Let’s Break it Down: Breast Implants Before & After Pregnancy

Pregnancy, childbirth, and nursing may change the breasts. So it isn’t a surprise that so many women ask us about breast implants before and after pregnancy.

Since this is such a common source of questions for patients considering implants, we want to break it all down. Please remember this article is for educational purposes and isn’t a substitute for personalized medical advice.

Many women get breast implants before they are ready to have a child. Breast implants shouldn’t impact the chances of a successful pregnancy or nursing. However, if you are already pregnant or currently trying to conceive, you may want to wait before having the implants put in. 

How Pregnancy May Change the Breasts

Pregnancy and nursing often change the size and shape of the breasts. The breasts may become engorged. The size may increase or decrease either temporarily or permanently. 

It may help to remember that breast tissue is partially made of both glandular and fatty tissue. Pregnancy, weight gain, and hormonal shifts may cause this tissue to grow. Also, the nipples and areola may change during pregnancy, often becoming darker in color, more prominent, or larger.

We recommend pregnant women wait until after pregnancy to get their implants. Elective surgery of any kind is generally not recommended due to the risks of surgery. If you are trying to conceive, the matter is a little more complicated. While it is safe to have breast augmentation surgery, you may find that you may want revision surgery after your pregnancy since your breasts may change. Talk with your plastic surgeon about your plans and hopes. You and your doctor may figure out the plan that best suits your needs.

If you plan to nurse or have another child immediately, you may also want to wait until that is complete. Otherwise, you may need revision surgery. While no one plan works for all women, it is important to consider the pros and cons of having breast augmentation surgery now or waiting.

Breast Augmentation Before Pregnancy

Women who hope to conceive in the near or distant future often ask whether breastfeeding will affect their ability to nurse. If this is something you hope for in your future, be sure to discuss the matter with your plastic surgeon.

Some incisions sometimes made during breast augmentation surgery involve cutting the glandular tissue. This doesn’t necessarily stop you from breastfeeding, but it may make it more difficult or even predispose you to mastitis. Your surgeon may recommend a different incision, a different type of implant, or other modifications.

Some women express concern about whether silicone may leak into breast milk. While scientific data don’t confirm this concern, some feel better about getting saline implants. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are not yet any recent clinical reports of silicone implants causing problems for babies. 

There is no one right choice for everyone, but your plastic surgeon aims to help you make the best choices for your needs.

Breast Lift Surgery After Pregnancy

After pregnancy and possibly nursing, some women find they want a breast lift to restore their pre-pregnancy figures. Some may also want to change the size of their implants. The changes to the breast after pregnancy, weight loss, and nursing vary so much by the individual. Some find their breasts increase in size, while others may find their breasts “deflate.” Breast revision surgery is common for women who already have implants following pregnancy.

Breast lift surgery is a popular procedure to include in a ‘mommy makeover” in addition to a tummy tuck. In case you are unfamiliar with the term, a “mommy makeover” is a custom-designed package of cosmetic procedures a woman may opt for after pregnancy to recover her pre-pregnancy figure. For example, a woman may choose to have a breast lift, liposuction, and tummy tuck as her “mommy makeover.” (Fun Fact: You do not have to be a mother to get a “mommy” makeover. Any paired procedures can fit into this category.)

Timing Your Breast Augmentation

There isn’t one absolute answer to the question of the best timing for a breast augmentation. While we don’t recommend it or any elective procedure during pregnancy, the topic is otherwise quite nuanced.

If you plan to become pregnant sometime over the next few years but don’t have a clear timeline, you may want to schedule an augmentation now with the understanding that your breasts may change. This depends on how you feel and whether you feel that larger breasts would enhance your quality of life now. Be sure and discuss your plans with your doctor, especially if you think you may want to nurse. Surgery that leaves the areola and glandular tissue intact is least likely to impact your future nursing options.

If you are actively trying to conceive, the choice to get augmentation now or wait is also still yours. Just consider that you may need to cancel or reschedule your operation depending on how soon you get pregnant. Depending on your budget, goals, and risk tolerance, it may make sense to wait until afterward for your augmentation. 

If you already have implants, be assured that most women can breastfeed if they want to, and the implants shouldn’t affect any other aspect of pregnancy or childbirth. The main challenge may be that the size and shape of the breasts change for many women. However, this is also true of weight gain, weight loss, menopause, and various other life changes.

Risks Associated With Breast Implants

Generally, breast implants are safe, and people have been getting them for decades. 

As with any procedure, there are risks. These include:

  • The potential need for corrections or breast implant removal if your preferences change or weight gain or pregnancy changes your breasts.
  • Capsular contracture refers to scar tissue that may form around the implant.
  • Loss of nipple sensation or other changes.
  • Breast pain
  • Silicone implants may rupture or leak.

Your doctor will discuss these and other possible risks and any specific factors that increase the likelihood of complications.

Next Steps: Schedule a Consultation

Your first step in planning your breast augmentation is to schedule a consultation. During your consultation, be sure to discuss any questions or concerns you may have about implants, whether you plan to have children or not.

The team at Charlotte Plastic Surgery is here to help you make these decisions and explore your options. Call us to schedule your consultation.