Lynette Wang had put on close to 20kg during her pregnancy. “My stretch marks were hideous,” says the 39-year-old teacher.
“Topical creams didn’t do much to fade the marks; I needed something more heavy-duty to get the skin around my belly and breasts looking normal again.”
So a few months after she gave birth to her baby boy, she signed up for a series of laser treatments at a popular aesthetic clinic.
New mum Marissa Chan splurged on treatments to help with her blotchy skin tone and a loss of firmness. “I just wanted to feel attractive and healthy again,” says the 34-year-old marketing executive.
Lynette and Marissa are not alone. Dr Low Chai Ling, medical director of The Sloane Clinic, says that she sees many new mothers who are keen to regain their pre-pregnancy figures and skin tone. Over the past year, however, she’s seeing them even sooner after their deliveries, as well as during their pregnancies.
“Women realise that just because they are pregnant, it doesn’t mean that they should totally neglect their skin or their appearance,” she shares. “Most new mums are concerned about the changes their skin has undergone during pregnancy, in particular, pigmentation. They’re also concerned about weight gain and skin laxity.”
Dr Georgia Lee, founder of TLC Lifestyle Practice and Dr Spa, says the new mums who consult her are interested in eliminating stretch marks, lightening the skin around their belly, armpits and bikini region, and losing the weight they gained while pregnant.
Wait a little longer
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look your best and feel like your old self again after having a baby. But it’s important to know which aesthetic treatments are safe for new mums and how soon after giving birth you should even start considering them.
Aesthetic treatments can encompass both invasive and non-invasive procedures to improve one’s looks and well-being, says Dr Low.
Non-invasive treatments can help with skin conditions that may have developed during pregnancy, such as acne and stretch marks. These treatments, such as IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) and chemical peels, are non-surgical and can usually be carried out as soon as a month after delivery.
Invasive treatments, on the other hand, involve surgery. These may include procedures such as a tummy tuck – which is performed to remove excess skin that’s stretched over the abdomen – and liposuction.
Dr Low says that how soon you can have an aesthetic treatment after giving birth depends on how quickly your body heals.
“All new mothers recover from their deliveries at different rates, but I usually tell my patients that there’s no rush to undergo a surgical cosmetic procedure. Their general well-being should always come first,” she explains.
“On average, we’d wait at least six months for a woman to regain her pre-pregnancy body before evaluating her again, to see if she is suitable for an invasive procedure. There are patients who may have to wait a little longer than that.”
Dr Leslie Kuek, a certified cosmetic and reconstructive surgeon from Leslie Kuek Plastic Surgery, agrees, adding: “You still have pregnancy hormones coursing through your system and these hormones have an effect on your body shape,” he says.
“In the meantime, if you want to feel good about your body and get your pre-pregnancy figure back faster, just exercise regularly and stick to a healthy diet.”
Another big reason to stay away from surgical procedures first, especially if you’re breastfeeding: injections and oral medicines are involved, and these can pass into your breast milk, say the doctors.