Understanding Pregnancy after Breast Augmentation
April 4, 2014
Most women begin dreaming of making changes to their bodies long before future children are even a twinkle in their eyes. This is especially true in cases of breast implants, making pregnancy after breast augmentation a fairly common occurrence. Breast augmentations occur most frequently in women between the ages of 20 and 39, closely followed by the age 40-54 group, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). Data from 2012 reports about 82,500 procedures for women in their 20s and 105,119 augmentation surgeries for those in their 30s. With so many women choosing to have breast procedures done relatively early in life, pregnancy after breast augmentation often raises a few common questions.
Pregnancy after breast implants is extremely common and considered very safe. Many women wish to love their bodies from an early age before they are even ready for later phases in life. Getting a breast augmentation before pregnancy may help to instill greater self-confidence and happiness in one’s own skin, perhaps even impacting social situations and the different connections and relationships that develop. Breast augmentation and pregnancy coexist beautifully when the time comes. A few key points are worth sharing for anyone who might be considering the surgery, and pregnancy.
How does pregnancy impact a previous breast augmentation?
Breast implants themselves are unaffected by pregnancy, but the tissue and skin of the breasts may change, regardless of whether a pregnancy patient has implants. Following pregnancy, breasts can become larger, smaller, or they may even stay the same size. Women with implants may notice subtle differences such as a feeling of less fullness or changes in the way the breasts rest on the chest. However, women who did not undergo breast augmentation will notice these same effects.
To minimize the effects, you should strive to maintain a healthy weight throughout your pregnancy according to your doctor’s recommendations. Work to avoid excessive weight gain by eating well and exercising according to your OB/GYN’s orders. This can help to restrict the amount of stretching your breasts will experience, which helps to avoid or reduce breast ptosis (sagging of breasts).
You and your doctor cannot anticipate exactly what is going to happen to your breasts during and after pregnancy. If pregnancy is in the very near future for you, it may make sense to wait until after pregnancy (and breastfeeding, if you plan to do it) for your surgery. If you are looking into implants knowing you probably want children in the future but not anytime soon, most surgeons will agree that getting a breast augmentation now should be just fine.
Can you breastfeed after breast augmentation?
In my experience, women should be able to breastfeed and retain sensation after having breast implants placed. No known safety issues are associated with breastfeeding and breast augmentation. Many women who have had previous breast implant surgery are able to successfully breastfeed their babies. Celebrities like former Playboy model and reality star Kendra Baskett and reality star Kourtney Kardashian are two high-profile examples of breastfeeding success. Both women hoped to breastfeed their infants after previous breast augmentations and found, to their surprise, breastfeeding after breast augmentation is possible. As with any surgery, it is worth noting that situations may vary from one individual or surgical case to the next.
Once you begin to breastfeed after an augmentation, you may want to closely monitor your milk supply to ensure your infant is getting enough nourishment. Women who do face problems in breastfeeding often find it is an issue related to milk supply, like difficulty passing the milk through the breast, reduced letdown response, or low supply. (Of course, underproduction of milk and letdown issues are common troubles many breastfeeding moms encounter at some point, regardless of implant status.)
Discuss your desire to breastfeed any children you may have with your plastic surgeonto ensure your doctor chooses the most suitable incision location to promote successful breastfeeding. Incisions under the crease and from beneath the armpit tend to minimize chances of nerve damage or trauma to milk ducts, a better option for future moms than when the incision is placed around the areola. Speak with your doctor about this to make sure you are both on the same page prior to surgery.
Will breast implant revision surgery or breast lift surgery be necessary?
Like most women, if you are expecting, you are probably already thinking about getting your post baby body back after your little one is born. Breasts become heavier and fuller during pregnancy. The shape or positioning of your breasts may shift slightly (such as in cases of upper pole deflation, where the breasts take on more of a sloped appearance). As breasts enlarge during pregnancy and breastfeeding, the tissue expands and the skin stretches to accommodate the engorged breast gland. The skin of the breast may sometimes take on a looser appearance following pregnancy for this reason. But, not always. These changes are merely possible changes that could occur.
The good news is that not all women with previous breast implants find it necessary to undergo revision surgery following a pregnancy. By the same token, some women who’ve never had implants may wish to have breast augmentation after pregnancy, once breast changes become more apparent and after they’ve completed their families. In many cases, a breast lift (mastopexy) can be helpful in alleviating breast sag from pregnancy, and a larger augmentation can restore even more fullness. However, many of my implant patients have gone on to have children without significant changes to the appearance of their breasts. To this day, they are still happy with the results of their augmentations.
If you do feel that your breasts need some extra TLC post-pregnancy, you may wish to look into a breast lift, augmentation, or a breast lift with implants to achieve your desired results. You can consider different breast implant sizes to ensure you are happy with your post baby body.
What happens if you immediately become pregnant after breast augmentation surgery?
In most cases, your surgeon will advise you to delay a breast augmentation if you are planning to become pregnant very soon. Still, some pregnancies come as quite a surprise, and breast augmentation recovery may still be in progress when you see that little pink line. If you become pregnant after breast implants have been very recently placed, you should reach out to your plastic surgeon as well as your OB/GYN to discuss any concerns you have as well as any special precautions you can take to ensure your healing continues smoothly and successfully. Pregnancy after breast augmentation should still allow for a healthy and happy mom and baby. Lastly, congratulations – babies are a blessing!
If you are wondering about more details on what to expect after breast augmentation, set up a consultation with Scott E. Newman MD, FACS to discuss any questions you may have.