If you’ve had a tummy tuck, you may be wondering what will happen if you become pregnant—or whether you should consider getting pregnant again. Or perhaps it’s already happened and now you’re wondering if you and your baby will both be safe and if you’re in for any discomfort. What does pregnancy after a tummy tuck entail? Should you be concerned about the future?
Pregnancy following a tummy tuck can cause complications, but usually those complications will be for you and not your baby. When you get a tummy tuck, there are usually several steps involved. If you have excess fat, it’ll be removed with liposuction, and your underlying muscles may be tightened up using sutures. Excess skin will be trimmed away before the incisions are closed up. The result is that you have muscle groups which have been unnaturally tightened in your abdomen. Naturally this is going to have an impact on any future pregnancies.
During pregnancy your muscles and surrounding tissues expand to make room for your enlarging uterus. Since your muscles have been tightened up using sutures, however, they will have a much harder time expanding. To a great extent, they will actually be prevented from expanding at all. The result is that visually, many women who are pregnant and have had tummy tucks don’t look pregnant at all, even fairly far along in their pregnancies. It’s also a lot less common for women to develop stretch marks if they have had tummy tucks.
While this may seem like a plus, the downside is that you will probably be in a great deal of pain—even if your pain tolerance is naturally high, and even if you’ve been pregnant before. Many women report that their muscles feel like they are tearing and like they are stretched to the maximum. This is because your muscles are being restrained from expanding, and in a sense you will have reached that maximum. Nonetheless, few women report actual injury. The feeling, however, can be similar to having been punched in the gut. Some women also liken it to the feeling of having done hundreds of crunches. The sensation can be fairly persistent and can interfere with everyday life. Not every woman experiences this level of heightened pain since every woman is different. The majority of women do, though.
Babies of pregnant women with tummy tucks usually have no problem growing normally. Your internal organs will simply rearrange a little differently to make room. If however your doctor thinks that there will be problems for you or your baby at the end of your pregnancy, your doctor may induce labor a week early or perform a C-section instead of having you give birth naturally. This can prevent your baby from developing abnormalities and keep you from getting injured or losing your tummy tuck. Sometimes babies in this situation will come out on their own pre-term, which can cause some concerns for the baby’s development.
Will you need to get another tummy tuck after your pregnancy? Maybe, maybe not—a lot of women do need to get a revision later, though for many the tummy tuck is preserved even through the pregnancy.
Generally speaking, if you can you should try and have all the children you plan on having before you get a tummy tuck. This will spare you from having to deal with so much pain and also make things easier for a developing baby. You will certainly save yourself a lot of stress this way. And let’s face it—pregnancy can be a very stressful time as it is without having to worry about the additional pain and possible early delivery.
Of course, in reality not everything goes like this and some things are unplanned. If you do indeed have an unplanned pregnancy (or a simple change in plans), it’s not necessary a cause for deep concern, though you will probably be in for a painful time (there are exceptions, though). You will want to talk to your doctor about it though for certain, to make sure that there are no other unforeseen concerns. This is also a good way to get advice for dealing with the pain.