Medically reviewed by T K Sankar, Consultant Plastic & Reconstructive surgeon
Whether you’ve already invested in a breast enhancement, or are considering it post-pregnancy, you will likely have a lot of questions. To help you on your journey, we’ve covered some of the most commonly asked queries below.
Please note this is just a general guide and you should always consult a medical professional about your personal circumstances.
Understandably, women who are pregnant (or trying to conceive) worry about the potential effects of breast implants on their bodies and the health of their unborn child.
According to T K Sankar, Consultant Plastic & Reconstructive surgeon, breast implants do not affect pregnancy. Those with implants can become pregnant and safely deliver babies.
However, each body is unique and may go through distinct changes. During pregnancy, the breast tissue and skin may change, becoming looser or less firm. This can occur regardless of whether or not implants are present. To reduce this effect, women are advised to maintain a healthy lifestyle and avoid excessive weight gain. This can help minimise the amount of breast tissue stretching and potentially limit any post-pregnancy ptosis or breast sag.
It’s essential to keep up to date on this topic and speak with your doctor about any potential risks of breast implants during pregnancy.
Women with breast implants understandably want to know if they will need to remove them before they become pregnant. At present, there is no medical advice that breast implants need to be removed before pregnancy. However, if you would feel more comfortable removing them, this will need to be done before you conceive.
Please note that if you’re already pregnant, no type of plastic surgery is recommended. This is due to the dangers of anaesthetic and potential post-recovery complications (e.g. infection or blood clots). It’s safest to remove your breast implants post pregnancy or waiting at least six months after giving birth.
Some other common questions from women who have had an augmentation procedure are ‘how do breast implants look after pregnancy?’ and ‘do breast implants sag after pregnancy?’ While implants do not alter during pregnancy—hormones, milk production (lactation) and weight gain cause stretching of the skin, which can then sag once breasts return to their pre-baby size.
'Breast ptosis' (sagging) can be less noticeable for mothers with implants than those with natural breasts, but augmentation doesn't prevent the stretching effect that pregnancy has on the breast tissue. To reduce the appearance of breast implants sagging after pregnancy, some women may choose to have an uplift procedure, or larger implants fitted to fill out the loose breast tissue.
Plastic surgeons often hear the question ‘can you breastfeed with breast implants?’. And while some women may experience difficulties, the vast majority will find that implants don’t affect their ability to breastfeed. This is because implants are placed under the breast gland, so they don’t disrupt the milk ducts.
However, some implants are inserted through the nipple and areola, which can damage the ducts and possibly reduce milk supply. Other methods such as inserting implants underneath the breast or through the armpit shouldn’t have any effect on a woman’s ability to breastfeed.
It’s therefore important to discuss the various approaches to inserting breast implants if you haven’t had children, or if you’re already a mother and are considering expanding your family.
Pregnancy alters the body and a lot of women report an increased breast size during pregnancy that can ‘deflate’ when they finish breastfeeding. As a result, sagging can occur when breasts return to their pre-pregnancy size. An increasing number of mothers are therefore considering breast enhancement after breastfeeding.
Breast rejuvenation after breastfeeding usually takes two different routes. Some women opt to reshape their natural breasts. This is called a ‘mastopexy' or breast uplift. This procedure involves the removal of any excess skin, as well as tightening the breast tissue.
Other women may opt for breast implants after pregnancy and breastfeeding. This is usually to fill out the resulting saggy breast tissue. Those with existing implants may opt to have a breast lift surgery, or have completely new implants put in. While there is no evidence that breast implants change after breastfeeding, some women opt to invest in larger implants to improve the shape of the breasts due to the resulting changes in skin tissue.
Women often approach us to ask how long to wait after breastfeeding to get implants. For natural-looking, long-lasting results, mothers are advised to wait between six and twelve months after they’ve finished breastfeeding before having a breast lift or augmentation procedure. It’s also advisable to complete your family before you undergo breast augmentation or rejuvenation.
This is because each pregnancy and subsequent time spent breastfeeding will probably stretch the skin, undoing the effects you have invested in. For the best results, the highest standard of aftercare is essential following any type of breast surgery.
At The Harley Medical Group, our patients are our number one priority - we’ve developed our very own Breast Safety Charter that all of our teams and surgeons follow to ensure you receive nothing but the very best care.