If you’re thinking about undergoing a breast augmentation, you’re probably wondering at what point in your life is the right time to schedule it. Is sooner rather than later a good rule of thumb? Should you wait until after you have children? For many, the latter question is a major concern, especially because some believe that pregnancy and childbirth can dramatically affect their implants. Here, we’ll break down exactly why you don’t need to wait until after having kids to undergo a breast augmentation.
Let’s get straight to the point: Should you wait until after childbirth to undergo a breast augmentation?
Short answer: You do not have to wait until after having children to get your breasts done. “I recommend getting breast implants when you feel that you would most benefit or enjoy them,” says Lehi, UT plastic surgeon Michael Marion, MD. “It is impossible to predict how each individual’s body will respond to pregnancy.”
According to Dr. Marion—who is also a consultant for Mentor—he often hears patients say they wish they invested in implants earlier in life. After all, in the unlikely chance that pregnancy causes either drastic or undesirable effects to the breasts, there are procedures to address those issues, as well.
Will giving birth change the shape of your breasts?
For the majority of women, the hormones of pregnancy and lactation will affect the shape of breasts—but that doesn’t mean the change will be dramatic. “The patient’s genetics, volume of native breast tissue, and age are some of the main factors that affect change,” says Dr. Marion. “We know these changes occur in both patients with and without breast implants.”
Having proportionally sized implants in place will not contribute to more severe changes nor will it prevent changes from occurring. But if the changes of pregnancy are more significant, you may require an adjustment or lifting procedure. But again, having breast implants will not promote nor prevent those changes from happening. “Should a procedure be required after having kids, we can address that just as we would before pregnancy, whether you have implants or not,” adds Dr. Marion.
Can you breastfeed with breast implants?
Most women with breast implants are able to breastfeed normally after giving birth. However, Dr. Marion asserts that there are a couple of considerations in regard to the ability to breastfeed with breast implants. “If the patient has never been pregnant and attempted breastfeeding, it is impossible to say if she would be able [to breastfeed], as not all women—with or without breast implants—are successful at breastfeeding,” he explains. “We do know that location of the incision, as well as the implant, can slightly alter the success rate.”
For example, if an areolar incision is used—which is an incision along the dark, circular tissue around the nipple—nerves that control lactation may be disrupted and milk ducts can be separated from the glands that produce milk. If this happens, there is a possible decreased chance of successful breastfeeding. “Studies have also shown that in some women, a small decrease in milk production can happen after a breast augmentation,” says Dr. Marion. “So, some patients may be able to give the child the benefits of breast milk but also be required to supplement with formula.”
Also, it’s important to note that certain incisions, such as the transaxillary incision in the armpit, are less likely to affect milk supply since the nipple and areola remain attached to the breast during surgery. Additionally, breast implants that are placed below the muscle are less likely to affect milk production, too.
The Bottom Line
“In my experience, patients are grateful they did not wait for breast enhancement surgery,” says Dr. Marion. “Patients enjoy their new breasts through all stages of life, even during childbearing years. We often hear from patients about increased comfort with their body and body image, more wardrobe options, better romantic relationships with their partners and improved self-confidence.” So, don’t let plans for pregnancy deter you from getting implants. Just make sure to discuss your plans with your doctor before undergoing the surgery.
The viewpoints expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and surgeons included; they do not necessarily reflect the opinions and beliefs of Mentor