Should you get breast augmentation before pregnancy? Many women find themselves unable to reconcile this question with their personal preferences and family planning decisions.

There are several different types of breast augmentation surgery, and different types of implants. There are saline and silicone implants.

Saline implants, which are slightly less expensive, also require slightly smaller incisions. Why? Saline implants are inserted first, and then the empty, deflated shells are filled with saline once they have been placed. Saline solution (saline is nothing more than salt) is non-toxic; if saline implants leak, there is no health risk involved.

So what’s wrong with saline implants? If saline implants aren’t covered with sufficient breast tissue, or if they are not placed behind enough chest muscle, they can appear to ripple, and feel far less natural than regular breasts.

Saline implants, which are made of gel inside of elastomer, are unlikely to rupture or leak. They feel much more like natural breasts, and they aren’t subject to the “ripple” effect. However, since they can’t be inserted through a smaller incision, silicone implant procedures leave behind larger scars. Furthermore, silicone implants are significantly more expensive than saline implants. In the unlikely event that a silicone implant ruptures, it can be difficult to diagnose and treat.

Which kind of implant – if any – should you choose before pregnancy?

Doctors indicate that breast augmentation surgery before pregnancy may not be wise for the following reasons:

During pregnancy, breast glands enlarge and grow in preparation for breastfeeding. The glands and ducts in the breast are designed to swell and enlarge during pregnancy, regardless of whether you plan to breastfeed or not. The result of this enlargement is significant; after pregnancy and/or breastfeeding, the overall breast volume necessarily decreases. Whether saline or silicone, implants can “shift” or “drop” out of position when, after pregnancy and breastfeeding, breast volume goes back to pre-pregnancy levels.

There’s another factor to consider: under- or over-muscle implants. Most augmentation surgeries involve placing implants under the chest muscle. But if implants are placed over the chest muscle, they can move and migrate dramatically over time. Coupled with pregnancy- and breastfeeding-related changes in volume, this can spell disaster for the implants’ appearance, feel, and stability.

What should you do?

Dr. Ian Chinsee, a cosmetic surgeon from Ql Breast Implants in Brisbane (medical clinic), says this: “The hormones associated with pregnancy and the physical effects of breastfeeding, cause breasts to lose volume, soften and sag. Breast augmentation after childbirth is most often more about restoring shape and proportion than enlargement.”

It may be in your best interest to wait on implants if you’re planning a pregnancy. The long-term results you’ll get from your augmentation are unpredictable at best: pregnancy affects the body in too many ways to make it feasible to know with any degree of reliability how cosmetic surgery will affect your body.

Moreover, since pregnancy will enlarge and then deplete your breast tissue, resulting in a net sagging or swelling effect, it’s best to wait on getting corrective surgery until you know exactly how pregnancy will affect your body. You may end up wanting to consider corrective or lifting surgery after your pregnancy, or you may decide not to pursue enlargement at all.

If you’ve had a breast enlargement and your concerned about issues with breastfeeding or milk supply, rest easy. Breast enlargement and augmentation surgeries, which usually involve placing implants through the armpit or far under the lower breast tissue, do not typically interfere with the milk ducts in the breasts. Whether you’ve had implants inserted recently or in the past, you can likely go on to breastfeed your newborn without issue. If you’re concerned about how your implants could affect your ability to breastfeed, you should contact your primary care physician or obstetrician for a check-up and a breast exam.

*This is a sponsored article. The views expressed in the article those of the guest writer.