It’s no secret that pregnancy causes dramatic changes in a woman’s breasts. Often, tenderness, swelling, and feeling fuller is one of the first symptoms a woman experiences when she’s pregnant, and the changes continue over the following nine months and post-partum months. While these changes are necessary and unavoidable, they can lead to sagging, stretch marks, and an asymmetrical appearance causing you to feel less attractive and less confident in your body. Our plastic surgeon in Raleigh is explaining the changes that take place during pregnancy and the postpartum months as well as solutions to get your pre-baby figure back.
Breast Changes During Pregnancy
Changes to your breasts can begin as soon as one week following conception. Progesterone and estrogen begin to increase rapidly and cause swelling and growth. Part of this is caused by your body needing to make room for milk ducts and growing secretory tissues and mammary glands within the breast tissue as well as increased blood volume. Additionally, the nipples and areolas darken and grow and the veins become more prominent.
These changes happen quickly, too. Upon conception, existing tissues grow, ducts begin forming, and tiny sacs, called alveoli, are developing to hold breast milk. These developments cause many women to experience a full cup size increase in volume by only the sixth week of pregnancy and by the end of the term, there is an average of an added two pounds of tissue and fluid. While two pounds may not seem like much, the increase in size and weight can stretch the skin, leading to stretch marks and sagging.
Breast Changes During the Postpartum Months
For 40 weeks, your breasts are getting ready to feed a baby. Now that your baby has arrived, you can either choose to breastfeed or bottle-feed with formula. Regardless of your choice, within the first week, milk comes in and it often comes with more than enough to feed one baby, causing added fullness and even engorgement. While the milk supply tends to balance out to what the baby needs within a few weeks, your milk supply can lead you to have larger, fuller breasts than you did pre-pregnancy, whereas when you stop nursing (or you choose not to nurse in the first place), estrogen and progesterone levels go down, the milk supply decreases and dries up as the alveoli collapse within the tissue, and mammary glands return to a dormant state.
Solutions for Postpartum Breast Changes
Most women do report sagging, a loss of volume, and a flattened look to their breasts as the tissue is less dense and the skin has stretched out during and following pregnancy. While the market is filled with creams and lotions that promise to tighten and firm breast tissue, there’s no scientific evidence they are effective. A general rule is that you can’t fix something from the outside when the issues stem from the inside, and that’s certainly true here.
The best-proven solution to sagging breasts is a breast lift. This is a procedure that removes excess skin that has become stretched out and has lost elasticity while also tightening the surrounding tissue. During this procedure, a plastic surgeon can rearrange the sagging breast tissue, improving firmness, and elevate the downward-pointing or elongated nipples, leaving you with firm, more youthful-looking breasts.
For women who are concerned about having lost volume as well as are experiencing sagging, a breast lift with augmentation can be performed. This combines the restorative procedure of a lift while adding implants to increase volume, correct asymmetry, and provide you with a fuller bust.
In addition to the breast lift and breast lift with augmentation, you can also consider a mommy makeover. This is a custom procedure designed for mothers who wish to restore their pre-baby body with a series of cosmetic enhancements performed at once. This can include a tummy tuck, mini tummy tuck, or breast lift. A board-certified plastic surgeon will work with you to determine the best course of action to help you get the figure you want.
Schedule a Consultation for a Breast Lift in Raleigh
If you are unhappy with how your breasts look and feel after pregnancy, Dr. Juan Ortiz can help. He’s worked with countless women in the Raleigh area to feel comfortable and confident in their bodies through cosmetic surgery. To schedule a consultation, call us at 919-532-2270 or fill out the form below to get started!