The Surgeon Minute

Breast Changes after Pregnancy

Breast Changes after Pregnancy

“Every time I’m in my office I see women who are unhappy with the appearance of their breasts after pregnancy. If the patient thinks she’s too big before pregnancy, the breasts get bigger. If she thinks she’s too small, the breasts will get smaller.  And everybody gets saggier!  So it’s one of the more common things we see.”

Dr. Patricia A. McGuire, a board certified plastic surgeon from St. Louis, Missouri talks about how you can get back the original shape and lift of your breasts after pregnancy.

By: Patricia A. McGuire, MD
and Susan Kamyab

Reducing the Size of your Breasts

When you’re pregnant, your body has very high levels of estrogen and progesterone, hormones that stimulate your breast’s milk glands and milk ducts. The result of all this can be a big change in breast size. The growth will eventually slow down, or stop, at the end of the first trimester, leaving you with bigger breasts then you had before, and often times saggy breasts.

Dr. McGuire explains, “when the breasts are too big, a breast reduction is one of the more common procedures I perform.  We make the breast smaller and also lift them; it’s a combination of a lift, with a reduction in size.  Patients feel better and look better, so it’s a very gratifying procedure for me as a plastic surgeon.”  The procedure used to reduce the size of your breasts will be determined by your individual condition, breast composition, amount of reduction desired, your personal preferences and the surgeon’s advice.

Change it Up!

Adding volume to the breast can be the easiest thing for a surgeon to do.  “Some patients  have nicely shaped breasts and just lost volume due to pregnancy.  Restoring volume is one of the easier procedures,” says Dr. McGuire.  After restoring the volume, it’s usually recommended to have an implant  placed under the muscle.  “The breast has already been stretched out and you don’t want the implant to stretch the tissue out more.  We usually recommend an implant be placed under the muscle in a size proportionate to her body.”

“The operation includes lifting the breast to give the patient a nice shape, and then I like to go back two or three months later and put the implant in during a second procedure.  The lift will get the nipple in the right position and shape the breast better.  I will remove the extra skin, while the implant gives fill to the upper portion of the breast, which is what a lot of woman lose with pregnancy. Women don’t want to have huge breasts, they just want to restore what they’ve lost.

Trust your Doctor to do what’s right for your Body

When deciding how to go about revising your breasts, you should always trust your plastic surgeon to give you the right advice.  “What I always tell patients is that I respect their desires for breast size, but I respect their anatomy more.  You want a breast that looks like it belongs to the patient.  As implants get bigger, they get wider.  If an implant is too wide and hangs off the side, the implant will be folded up within the pocket to make it more likely to have visible edges.  If you have an implant that fits the space, then you have a breast that looks like it belongs to the patient.”


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