Many women consider getting breast implants to enhance their appearance. However, those thinking about implants who plan to have children in the future should consider how implants may impact breastfeeding. In addition, it may affect when the woman should become pregnant. What should a woman know about getting implants before, during, and after pregnancy?
Getting Implants Before Pregnancy
The ideal time for a woman to get breast implants is often at least a year or more before becoming pregnant, if that is in her plans. Getting implants well in advance of pregnancy allows the breasts ample time to fully heal and settle into their new shape. The implants will then be an established part of the body by the time you conceive. A woman needs to think about things like this before and after getting implant.
During recovery, it is common to experience breast pain, swelling, bruising, and changes in nipple sensation that usually subside within a few weeks. In the long run, implant rupture, capsular contracture around the implant causing hardness and displacement, and infection are possible risks. Scarring from the incisions is permanent. Overall, complications and long-term side effects do not occur frequently when the surgery is performed by a qualified plastic surgeon. Discussing risks thoroughly with your doctor is important when considering breast implants.
If you get implants immediately before becoming pregnant, you’ll have to deal with these frustrating recovery symptoms throughout the entire pregnancy. That would make an already uncomfortable time even more challenging. Waiting until after having children avoids this issue so you can focus on your health during pregnancy.
Implants During Pregnancy
Plastic surgeons and obstetricians strongly recommend against undergoing breast augmentation surgery during pregnancy. The changes the body goes through during pregnancy can negatively impact the implant procedure itself, as well as your recovery.
Hormone fluctuations and increased blood flow during pregnancy radically affect the breasts. They enlarge and prepare for lactation as the due date approaches. Getting implants during these unpredictable changes means they may not heal or fit properly long term.
The risks of anesthesia and anti-inflammatory medications from augmentation surgery can also potentially harm the developing fetus. Doctors advise waiting until at least three to six months after giving birth to undergo any type of breast implant procedure.
Breastfeeding with Implants
Some women with implants may have difficulty producing milk due to unrelated factors like poor latch or infrequent nursing. Overall, studies show that women with implants generally produce the same amount of milk and breastfeed for similar durations as women without implants. With proper lactation support, most women with implants can successfully breastfeed their babies.
During breastfeeding, milk ducts expand and breasts swell and enlarge to store milk. Implants may physically obstruct milk ducts and prevent the breasts from accommodating these changes. Women with implants also often have difficulty pumping out adequate milk supply for the baby.
If you wish to breastfeed in the future, strongly consider waiting until after doing so to get implants. Wait at least 6 months after breastfeeding before considering surgery. Of course, many women with implants can still nurse without issue, especially if the implants are placed under the muscle.
Strategic timing gives the body plenty of time to recover before or after the major changes of conceiving, carrying a child, and nursing. Be sure to voice any questions or concerns to the doctor when planning out a timeline if you wish to have implants someday as well as children.