After nine months of aches, pains and sleepless nights, you are finally a new mom. The joy you feel for your new baby cannot be measured, but it doesn't mean you don't feel a little self-conscious about your belly. If you're considering getting a post-pregnancy tummy tuck to help get rid of your unwanted paunch, chances are you have several questions about the surgery. Here are a few of the questions you may have about getting a tummy tuck after having a baby:

How Long Should I Wait to Get the Procedure?

Getting back into shape is a big priority for many new moms. However, if you rush into getting a tummy tuck after having a baby, you could place yourself at serious risk. According to Dr. Adam Rubinstein, a contributor to Real Self, you should wait at least three months after you have the baby before you undergo an abdominoplasty.

According to Dr. Rubenstein, if you're breast feeding, you should until your baby is completely weaned. This is because the hormonal imbalance your body suffers from during breast feeding impacts your skin's elasticity and can lead to several other potentially serious complications, including an increased risk of bleeding.

Remember, the longer you wait to have the tummy tuck, the more time you're giving your body to heal. Ideally, you should wait until you are close to your ideal weight and are feeling healthy and strong. Additionally, if you're a smoker, you should quit before undergoing the procedure. Smoking increases your risk of developing blood clots.

What Is Involved in Getting a Tummy Tuck?

Prior to the surgery, your physician will discuss all of the potential risks associated with the procedure. Once you're physically and mentally prepared to undergo the procedure, you will first be admitted to the hospital. When you are wheeled into the operating room, your anesthesiologist will administer either general anesthesia or intravenous sedation. Ask your physician about which of these options is best for you.

Once you are under sedation, your surgeon will make an incision underneath your belly button. The placement of the incision will depend upon several factors, including how much excess skin will need to be removed. Next, the surgeon will cut down the middle of your lower stomach to create two flaps.

The two flaps are then pulled apart to expose your lower abdominal muscles. The abdominal muscles are then repaired, if needed, before the excess fat is removed. The surgeon will then pull the two flaps back together and remove any excess skin. Finally, the surgeon will place tubes under your skin. These tubes will drain any excess fluid. The surgeon will then close the incisions.

What Is the Recovery Like?

After the surgeon is finished closing the incisions, they will wrap your stomach with pressure bandages. These bandages will help protect the incisions and minimize any swelling. The amount of time you will be in the hospital will depend upon several factors, including how well you are recovering. During this time, you will be in bed most of the time. You will only be allowed walk for short periods throughout the day.

Once you are released, the physician will provide you with several aftercare instructions that should be followed very closely. For example, you will need to monitor and clean your drains for several days or weeks. You will also be taught how to care for wounds, and most importantly, how to recognize the signs of a possible infection.

Signs of a post-operative infection include increased irritation and redness around the incision, a foul smelling discharge and a high fever. If you exhibit any of these signs, it is vital to contact your physician immediately.

Getting your body back after having a baby can be a very long process. An abdominoplasty can help you get back to your old self much faster, but it is important you wait until your body is healed and you are close to your ideal weight before going under the knife. For more information, check out websites like