If you’re considering getting breast implants, one big question you may have is: how will pregnancy affect your implants? Should you have breast augmentation before pregnancy or wait until after you’ve had children?
There’s no one right answer for everyone. Some women choose to get breast implants before pregnancy, then go on to have a healthy pregnancy with breast implants. Others decide to wait.
Whether you’ve already had breast augmentation and are curious about the effects on implants pregnancy has or are in the midst of pregnancy or breastfeeding and would like information on implants later, here’s everything you need to know.
Have a Healthy Pregnancy With Implants (or Without)
Whether you have implants now or you’re waiting until after pregnancy before you take the leap, it’s important to do whatever you can to have a healthy pregnancy. Pregnancy typically lasts for 40 weeks and is divided into three trimesters.
The first trimester consists of weeks one through 12. The second trimester is weeks 13 through 28 and the third trimester is weeks 29 until you deliver the baby (usually around week 39 or 40). During this process, here’s what you can do to care for your body and nurture your growing baby.
If you smoke, getting pregnant gives you a big reason to quit. Smoking during pregnancy can put your baby at risk of low birth weight, according to the Office of Women’s Health.
Babies with a low birth weight tend to have health problems immediately after birth, such as breathing difficulties and trouble eating. Low-birth-weight babies also tend to have more health difficulties later in life, such as a higher risk of diabetes and high blood pressure.
If you’re interested in getting breast implants after having children, you have yet another reason to quit smoking. Your plastic surgeon will ask you to quit at least two weeks before your surgery. Giving up the habit now will make it easier to prepare for surgery later.
Quitting smoking can also help you avoid many of the health issues linked to smoking for yourself and reduce the possibility of premature aging.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Eating a healthy diet isn’t just a good idea during pregnancy. It can also help you throughout your life.
A pregnancy diet might look a little different from a healthy diet for a person who isn’t pregnant, however. That’s because some types of food are off-limits to pregnant women. Those foods include soft cheeses, certain types of fish, and deli meats, according to WebMD.
You also want to be extra cautious about eating raw foods when pregnant. Steer clear of raw or undercooked meat and eggs. If you eat raw vegetables or fruits, make sure to clean them thoroughly first.
See Your Doctor
Prenatal medical care is critical during pregnancy. Your OB/GYN can monitor your health and the health of your developing baby.
Usually, you should see your doctor at least once during the first trimester, then every four weeks or so until the last few weeks of pregnancy. If you’re experiencing a high-risk pregnancy, you might need to go more often.
Don’t skip your appointments, as each one is essential. Your prenatal checkups give your doctor a chance to see how the baby is doing. During the check-ups, you can also get answers to your questions about childbirth and pregnancy.
In some cases, women develop conditions, such as gestational diabetes, that need management during pregnancy. Getting regular healthcare throughout the process means you’ll be able to stay as healthy as possible, increasing the chances of a healthy delivery.
Exercise is fine, and even recommended, during pregnancy for many women. Being physically active can help prepare your body for the challenges of labor and delivery and can help ease up any joint aches or pains associated with pregnancy.
It’s a good idea to check in with your doctor before starting any exercise programs during pregnancy, particularly if you were relatively inactive before. Even if you were active prior to pregnancy, it’s still a good idea to check in with your doctor to see what’s safe and what isn’t.
Be Conscious of Weight Gain
Weight gain is natural and to be expected when you’re pregnant, but too much weight gain can increase your risk of health issues and complications. If you’re concerned about weight gain, talk to your doctor to find out what the recommended limit is, based on your weight before pregnancy.
A general rule of thumb is for women who were a normal weight to gain around 25 pounds during pregnancy. Women who were underweight can gain up to 40 pounds while women who were obese before pregnancy can gain up to 20 pounds.
Be Careful About What You Drink
Can you drink alcohol or have caffeinated beverages while pregnant? It seems that a moderate amount of caffeine, such as the amount found in 12 ounces of coffee, is fine for many women during pregnancy.
Alcohol is a different story. It’s not known whether any amount of alcohol is safe to drink when pregnant. You probably want to avoid any alcoholic beverages until you give birth.
How Having a Baby Changes Your Breasts
Pregnancy and childbirth change a lot of things about your life. You may have to shuffle your schedule around or leave your job (at least temporarily) to stay home with your new baby. Pregnancy also brings lots of physical changes, including weight gain, stretch marks, and an expanding midsection.
While many people focus on the changes that happen to the stomach area during and after pregnancy, having a baby also changes your breasts. If you decide to breastfeed, the changes to your breasts can be even more dramatic. Here’s what you can expect to happen to your breasts throughout this process, from the time you discover you’re pregnant through breastfeeding.
For some women, the first sign of pregnancy isn’t morning sickness or a plus sign on a pregnancy test, but a change in the way their breasts feel. As your body starts producing more and more hormones, the breasts are likely to feel tender or even sore to the touch. Some women also notice a tingling sensation in their breasts during the early stages of pregnancy.
Sore breasts during pregnancy are usually a result of changes in your hormones, as well as changes in blood flow to the breasts. Increased water retention during pregnancy can also make your breasts sore and tender, according to the American Pregnancy Association.
Another change some women notice during pregnancy is a change in the color of their nipples or areolas. Often, the nipples will become darker in color during pregnancy. For some women, the change is permanent, but others see their nipples return to the original color after giving birth.
Since there is often increased blood flow to the breasts during pregnancy, it’s also somewhat common for any veins in the area to become more visible. You might be able to see blue veins just underneath the skin of your breasts while you wait for your baby’s birth.
The breast change that women talk about most during pregnancy is the change in size. Many women see their breasts get bigger when they are pregnant. Often, the breasts can swell and increase in size by about two cup sizes. The initial change in size is usually due to an increase in hormone levels.
For many women, the increase in breast size during pregnancy means that they need to invest in a few new bras. You might need to buy a bunch of different sizes over the course of your pregnancy, as there is a possibility that your breasts’ size will fluctuate slightly.
You might notice that you have to buy different styles of bra, as well. For example, due to the bigger breast size caused by pregnancy, many women find themselves wearing full-coverage or extra supportive bras while pregnant.
After you’ve given birth, you’re also likely to notice a change in your breast size. This is especially true if you decide to breastfeed. As your milk comes in, a process called engorgement takes place. Your milk glands swell with milk, making your breasts bigger.
Other Breast Changes
Some women notice that their breasts start leaking early in the second trimester of their pregnancy. The fluid that might leak from the nipples is colostrum, the earliest form of breast milk.
Colostrum is a “superfood” for a newborn baby, according to the American Pregnancy Association. It’s a thick, sticky fluid that can be yellow or white in color.
While all pregnant women produce colostrum, not all women experience leakage. You might see some leaking from your nipples or you might not. Either is perfectly normal.
You might also notice the formation of tiny bumps around your nipples. Those bumps are called Montgomery’s tubercles. Around 50% of pregnant women notice them, according to Healthline.
The tubercles produce oil that helps to lubricate the breasts. The oil can also help to clean the breasts and nipples, keeping breast milk from becoming contaminated.
Natural Breast Size Affects Pregnancy Breast Changes
One thing that’s worth noting about pregnancy and breast changes is that the size of your natural breasts can impact how much your breasts will change while you’re pregnant. Usually, women with less breast tissue notice fewer changes to their breasts when pregnant. The more breast tissue you have, the more changes you might see, particularly after birth and breastfeeding.
How Breastfeeding Changes the Breasts
Before you got pregnant, you were probably already expecting the inevitable body changes involved with having children. You probably expected to gain weight, to notice a change in your hair, and maybe to develop that pregnancy glow. What you might not have expected were the dramatic changes to your breasts that can occur as a result of breastfeeding.
While the chance to breastfeed is an experience many women wouldn’t trade for anything in the world, it can still cause some major physical changes. Changes can vary from woman to woman, but here’s a general idea of what you can expect to experience after breastfeeding.
As they say, what goes up must come down. Many women see an increase in breast size while breastfeeding. Once they finish breastfeeding, they are likely to see another change in the shape and size of the breasts.
The swelling of the glands during breastfeeding can stretch out the skin in the breasts. While it’s possible for the skin to bounce back or regain its original shape after pregnancy and breastfeeding, many women notice that their breasts just aren’t as perky as before.
If you have noticed that your breasts have become saggy or look deflated after pregnancy and breastfeeding, a breast lift with or without implants can help to restore them to a more youthful position and perkier shape. It’s a good idea to wait to schedule your breast lift until after you’re finished having children, as future pregnancies can affect your results.
Just as some women feel tenderness or tingling in their breasts while pregnant, many women also feel a tingling sensation in their breasts when they breastfeed. The tingling is often caused by the flow of milk in the breasts and usually occurs right before the baby starts feeding. For some women, the sensation is strongest when they first start to breastfeed and becomes less noticeable as they continue to feed their babies.
When you breastfeed, your body creates additional milk-producing cells to keep your little one fed. The flow of milk through your breasts and the volume of milk (up to one liter per day) can affect the size of your breasts while you’re nursing. The high volume of milk can cause the skin to stretch.
After you’ve weaned your baby, your body will clean up the extra milk-producing cells. Your breasts might go back to their original “pre-baby” size or they might be a little bigger or smaller. Your skin, on the other hand, might be permanently stretched out. Many women notice that the skin around their breasts becomes looser after breastfeeding.
You might find that your breasts change in position or shape after you breastfeed. Many women’s breasts are slightly asymmetrical to start with. The changes that occur with pregnancy can highlight this unevenness.
For example, in some cases, one breast will fill up with more milk than the other one. The enlarged breast might experience more changes after breastfeeding, such as more sagging skin or an overall change in size and shape as compared to the other breast.
Changes in the Nipples
Your nipples will change throughout pregnancy and when breastfeeding. During pregnancy, it’s common for the nipples to darken and get bigger. As the glands around the areola get bigger, the nipples may protrude from the breasts even more.
Once you stop breastfeeding, you can expect your nipples to change again. They usually get smaller and are likely to become lighter in color.
Remember: Everyone is Different
Breastfeeding doesn’t change every woman’s breasts in exactly the same way. You might hear stories from your friends about how breastfeeding left them with breasts that were deflated and saggy, but you might not have the same experience. Several factors can influence the changes that happen as a result of breastfeeding.
Your age, skin elasticity, your history of smoking, and your weight or body mass index might all play some role in determining how your breasts change from breastfeeding. The number of kids you’ve had and how long you decide to breastfeed also play a part.
It’s also worth noting that how quickly you wean your children can affect your breasts too. Women who stop breastfeeding suddenly might be more likely to notice lumpiness in their breasts as their milk dries up compared to women who wean their children slowly.
Breast Implants and Pregnancy Symptoms
The symptoms of early pregnancy with breast implants are likely to be the same as those in women who don’t have implants. Your breasts might be sore or tingling and you’re likely to feel tired, achy, and nauseated.
Some women who have implants notice that their breasts feel sore compared to their pregnant friends who don’t have implants. Generally speaking, though, breast implants and pregnancy pain don’t seem to be connected. Don’t expect pregnancy symptoms with breast implants to be much different from standard signs and symptoms.
Getting Breast Implants Before Pregnancy
If you’re like many women, you know that you definitely want to have kids someday, but you’re not sure when that someday will be. You might also know that you want to increase your breast size with implants sooner rather than later.
Depending on your goals, it can make sense to have breast augmentation before you get pregnant. For example, if you’re in your 20s and don’t see yourself finding a partner or wanting a child until your 30s, there’s no reason to delay breast augmentation.
One thing many women worry about when considering breast augmentation before pregnancy is whether the surgery and implants will affect their future fertility. Good news: the FDA has noted that implants don’t have negative effects on fertility or pregnancy. Women with implants don’t have an increased risk of miscarriage, nor are they less likely to get pregnant than women without implants.
Another thing to know about getting implants before pregnancy is that the implants won’t have an impact on the developing fetus. Babies born to moms with implants don’t have a higher risk of birth defects or other issues.
Should you decide to have breast augmentation before getting pregnant, timing matters. Although it’s hard to say exactly how pregnancy and breastfeeding will change your breasts, one thing is for sure: they will change! If you want to maximize the time you have with your implants and enjoy the results of your surgery for the longest possible time, the sooner you have your breast surgery, the better.
However, pregnancy presents risks to the appearance of the implants by affecting the shape and size of the breasts themselves. Since pregnancy can change the breasts in somewhat unpredictable ways, it might undo some of the work done by previous breast augmentation surgery.
When Implants Before Pregnancy Make Sense
Your age and family plans have the biggest impact on whether it makes sense to have breast augmentation before you have kids or afterward. If you are young, such as in your early 20s, and you know that you want to wait years before you start building your family, having breast augmentation before getting pregnant makes sense.
Going forward with breast augmentation before you get pregnant also makes sense if you aren’t sure of what your future plans are. You don’t want to delay having the surgery you want because you may or may not end up getting pregnant at some point.
When You Might Want to Wait Until After Pregnancy
Waiting to have breast augmentation until after you’ve had kids makes sense in certain situations. For example, if you are 30 and you know that you will start your family within the next year or two, it makes sense to postpone getting breast implants until after you’ve finished having children and breastfeeding your last child if you wish to do so.
Depending on how many kids you have and how far apart your pregnancies are, you might end up postponing breast augmentation until your 40s or even later. At that point, you might consider combining the surgery with other procedures, such as a tummy tuck, as part of a mommy makeover.
Once you start having kids, your best option is to wait to get breast augmentation, as there is a chance that additional pregnancies or breastfeeding will further change the size and shape of your breasts. Ideally, you won’t schedule your breast augmentation in the time between pregnancies. Doing so can mean that you need a breast implant revision procedure later on to lift the breasts and perhaps swap out your old breast implants.
How Long After Breast Augmentation Should You Wait Before Getting Pregnant?
It’s important to give your body time to heal after surgery before you get pregnant. If pregnancy is something you see in the near future, you should probably consider postponing your surgery until after you’ve given birth and are done breastfeeding, as doing so will eliminate the chance of the pregnancy causing additional changes to your breasts.
But, let’s say you recently had breast augmentation and you’ve decided to start a family. It’s best to wait at least six months or so after the surgery to start trying to get pregnant. Waiting six months gives your body time to heal and allows your implants time to settle in.
What happens if you planned on waiting to get pregnant, but things didn’t go as planned? If you unintentionally end up pregnant within a couple of months of your breast augmentation surgery, things should be fine. You’ll be able to have a healthy pregnancy, as long as you work with your OB/GYN and continue to follow up with your plastic surgeon.
Getting Pregnant After Breast Augmentation: What Should You Expect?
Some women decide to have plastic surgery after they have been pregnant, choosing procedures such as a mommy makeover to help them get their pre-baby body back. Others might choose to have surgery before having a baby, either because they aren’t sure if they’ll have kids or because pregnancy is something that remains far in the future. Fortunately, pregnancy with breast implants is typically very safe.
Having plastic surgery, such as breast augmentation, won’t affect your ability to get pregnant later on. But the pregnancy itself might cause changes to your appearance that will affect the results of your surgery. Although everyone is different, it can be useful to know what to expect if you get pregnant after getting breast implants.
Will You Be Able to Breastfeed?
Getting breast implants usually doesn’t affect your ability to breastfeed your baby. If you are particularly concerned about the issue, it’s a good idea to discuss it with your plastic surgeon before moving forward with breast augmentation.
Your surgeon can make decisions about the placement of the implants and the positioning of the incisions that would minimize the potential impact on your ability to breastfeed afterward.
For example, submuscular placement of the implants is less likely to affect breastfeeding compared to subglandular placement. Making the incision in the crease of the breast, rather than around the nipples, is also less likely to affect breastfeeding.
Along with being concerned about being able to breastfeed your baby, you might be worried about the safety of breastfeeding with implants. Tests of breast milk from women who had silicone implants and from women who did not have implants found little to no difference in the levels of silicone detected in the milk. Whether you have implants or not, your breastmilk should be safe for your baby.
Breast Implants After Pregnancy and Nursing
Breast augmentation is often one of the surgeries included in the mommy makeover process, due to pregnancy’s effects on the breasts. Women who decide to get implants after they’ve had kids usually do so because they aren’t happy with the way their breasts look after they’ve delivered babies and breastfed them.
Just as timing is important if you decide to have breast augmentation before you become a mother, it’s important if you decide to wait until after you’ve had kids.
Usually, it’s a good idea to wait to get implants until you’re 100% sure you’re finished having kids and breastfeeding. Another pregnancy can change the results of your breast surgery, meaning you might have to have a second procedure.
Some women also choose to wait until their children are older before they schedule surgery. Older kids are usually better able to care for themselves and require less hands-on attention from their parents. It can be difficult to recover from plastic surgery while still caring for a toddler or preschooler.
Revising Your Implants After Pregnancy
You got implants at age 25 and loved them. Then, you got pregnant at age 35. Even if the pregnancy didn’t change your body drastically, you might find that you’re no longer in love with the size and shape of your breasts.
Women who already have implants can decide to exchange or remove them to change the shape and size of their breasts.
There are many reasons why you might choose implant exchange after childbirth and breastfeeding. Before, you might have wanted a certain breast size, but now that you have kids, you’re finding that your breasts are too large or that they get in the way. You have the option of swapping your old, too-big implants for a smaller pair.
It could also be the case that you originally chose saline implants and now want to switch to the softer, more natural feel of silicone.
Some women develop asymmetry in their breasts after breastfeeding. Your implants might have been perfectly even before but due to changes in your body might now be out of balance. Replacing the implants can help you regain symmetry.
Facts and Myths Surrounding Breast Enhancement and Breastfeeding
Breast augmentation is a huge commitment of both time and money, so it’s important to address any reservations or concerns you may have before you choose to move forward with the surgery.
One common concern about breast enhancement surgery is that it will have a negative impact on a woman’s ability to breastfeed. Below, we’ve addressed the top myths about breastfeeding and breast enhancement surgery and presented the facts so you can make an informed decision about what’s right for you.
Myth #1: Breastfeeding is Impossible After Getting Breast Enhancement Surgery
Unfortunately, there’s a common misconception that breast augmentation automatically eliminates a woman’s ability to breastfeed. Thankfully, this isn’t true for most women.
In actuality, the majority of breast enhancement surgeries do not result in any negative results, let alone lasting complications that affect lactation or the ability to breastfeed. In fact, the CDC’s official stance on how breast enhancement surgery and breastfeeding are related is that there is “insufficient evidence…to classify silicone implants as a contraindication to breastfeeding.”
This myth probably exists due to a lack of information about how breast implant procedures are performed, along with general preconceived, old-fashioned, and unfounded judgments about plastic surgery.
Some statistics report that women who undergo breast surgery are three times more likely to experience insufficient lactation. However, these reports often leave out that this “threefold” refers to 22 out of 319 women, of whom only 5 received breast augmentation. Not only is the report misleading as a whole, but it is far too small a group to represent the huge number of women who opt for breast augmentation every year.
Fact #1: Different Breast Surgery Techniques Can Affect Breastfeeding Potential Differently
When it comes to breast surgery and how it affects one’s ability to produce milk, it’s all about the incision and where the implant is placed. The majority of incisions for implant placement are made in the crease of the breast, where the implant can be placed behind the pectoral muscle. With this method, there is no interference or damage to the milk ducts, and therefore, lactation.
In some instances, though, the incision is made around the areola—often for cosmetic reasons—or the implant is placed on top of the pectoral muscle. In some rare instances, these methods of a breast augmentation procedure can affect multiple parts of the breast and may inhibit a woman’s ability to breastfeed. These methods can potentially disrupt or damage nerves that upset the breast’s ability to produce adequate breast milk.
Luckily, though, most surgeons don’t perform breast enhancement procedures in this manner, except when requested. Discussing your concerns about breastfeeding with your surgeon will help ensure that you have your enhancement done in a way that keeps your functional breast systems intact.
Myth #2: Breastfeeding Can Ruin the Way a Breast Augmentation Looks
Pregnancy and lactation absolutely affect the way the breasts look, as these natural processes can cause breasts to appear larger and heavier, and as a result, potentially start to sag once hormone levels return to normal. However, there is no conclusive evidence to support the idea that breastfeeding will affect the way your breast implants look.
Breast implants are typically made of either silicone or saline. Neither substance can be affected by the production or presence of breast milk. Therefore, augmented breasts will keep their shape whether you are breastfeeding or not. It is important to realize, however, that the surrounding tissue will still change.
Fact #2: Breast Shape and Condition Prior to Surgery Can Affect Lactation
Whether one decides to get breast augmentation or not, there are a variety of other factors that can affect someone’s ability to lactate normally. Women whose breasts never fully developed prior to breast augmentation may experience difficulty breastfeeding regardless of whether or not they have had breast surgery.
Typical breast development doesn’t only affect the shape of the breasts, but also things like hormones that contribute to breast milk production.
Myth #3: Breastfeeding With Implants Is Dangerous for the Baby
It’s natural to want what’s best for your little one and to be concerned about causing them harm. Many women are concerned about the safety of breastfeeding with implants, particularly silicone implants.
According to the FDA, studies haven’t found any risk to babies who are breastfed by mothers who have implants. One study that measured silicone levels in breast milk didn’t find a detectable difference in the levels of silicone in women who had implants and women who didn’t.
Whether you get breast implants before or after pregnancy depends on your particular situation. If you plan on getting pregnant in the near future, you might want to wait to have breast augmentation. But if pregnancy is years away, getting implants now can help boost your confidence in your appearance.
That depends on how much the breasts change due to pregnancy and breastfeeding. Your post-pregnancy breast implants might look the same as they did before pregnancy or you might notice a change in the shape and size of your breasts. The implants themselves should not be affected.
Usually, any type of plastic surgery isn’t recommended during pregnancy, due to the inherent risks of the surgery. It’s also not a good idea to get implants while you’re pregnant because the pregnancy itself is likely to change your breasts, affecting the results of your surgery.
While your breasts are likely to grow when you’re pregnant due to hormone changes, the implants themselves will stay exactly the same.
Breast implants are stable devices and aren’t likely to be damaged or ruined by pregnancy. Your breasts might look different after your pregnancy but the implants themselves will be the same.
What will my breast implants look like after pregnancy?
Your implants will likely look the same after pregnancy as they did before pregnancy, although your breasts as a whole are likely to look different.
How soon after pregnancy can I get breast augmentation?
You should wait a while after pregnancy and delivery before getting breast augmentation because your body will need time to heal. Usually, waiting at least six months, if not longer, is recommended.
Will I be able to breastfeed with implants?
Many women are able to successfully breastfeed with breast implants. If you’re concerned about it, you can talk to your plastic surgeon before your implant surgery. How they position the implants can affect your ability to breastfeed later.
Can I get pregnant with implants?
You can safely get pregnant if you have breast implants. You don’t need to remove them before pregnancy.
Dr. Paul Vitenas is a board-certified plastic surgeon in Houston, Texas who’s been named one of the area’s top breast surgeons. To learn more about pregnancy and breast augmentation, call 830.476.5947 or book an online consultation at his practice today.