want to visit our office again in a few years. Which is fine too, you are always welcome.

Jessica Barker, P.A.
Pacific Plastic Surgery

Author
Jessica Barker, P.A.

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