Work that fat off
New mothers are increasingly taking the liposuction route to get rid of post-pregnancy fat. But how safe and effective is it? – By Priya V
The world is a cruel place, especially for anyone who is even slightly overweight. So much so, that even post-pregnancy weight is largely becoming undesirable. Take for instance the case of actor Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. After giving birth to a baby girl, she had put on a lot of weight. Her chubbiness became the talk of the town—her every appearance was examined under a microscope and the gain or loss of every kilogram was duly noticed by all and sundry.
So, new mothers are now increasingly taking to cosmetic options and surgeries such as liposuction to change how they look and get rid of that baby fat. Even doctors are now seeing twice as many patients, who are young mothers, than a few years ago.
Shreya Dhingra, who runs an image consultancy firm Your Image and I in Delhi, mentions how women are moving towards the Western body-shape—characterised by smaller waistlines and an almost straight body. She cited examples of women appointing personal trainers in the sixth month of pregnancy so that they can stay in shape even if they start showing.
“Many even appoint gynaecologists not just to help them out with birth-related niggles but also to control what they are eating,” – says Dhingra.
Ritu Khurana (name changed), a mother to a one-year-old, weighed 52kg before pregnancy. Pregnancy saw her gaining at least 20kg—her abdominal muscles came loose and her body became saggy. Low on morale, Khurana approached an image consultant. “I finally decided to opt for liposuction to sculpt my body. Of course, I pined for my baby for about a week when I was away from him, but the results have been worth it,” said a buoyant Khurana.
Most gynaecologists and cosmetic surgeons advise strictly against opting for such procedures immediately after giving birth. There are doctors who believe that at least a year should be given to the body to recover from the delivery, while others believe that six to nine months is enough. However, broadly speaking, 10 months’ wait is advisable.
The reason: A woman’s body undergoes a large number of changes during pregnancy and after it. Right from your lifestyle to the physiology, hormones and psyche—everything changes. “Apart from that, during delivery itself, there could be fluid loss, blood loss, tissue damage and the changes in size of uterus, which was expanded and has to return to its smaller size,” says Dr Manjiri Patankar Puranik, founder, InstaSculpt.
However, Dr Shahin Nooreyezdan, plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Apollo Cosmetic Clinic, cautions against seeing liposuction as a way to drop the weight gained during pregnancy. Liposuction, he says, is designed specifically to sculpt a patient’s body, not to lose weight. “Ideally, a woman must wait till the time she is lactating,” he says.
Moreover, as Dhingra pointed out, the effects of procedures such as liposuction do not last for more than a year unless you exercise or control your diet. “The weight will come back unless you eat healthy. Moreover, to shed that post-pregnancy weight, the trick is to start exercising immediately (about two months after delivery). Start with power yoga, cardio training and basic stretching exercises,” she advises.
Dr Bharathi Rajanna, consultant, gynaecology and obstetrics at Bangalore’s Columbia Asia Referral Hospital, says most women are not aware of the health complications they might face after such surgeries. “Cosmetic surgeries should be done in different sittings and only after six to nine months of delivery, women should opt for liposuction.
Moreover, you should always remember that breastfeeding will lead to significant weight loss, said Dr Anantharam.
But all the health pressures notwithstanding, more women are looking for ways to look and feel better. Many even put pressure on doctors to operate upon them. “Such people need to be counselled and explained how such surgeries can harm the body at a particular juncture. And if they still don’t understand, doctors need to say a strict no,” says Dr Nooreyezdan.
However, there are other ways of losing that weight apart from surgeries. Dr Puranik advises non-invasive and non-surgical lines of treatment. Non-surgical ultrasonic lipolysis, she says, is your best bet. “You just need to come for an hour as a lunch-time procedure, undergo the treatment and immediately notice up to three inches of fat loss from the targeted area. Additionally, post the treatment, there isn’t any limitation or rest to be taken,” she adds.
Image consultants also advise to eat right and wear apt clothes. Wear clothes that hide your worst parts and reveal the best ones. “My body became triangle-shaped post-delivery. So I took to wearing dresses and tops that are cinched at the top and flowy as you move towards the bottom,” says Anchal Vashishta, who has a seven-month-old son.
How to look your best after pregnancy?
Non-surgical ultrasonic lipolysis – You just need to come for an hour as a lunch-time procedure, undergo the treatment and immediately notice up to three inches of fat loss from the targeted area.
Other non-invasive treatments – The FDA-approved treatments such as Endermology, Radio frequency and Mesotherapy work best for body contouring, skin tightening, stubborn fat reduction and cellulite treatment.
Diet – Opt for vegetables and fruits. Drink a bowl of dal and a cup of yoghurt every day. Switch to brown sugar. Take carbohydrates in moderate capacity. And if you are a rice person, opt for brown rice.
Exercise – Start physical activity after two months of delivery. No need to do anything strenuous. Just power yoga, breathing and stretching exercises will do wonders. And don’t let anyone pamper you into staying in bed all day. Move around.
Wear clothes that suit you – Opt for flowy dresses that hide the flaws and accentuate the good parts. Wear colours that suit you and help you glow. After all, you are a new mother.