Mummy makeover

Pregnancy and childbirth is a momentous occasion for all mothers!  During pregnancy and breastfeeding, the anatomy and physiology of the body changes, leading to alterations to the external physique.  These changes may persist even if mothers have a healthy diet, do regular exercise and return to their pre-pregnancy weight.  These changes may preclude certain fashion styles that may have been possible before pregnancy.  Many women seek to reverse these changes to restore their youthful pre-pregnancy femininity and form.


A mummy is playing with her toddler and they are both grinning at each other.

How Does It Manifest?

Multiple different anatomical areas are affected, and the severity may be varied.  These include:

  • Breasts may become droopy (ptosis), droopy and deflated, or remain enlarged (macromastia) even after cessation of breastfeeding.  The nipples may become elongated, and the areola becomes darkened following breastfeeding.
  • The skin and muscle abdomen become loose and bulge forward and sideways.  In severe cases, it drapes over the undergarments or clothes, resulting in a “muffin top”.  The skin develops stretch marks, especially in the lower abdominal region.  Hernias are areas of focal or generalized bulge and may develop around the umbilicus or at the midline of the abdomen.  Frequently, there are focal deposits of fat in the flanks, hips and thighs that may be resistant to dieting and exercise following pregnancy.
  • Arms and thighs. Inner arm and thigh skin often become loose following pregnancy, leaving unsightly skin folds that occasionally cause skin abrasions, perspiration trapping and malodor.

How does it arise?

Hormonal changes during pregnancy result in fluid retention and weight gain.  Generalized swelling occurs in the breasts, abdomen, arms and thighs.  The skin stretches to accommodate the increase in volume of the underlying tissues, and relaxes and thins out with time, leading to skin laxity.

  • Breasts.  The breast glands enlarge and engorge in anticipation of nourishment of the infant.  This causes stretching of the skin and fibrous attachments (Cooper’s ligaments) of the breast to the underlying chest.  Following cessation of lactation:
    • The breasts may involute (shrink), resulting in skin excess which manifests as drooping and an empty “rock in a sock” appearance
    • The breasts may retain return to their original volume, but skin laxity due to stretching results in its descent and manifest as drooping
    • The breasts may remain enlarged (macromastia) manifesting in heavy breasts, back and shoulder pain and possibly fungal infections in the breast fold and cleavage area
  • Areola.  The areolas enlarge and darken during breastfeeding due to various hormones that are secreted during pregnancy and lactation.  This imparts a mature appearance to the breast.
  • Abdomen.  The abdominal muscles stretch forwards and sideways to accommodate the growing fetus and a gap between the two midline rectus abdominis muscles forms, known as rectus diastasis or ventral hernia.  Small bulges may occur around the umbilicus (hernias) that may contribute to the post-pregnancy appearance.  The abdominal skin stretches significantly, resulting in stretch marks (striae).  Following childbirth, the skin and muscle contract partially, but there is almost always some residual skin excess and muscle bulge.
  • Arms and thighs. Due to weight gain and water retention during pregnancy, the skin overlying the inner arms and thighs become stretched and thinned out.  The fibrous structures that normally anchor the skin to the underlying muscle and bones become lax, and the skin is unsupported following childbirth and loss of fat and fluid.  This results in loose skin folds that are unsightly and may cause skin abrasions, perspiration trapping and malodor.



Treatment: Mummy Makeover

The presentation and severity of post-pregnancy changes may vary widely between different individuals, and mummy makeovers are tailored to the individual’s presentation and expectations.  Mummy makeovers aim to restore the pre-pregnancy femininity and form and restore confidence to the individual, while keeping the scars inconspicuous.  These surgeries aim to help the mother to revert to fashion styles that were possible before pregnancy.

Mummy makeovers are most effective following completion of the family, and at least 3 months following childbirth to allow pregnancy-related physiological changes to normalize.  Allowing sufficient time for skin shrinkage allows more accurate assessment of the amount of skin that needs to be removed and/or tightened.

It is certainly possible to get pregnant and breastfeed again following mummy makeovers.  In some cases, mothers may require minor touch up procedures following childbirth, usually to remove excess skin.

The postoperative medications are usually safe even if breastfeeding, these usually consist of simple analgesia and antibiotics.  Mothers who wish to take additional precaution may continue to express their milk and discard it for the first few days postoperatively.

It is possible to perform multiple contouring procedures of different anatomical regions at the same sitting to attain maximal improvement with a single recovery period.


Post-pregnancy breast procedures aim to restore breasts that are symmetrical, proportionate in size and occupying an optimal position on the chest wall.  This usually involves alteration of the breast size and removal of excess skin.  The following are commonly performed breast procedures:



Post-pregnancy abdominal procedures aim to remove excess skin and fat, repair hernias and tighten the abdominal muscles (rectus divarication repair) to restore an aesthetic abdominal contour.  The following are commonly performed abdominal procedures:


Post-pregnancy limb procedures aim to remove excess skin and fat while minimizing scars and keeping scars to inconspicuous locations.  The following are commonly performed limb contouring procedures: