Dr. Lena Fan: Top treatments to consider post-pregnancy
Your body is bound to change after pregnancy – I know this myself, having just given birth to a beautiful baby boy a few months ago.
Beyond the obvious transformations in shape and size from accommodating a baby in your belly, hormone changes brought on by pregnancy can result in unexpected yet drastic changes such as hair loss and pigmentation. Labour and delivery also often cause equally major changes as the vaginal canal grows lax and the skin around your once-full belly begins to sag.
Despite these expected occurrences, our cultural obsession with pre and post pregnancy bodies still remains strong – and is further fueled by celebrities setting the standards for postpartum bodies.
It is hence not uncommon for new mothers to undergo aesthetic procedures to bring back their body’s youthful image. In the past, invasive surgeries such as tummy tucks and liposuction were the rage; fortunately, there is no need for that now with new aesthetic technologies that allow drastic improvements with minimally invasive treatments.
If you’ve just given birth or are a soon-to-be mummy, here are my top recommendations to help you regain confidence for concerns ranging from weight loss, hair loss, to vaginal rejuvenation.
It is normal to gain excess fats during pregnancy. These fats often collect around the stomach area and, while some may be shed through diet and exercise, there are also fats that refuse to disappear despite these efforts.
TREATMENTS TO LOSE POST-PARTUM FATS & TIGHTEN LOOSE SKIN
The following are the treatments I recommend to deal with your stubborn postpartum abdominal fats:
CoolSculpting is best for eliminating subcutaneous fat (think jiggly, excess skin) during pregnancy. With Coolsculpt, fat cells are exposed to extremely cold temperatures, which leads to “apoptosis” or their natural death. The frozen fat cells are then processed by the body and released as waste. You can expect to see up to 27% fat loss around your stomach with Coolsculpt.
CoolSculpting is often done in combination with truSculpt iD, a RF-based treatment that helps to reduce subcutaneous fat and tighten loose skin.
Read to find out how CoolSculpt compares to existing fat freezing technologies.
As visceral fat is stored deep in our body around the organs and not pinchable like subcutaneous fats, many postpartum mummies often underestimate how much visceral fat can be put on during pregnancy and the dangers it can bring.
Using low frequency BioEnergetic fields, Redustim targets visceral fat that cling to major organs like the kidney and liver.
Clinical trials have shown that a monthly programme of 12 sessions of Redustim see an average of 6cm fat loss in the abdominal area. One 45-minute session has been shown to burn up to 900kcal.
Read to find out how Redustim works.
- truSculpt flex
Diastasis recti is a postpartum condition that causes the right and left abdominal muscles to weaken and widen, resulting in a bulging belly. This condition is one of the reasons why many new mothers still look pregnant weeks and even months after giving birth.
truSculpt flex is a device used for sculpting, toning, and strengthening the stomach muscles by using Bio-Electrical Muscle Stimulation (BEMS) to deliver electrical impulses to the muscle nerves and stimulate contraction in the abdominal muscles. A 45-minute session of Trusculpt Flex is equivalent to 54,000 crunches, leaving a firmer and more toned abdomen.
Find out how truSculpt flex can assist you in your desire to achieve a slim, toned body.
FOR THOSE EXPERIENCING SAGGING BUSTS
Many think sagging breasts in breastfeeding mothers are a result of breastfeeding itself, but the sagging actually occurs after nursing. When breastfeeding is weaned off and milk stops flowing through ducts, breast tissue shrinks. The overlying skin that was once stretched now sags due to the loss of volume in the breast
A procedure I usually advise my patients to undergo in order to restore the youthful features of their sagging breasts following breastfeeding is the breast lifting laser. Granted, breast lifts or breast implants are primary options for severe sagging – but women who are not looking for a dramatic increase in volume can choose breast lifting lasers to subtly give their bosom a more attractive lift and form.
This procedure is also non-surgical, which is perfect for women who do not wish to undergo the agony of longer downtimes and possible complications brought about by surgery. It is also safe during breastfeeding, although the best time for patients to go through a breast lifting laser treatment is after most pregnancy and nursing-related breast changes have resolved.
Vaginal laxity happens when the vaginal wall and surrounding structures stretch due to traumatic or multiple vaginal deliveries. This condition may reduce a woman’s quality of life as it can have an impact on sexual satisfaction. Stress urinary incontinence may also develop after pregnancy and childbirth due to a weakening of the pelvic floor muscles. For treatment, I suggest undergoing vaginal laser tightening, or Fotona IntimaLase.
Fotona IntimaLase is a laser treatment that uses a non-ablative laser pulse duration to photothermally stimulate the production of collagen and elastin in the vaginal mucosal surface, which leads to the thickening of the vaginal wall and a strengthening of its surrounding structures.
Many patients often report back with better quality sex life, on top of improvements in conditions associated with pregnancy and childbirth , such as stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. Several studies also account the same – find out all about vaginal rejuvenation here.
As compared to vaginoplasty, laser vaginal tightening is a much safer and cheaper option.
Postpartum hair loss is a common condition experienced by moms after giving birth. This extreme hair shedding is caused by the drastic change in hormones as levels of estrogen fall. Now, I’m proud of Veritas Clinic’s stellar track record in treating hair loss with hair transplants, however, because postpartum hair loss is but a temporary occurrence, I wouldn’t recommend something as invasive as a FUE hair transplant yet. Instead, hair restart laser combined with topical hair products such as CG210/Minoxidil is a much better alternative.
For this treatment, Fotona’s Smooth Er:YAG fractional non-ablative laser is used to restore hair. Laser energy is delivered to the scalp that triggers production of new collagen which helps strengthen scalp tissues. The scalp’s improved response to the laser’s photobiomodulation paves the way for dormant hair follicles to awaken, and further stimulate active hair follicles . You will be able to see notable hair growth a month after one session of the treatment.
If you think your hair loss warrants a hair transplant, do give this article written by my colleague Dr Chua a read.
Pregnancy-induced hormonal changes can trigger increased melanin production, resulting in skin darkening to areas of our body, also known as hyperpigmentation. This may develop as melasma on our faces, or a darkened midline on the tummy named the “linear nigra”. Besides these, darkening commonly affects private areas such as the nipples and external genitalia, or areas of increased friction like the underarms and groins. You may also notice that existing pigmentation (eg freckles) deepened in colour.
Melasma is a relapsing and remitting pigmentation disorder that primarily affects women. It typically shows up on the face as grey-brown patches, although some individuals can get it on their neck and arms too. When melasma develops during pregnancy, it is known as cholesma, or “the mask of pregnancy”, mainly attributable to the drastic fluctuations in hormones.
However, other important factors such as sun exposure and unsuitable skincare may worsen the dark patches. Therefore, it is important to employ certain lifestyle changes to control melasma on top of treating it.
First and foremost, using a broad spectrum sunblock daily and staying out of the sun goes a long way in limiting the progression of melasma. Other helpful changes will be to avoid heated areas such as saunas and to use mild skincare that does not irritate your skin and worsen the condition.
Due to hormonal changes experienced during pregnancy, it is not uncommon for many mummies to notice a darkening in certain parts of the body– especially private areas like the nipples, armpits and genitals.
To treat hyperpigmentation in such regions, I like to employ whitening lasers. Because pigmentation exists across different layers of the skin at various depths, I use a combination of lasers to achieve a multilayered targeted treatment. Some examples of lasers include the Fotona Starwalker Picolaser, Fotona Versa 3, and the Quadrostar Pro Yellow Laser. This treatment (i.e. underarm whitening) can be used concurrently with topical lightening products (my choice is the hydroquinone-free Cyspera), and oral whitening supplements to achieve optimal results.
Whitening lasers are powerful tools, so take my advice and only receive treatment from doctors who know and are certified to use these machines. It is also important to have a thorough medical examination done first to rule out dangerous or cancerous skin disease prior to scheduling any treatment.
Lastly, never attempt to use hydroquinone in these delicate areas as it may worsen pigmentation and cause skin irritation.
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