The decision to have a breast augmentation is a very personal one, a decision that only you can make for yourself. It’s about what you want and your quality of life. There is no perfect time to have a boob job. Many women will wait until they are done having children and done breastfeeding to take the plunge, but that doesn’t mean that you have to wait. I know women who have had breast augmentation surgery after a couple of kids, knowing full well they may decide to have another baby down the line. (Cough, cough.) It’s entirely up to you. But there are a few things you will want to consider . . .
Breast Augmentation Before Babies?
When you’re pregnant (and after your baby is born), your breasts will grow with breast milk. If you’ve already had your breasts done, they will grow even bigger with milk. Sounds great, right? But wait. Pregnancy enlarges the breast gland, but after breastfeeding is finished, the gland shrinks to a smaller size, but the skin envelope stays larger. This means your breasts probably won’t be as perky as they were pre-kids. You may experience breast sagging, and will possibly need to go back under the knife to have them redone or to get a breast lift. Because of this, many surgeons will suggest waiting if you plan to become pregnant within the year.
Some women have breast augmentation before having a baby and are pleased with the outcome. It just depends on your unique anatomy. It’s completely safe to have implants before becoming pregnant, and perfectly safe to breastfeed. Your implants will not harm your baby in any way. You may experience issues with breastfeeding depending on the type of implants you select and how they are put in, so make sure to talk with your surgeon about your future breastfeeding goals. You will probably want to choose silicone implants—they are very natural-looking, and some women report breastfeeding success post-surgery.
“Breast augmentations (and reductions) could possibly affect your ability to breastfeed in the future,” says Dr. Adam Kolker, MD, in an interview with Cosmopolitan. Women who have implants often choose not to breastfeed, so the data sets on these women are relatively unclear, he says. If you have an areola incision, there’s a small risk you can damage minor ducts and or disconnect the areola complex with the central portion of the gland, hindering your ability to breastfeed. “Women who have underarm incisions or incisions in the crease of the breast should not have a problem.”
But there’s always the possibility that the breasts can change shape after pregnancy or breastfeeding.
It’s tough to predict how pregnancy and breastfeeding will affect each woman’s implants. Some women experience tremendous changes in shape or size, while others experience almost no difference (the latter is very uncommon). Smaller chested women may see fewer changes. Genetics also plays a factor—you may be able to predict change after pregnancy and breastfeeding based on what your mother experienced. But think about it this way: many women without implants have changes in their breasts after children. Many of these same women will eventually elect to have a breast lift or a lift with implants. Others will chalk it up to the childbearing process and will go on about their lives. Again, this is an important decision that you will have to make for yourself.
“Twenty-five percent of women will need another surgery after 10 years because implants don’t last forever,” says Dr. Kolker. The implant could begin to leak over time, or a “scar shell” could develop around it, warping the shape and causing a need for new implants. Weight loss, pregnancy, and change in preference are other factors that could cause a patient to seek additional surgeries after a few years, he says.
If you don’t like the idea of having multiple surgeries, you should probably wait to have your breast augmentation after you’re done having kids (if you decide to at all.) Always consult a board-certified plastic surgeon to discuss questions and concerns. He or she will be able to sort out your options and come up with the best solution for you as an individual.