You’re considering a procedure such as an eyelid lift when you get the news: you’re pregnant. While you’re excited by the news, you’re now left wondering if you should go ahead with your surgery or wait until after you give birth. For the most part, plastic surgery during pregnancy isn’t recommended. Your surgeon will most likely advise you to wait until several months after your delivery before you even consider a procedure.
Risks of Surgery While Pregnant
Although working with an experienced facial plastic surgeon will minimize the risks and complications that can occur after surgery, there’s no way to guarantee that a procedure will go off without any issues or problems. While the small risk of complications such as bleeding is usually minimal enough that people in good health have procedures performed on a regular basis, introducing a developing fetus into the equation changes things.
When a surgeon has to worry about the health of a mother and a developing baby, there is an increased risk for complications or other issues during surgery. For example, the fetus will also have to be monitored if any anesthesia is used. Additionally, pregnant women tend to have reduced immune function, which can increase their risk for developing infections during or after a surgery.
Not all types of surgery are off the table when a woman is pregnant, but anything elective usually is. A surgeon might perform a procedure that would save the life of the mother, such as an emergency appendectomy, even during pregnancy.
What About Injectables?
Since facial plastic surgery is off the table during pregnancy, you might wonder if less invasive options, such as injectables, are as well. In most cases, it’s best to err on the side of caution and avoid treatments such as Botox or dermal fillers until after your baby is born.
There haven’t been many studies conducted that look at the impact a treatment with Botox will have on a fetus, nor have there been many studies about the effect a treatment with dermal fillers would have on a baby during pregnancy. Since there is no way to say whether an injection is definitely safe or definitely not safe, your surgeon will most likely recommend that you wait until after delivery or even until after you’ve finished nursing.
You might also find that you don’t need a touch-up or new treatment with a filler during your pregnancy. Although fluid retention can be a pain elsewhere in the body, when it occurs on your face, it can help you look more youthful by filling in your wrinkles and lines. Hormonal changes that take place during pregnancy can also give you a more youthful glow, thanks to an increase in sebum production.
Skincare During Pregnancy
Surgery is definitely off limits when you’re pregnant, as are injections. But, what about the products you use on your skin? Depending on the ingredients in those products, they might be off-limits, too.
Whether your concern is acne or aging, there are some ingredients that can pose a risk to your unborn child and that should be avoided or used with caution during your pregnancy. Retin-A, also called tretinoin, a prescription strength retinoid, should be avoided when pregnant, as there is a risk of the medicine causing birth defects. In many cases, surgeons will only prescribe the medication to people who are using a dependable birth control method.
While weaker retinoids, such as those found in over-the-counter anti-aging creams, might not be strong enough to pose a big risk during pregnancy, your doctor might recommend that you avoid using them, as well, at least until after the baby is born and after you’re finished nursing.
Other ingredients that are usually off-limits during pregnancy include salicylic acid or other forms of beta-hydroxy acids. Ingesting salicylic acid when pregnant can cause complications or birth defects. Although a topical version of the ingredient will be generally a lot weaker than an oral version, many doctors advise playing it safe and avoiding beta hydroxy acids in any form when you’re pregnant.
You have other options for taking care of your skin during your pregnancy. If pimples or acne is an issue, your doctor might recommend using a product containing sulfur on the area, or might prescribe an antibacterial product to help control your acne. You’ll also want to keep using sunscreen throughout your pregnancy, to minimize the signs of aging and to protect your skin from burns or from the risk of developing skin cancer.
Dr. Jessica Kulak, an aging face specialist at the Naderi Center in Virginia and Maryland, can answer any additional questions you have about what skincare products are safe to use when pregnant and which ones you’re better off avoiding for the next nine months. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Kulak at the practice in Virginia, call (703) 481-0002. For a consultation at the practice in Maryland, call (301) 222-2020 today.