Getting back in shape after baby

Getting back in shape after baby

A few months after Mrs Lynette Wang gave birth to her baby boy, she signed up for a series of laser treatments at a popular aesthetic clinic.

"I'd put on close to 20kg during my pregnancy and my stretch marks were hideous," said 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 I decided on a laser procedure."

New mum Marissa Chan splurged on treatments to help with her blotchy skin tone and a loss of firmness. "My pregnancy left me feeling a little worse for wear," said the 34-year-old marketing executive.

"I was flabby and my stretch marks were awful. I just wanted to feel attractive and healthy again."

Both women are not alone. Dr Low Chai Ling, medical director of The Sloane Clinic, said she sees many new mothers who are keen to regain their pre-pregnancy figures and skin tone. Over the past year, however, she has been seeing them sooner after their deliveries as compared to mothers in the past; and some even visit her 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 said.

"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, said 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 during pregnancy.

WAIT A LITTLE LONGER

There is nothing wrong with wanting to look your best and feel like your old self again after having a baby. But it is 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, said 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 intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy 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 has stretched over the abdomen - and liposuction.

Dr Low said that how soon one can have an aesthetic treatment after giving birth depends on how quickly her 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.

"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," she added.

Dr Leslie Kuek, a cosmetic and reconstructive surgeon from Leslie Kuek Plastic Surgery, agreed, adding: "You still have pregnancy hormones coursing through your system and these hormones have an effect on your body shape.

"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."

There is another big reason to stay away from surgical procedures first, especially if you are breastfeeding: Injections and oral medicines are involved, and these can pass into your breast milk, said the doctors.

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