Post-baby tummy. What you need to know

Celebs bounce back so quickly you have to wonder if some of them were EVER pregnant #justsaying.  And, who hasn’t heard the rumours that celebrities are having tummy tucks alongside their labour? Read this before you even think about it 

‘Sometimes people ask me to perform tummy tucks at the same time as a C-section, while they are giving birth,’ says consultant plastic surgeon Nicholas Wilson-Jones.  ‘That comes with enormous risks of complications such as infection and severe blood clots.  I’d be surprised if any celebrities are actually doing this as it’s very dangerous. Let your body and your life settle down for at least a year after birth before opting for surgery, as your tummy might over time, contract naturally.   Ensure also, that you wait until you have finished your family.’  First the facts on tummy tucks:

‘Abdominoplasty’ is an operation that tightens the skin of the tummy resulting in a flatter tummy and sometimes, fewer stretchmarks.  It is available in degrees – mini standard and extensive – depending on the patient’s need.  It is performed under a general anaesthetic and usually takes one to four hours. Some liposuction can be performed from the waist area, but this is not a treatment for overweight.  Best For  Mothers who have finished their families, exercise regularly and have reached an optimum weight, yet have a redundant fold of abdominal skin hanging over their pubic area, lax stomach muscles, sagging ‘pot belly’, multiple or unsightly scars.   Recovery  A one to three night stay in hospital is usually required and bed rest for the first 24 hours.  For the first week, patients will not be able to stand fully upright due to tummy closure and stitching.  For the following six weeks, an abdominal binding garment is worn to help the stomach muscles heal in place.  The patient should be able to return to work within four to six weeks.  Risks There is a five per cent chance of infection, as well as risks of bleeding, delayed wound healing, blood clots forming in the legs, unsightly scarring and ‘dog ears’, where bumps appear at either side of a scar (these can be fixed under local anaesthetic).  Sometimes, the belly button may heal at a slightly asymmetrical angle to the pubic bone. Costs  From £3500 for a mini-tuck to £6000 for an extensive.  Additional liposuction starts from £800

CAN EXERCISE HELP? Yes!  ‘Exercising appropriately both during and after pregnancy can encourage blood flow to the tendons and muscles and speed up the healing process,’ says Jane Wake, Healthista TV contributor and personal trainer specialising in pre and post-pregancy and founder of Baby-A-Wake fitness.  What’s more, research shows that women who exercise five days a week have quicker recovery times and an easier labour.  Here are Jane’s recommendations:

During pregnancy  Do not do crunching exercises or sit-ups as these can exacerbate seperation in the abdominal wall.  Instead, try the ‘Hug Your Baby’ exercise: Think of your belly button as a lift going back and up toward your baby.  Inhale and pull it up a little to first, a bit more to second, then third and all the way up to fifth which is as far as you can go.  Hold for a second or two and release.  Do this ten times, four or five times a day.  Then, as you go about daily tasks such as  waiting for the bus and sitting at your desk pull up to second floor and gently hold there.  These and pelvic floor exercises are the most important things a woman can do during pregnancy to impact how well her muscles bounce back.

After pregnancy Be gentle  and listen to your body – particularly if you have had a caesarean or stitching through the pelvic floor.  In the first month or so, you may only manage a gentle walk around the block.  Once you have had your six-week check you can go back to gentler versions of exercise you were doing before, for example swimming or jogging.  But don’t do anything aggressive.  You can start by taking the baby out walking briskly in the stroller for half an hour each day and gently build strength into your workout through Pilates or light body conditioning.

5 BEST Stretchmark Minimisers  Up to 70 oper cent of women experience stretchmarks after pregnancy.  ‘Keeping your skin in top condition during pregnancy keeps skin elastic so it’s more likely to contract again afterward,’ says consultant plastic surgeon Jonathan Staiano. ‘That means drinking plenty of water, avoiding sunbeds and ensuring you moisturise the skin of the abdomen daily while it is being expanded.’  Here are five of the most effective stretchmark creams and oils:

Methode Jeanne Piaubert Vergeturyl Cible’ £42 The French woman’s best-keep body secret launches stretchmark help in May. From Harrods, Harvey Nichols and beautique.com.

 

 

Green Baby Stretchmark Cream £7.95  Great for sensitive skin as it contains no artificial anything.  From ethicalsuperstore.com

 

 


Clarins Tonic Oil £32.50 
Something of a cult product among the ymuuy-mummy set.  From department stores

 

 

 

Clarins Stretchmark Control Cream £31.50 Great if you prefer a creamy texture and proven effective.  From department stores

 

 

 

Bio Oil £8.49  Incredible all-purpose oil for stretchmarks, scars and discoloured skin.  From pharmacies.

 

 

 

Jane Wake’s new 2-Disc DVD, The Complete Ante and Postnatal Programme £15.99 is out now and available from baby-a-wake.co.uk.  Details of Jane’s classes and workshops also available online.

 

 

Nicholas Wilson-Jones practices at the NHS Welsh Centre for Burns and Plastic Surgery and privately at the Sancta Maria Hospital, Swansea.  Information: sanctamaria.co.uk.  Appointments: 01792 703 568

Jonathan Staiano is a leading plastic surgeon who practices in the midlands, see stainoplasticsurgery.co.uk for details

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