We get a lot of questions from our readers on breast implants. In fact, our ABCC’s guide to breast implants is one of our most-read articles. And our article on how your breasts might just be revealing your age is getting hot in the comments section. Recently, one of our readers wanted to know if she should wait until after she had kids to think about surgery.
Q—CHARLOTTE’S BOOK READER
I have been thinking about getting breast implants, but I’m 32. It’s likely I’m going to have kids in the next few years—should I wait until after I’m done having children to get implants?
Many patients wonder if they should wait until after they are done having children to have a cosmetic procedure done. For some procedures, like abdominoplasty, waiting makes more sense. Pregnancy will reliably expand and stretch the abdomen, create a widening of the space between the muscles, and in many cases also stimulate fat deposits in the midsection that are resistant to diet and exercise. The chance of maintaining your tummy tuck result through childbearing is slim. For breast surgery, however, waiting is optional.
Breast changes during pregnancy are seriously unpredictable
One of the universal truths of pregnancy is that you just don’t know how it will affect you—especially your breasts. Some women spring back to baseline one month after their fourth child, some grow with each cycle, and others deflate permanently after their first. It is impossible to tell what will happen in any individual case, and therefore planning around it does not make much sense.
As a general rule, I tell my patients that if they are unhappy with their breasts, it is perfectly reasonable to become happy with them and enjoy them right then and there. For some patients, pregnancy will not require revision surgery down the road, and for those in whom pregnancy will produce major changes, they will need some sort of postpartum procedure regardless. The pregnancy itself will dictate whether deformity results, not the pre-partum operation.
All about breast feeding + the risk of larger implants
When it comes to breast augmentation, there is currently no evidence that breast implants pose a risk to pregnant women nor to breastfeeding, which is why so many young women undergo the procedure without reservation. What I do recommend, however, is that a woman planning on having children in the future be cautious about having a large implant placed. Very large implants can cause chest wall deformities, which can make revision surgery more difficult in the future. Oversized implants will also put considerable pressure on the skin and breast tissue itself, destroying elasticity and thinning the breast until there is less of it left over time. In the end, if the post-implant pregnancies cause significant changes, these effects will be magnified, and as a result more difficult to correct later on.
There’s no time like the present
The final thing to consider is: when are you planning on having children? If the answer is “as soon as I get pregnant,” then it makes sense to wait. If the answer is “I have no idea. But some time in the future,” then go ahead and do what makes you happy now. The most common thing I hear in my office from women in their late forties and fifties coming in for breast augmentation is, “I should have done this years ago.” There is no time like the present.
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