During pregnancy, women’s breast tissue stretches and shrinks significantly, first becoming engorged with milk, and then shrinking as the breast glands atrophy after breast feeding is finished. The good news is that if you had a breast augmentation and became pregnant afterwards, the implants themselves will be perfectly fine and will remain intact. However, the overall shape of your breasts may change as a result of the major physical effects of pregnancy.
What Changes Can I Expect?
Women’s breasts often change and become smaller; however, they may become larger due to weight gain, or remain the same size as before pregnancy. Unfortunately, there is no way to accurately predict what will happen to you, but you may look to your female family members for their experiences with pregnancy, breast feeding, and breast changes.
One potential effect of pregnancy is that because milk production stretches the skin of the breasts, there may be additional breast tissue or stretch marks left when pregnancy and breastfeeding are over. The stretching may have resulted in some amount of ptosis (drooping). Ptosis after pregnancy may be unaffected or worsened by the position of your implants. If you have sub-muscular implants (under the chest muscle), they will not move, and drooping breasts will not be pulled further downward by the implants. However, if you have sub-glandular implants (over the muscle), they will stay in the same spot behind the nipple tissue, adding weight to drooping breasts. In either case, the issue can be corrected with a breast lift or perhaps with larger implants. One good piece of advice: once you become pregnant, you should put on a super supportive bra, and wear it day and night, all through pregnancy and breast feeding until your breasts return to normal. This may help prevent droopiness.
Some other possible results of pregnancy are changes in the shape or enlargement of the nipples, and/or that the natural breast tissue on the upper part of the breast may lose volume after breastfeeding is finished. These issues can be addressed with a breast lift alone or combined with an areola reduction. Some factors that can affect the final shape of your breasts after pregnancy include your age, skin quality, growth in breast volume during pregnancy, and whether or not you smoke.
Are These Changes Permanent?
Before you become too worried, you should know that many women go through pregnancy and breastfeeding with or without implants and end up with perfectly pleasant breasts after lactation. They may not be identical to their former size or shape, but they look good nonetheless. Slim women with tighter quality skin who have prominent implants may actually benefit from the stretching of their breast tissue during pregnancy, as the additional tissue may be able to better accommodate the implant, and may end by looking naturally full-sized. Stretch marks developed during pregnancy may fade over time as well. The only way to know whether the changes are permanent is to wait and see what happens when you are finished lactation and your breasts have settled into their normal or slightly different shape and size.
How Soon Should I Have Corrective Surgery?
This is up to you. However, if you are planning to have more children in the future, it may be advisable to wait before having corrective surgery on your breasts. Each time you become pregnant, your breasts will undergo some form of change altering their shape or size. By waiting until your family is complete, you can avoid having multiple surgeries over the years and unnecessary scarring.
If you haven’t had breast augmentation yet and are planning to become pregnant, then it is advisable to wait until after you are done having children before undergoing the procedure. It is entirely possible to correct post-pregnancy breasts using only implants, if you haven’t had implants before. This would fix any issues with extremely light or well-hidden, minimal scarring. However, if you already have implants while pregnant, they may contribute to additional stretching, and the result may only be corrected using a breast lift, which always leaves some visible scarring.