Post-Baby Body Changes

Changes in Your Breasts

  • The reality: For many women, post-baby breasts are smaller and saggier.
  • The reason: The whole idea seems counterintuitive, because during pregnancy most of us have enviable cleavage. By the time the baby is born, your breasts might be twice as big as they were pre-pregnancy, thanks to the fact that your body is revving them up to produce milk. All that pressure causes the Cooper's ligaments, which run from the chest wall down to the nipples and provide support, to loosen. After birth, while your breasts are busy making milk, they'll expand even more. But as soon as the milk supply stops -- regardless of whether you breastfeed or not -- "the ligaments are left looser and further stretched out, causing the breasts to shrink and sag," says Gerald F. Joseph, MD, medical director for women's services at St. John's Regional Medical Center, in Springfield, Missouri. Some other contributing factors are weight gain and hormone fluctuations.
  • The relief: There are a few cosmetic tricks you can try. To minimize sagginess, try exercises such as chest presses, which are aimed at strengthening the pectoralis muscles of the chest wall, and be sure to wear well-made supportive bras. If you're bent on having cute perky breasts again, though, plastic surgery may be the only way to go.

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