Breast Augmentation and Pregnancy

Women looking to have breast augmentation surgery are often concerned about future pregnancy and how the procedure could affect their future baby and breast feeding. It is recommended that women wait until they have had their children before having a breast augmentation. After breast-feeding, especially when a woman has more than one child, it is natural to notice shrinkage and sagging in the breasts and the breasts may even become asymmetrical. Thus, the best time to have a breast augmentation is when you aren’t planning on having any more children. However, if for some reason you simply cannot wait until you have had your children before having your breast augmentation surgery, the breast implants will pose no threat to you having a healthy, normal pregnancy. And in the same light, your pregnancy will pose no threat to your breast implants.

Breast tissue is made up of milk-producing sacs that connect to milk ducts that meet at the nipples. Each nipple has about twenty ducts. To support these milk sacs and ducts, connective tissue surrounds them and fatty tissue protects them. Moreover, at the nipples there are sweat glands, muscle fibre, sebaceous glands and nerve endings. When a woman is pregnant her breasts will change shape and enlarge to prepare to make and store milk for her infant. This change will happen even if she has breast implants.

What may interfere with the breasts function of producing milk is the procedure used to insert the implants. When silicone gel implants are used the incision is usually under the breast or near the armpit so that it does not interfere with the breasts’ ability to produce milk. However, when saline implants are used the incisions need to be smaller and they may be made around the areola. In such cases, there is a risk that milk ducts or nerves can be cut or damaged on one or both breasts. This means that the flow of milk to the baby can be minimal, and if the nerves have been damaged the nipple can be more or less sensitive making breast-feeding difficult.

In cases where the nipple is more sensitive, breast-feeding can be uncomfortable. Where the nipple is less sensitive though, the milk may not flow freely when your baby wants to feed, so that manual stimulation may be necessary to trigger the milk to start flowing. Furthermore, it is necessary for the nerves to function properly to signal to the brain to release the hormones to promote milk production.

Unfortunately, surgery is not an exact science and every woman is different. As such, you will not know how your breasts have been affected by your breast augmentation until the time comes to start breast-feeding your infant. Some women are concerned that the silicone from their implants may leak into their milk. To date, there is no evidence to support or deny this and so one cannot say conclusively whether or not it is a valid worry. If you have concerns about pregnancy and breast augmentation, it would be best to address these with your surgeon before having your procedure.


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