Pregnancy And Beyond: Your Best-Body Timeline

The way you treat your skin and body before, during and after pregnancy is something to approach with a great deal of care, especially if you're intent on returning to your pre-baby body-or better.

While you're pregnant, keep skin supple with products that contain moisturizers like shea butter and skin-strengthening ingredients like omega-3, -6 and -9 fatty acids. Be sure, however, to steer clear of drug-like active ingredients such as retinoids or hydroquinone.

Immediately after giving birth, care for stretched skin with products containing heavy-duty moisturizers, such as hyaluronic acid, along with collagen boosters, like peptides, to help tighten slack areas. You should continue avoiding retinoids and hydroquinone if you're breastfeeding.

Six weeks after giving birth, your doctor will probably give you the green light to exercise. If you had a C-section, recovery is longer, so you may need to wait up to 10 weeks before working out.

If you're considering surgery to tighten up areas that won't respond to exercise and skin care, your doctor will probably recommend waiting at least six months before undergoing an operation. You should also consider waiting until you're done having children, in order to maintain your surgical results for as long as possible.

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