There's no denying that a multiple pregnancy takes a toll on a mother's body. The physical demands of growing more than one baby means that a body must expand larger, stretch further and work harder. Even after the babies are born, the effects linger on. The legacy of stretch marks, sagging breasts and shriveled excess skin remains long after the babies leave the womb. This series of pictures from The Shape of a Mother depicts the expanding midsection of a triplet pregnancy from six to thirty-six weeks, and also includes some pictures of the mother's abdomen at three months postpartum. The pictures can be startling, clearly showing how a woman's body accommodates a multiple pregnancy, as well as the ravages -- and benefits! -- that are left once pregnancy concludes.
What do you think? Are the physical effects a badge of honor? Or something to be erased and amended? Cosmetic surgery can correct some of the impacts of pregnancy, such as removing excess skin and fat, flattening the abdomen, improving stretch marks and tightening the muscles of abdominal wall. Mothers of multiples, whose bodies stretch and distend more than most, may have a permanent separation of their abdominal muscles that can only be corrected by surgery.
It's a difficult decision. In some cases, insurance may cover a portion of the cost for such a procedure, but most mothers must pay thousands of dollars out of pocket. This blog post at Howdoyoudoit.com describes a mom's initial consultation with a plastic surgereon, who estimated that her corrective procedure would run about $14,000. Plenty of women would rather live with their "twin skin" stomachs rather than cough up that amount of cash. And the surgery takes an emotional toll as well, putting a mom out of commission during recovery and taking time away from her family and work. A mom of quads describes her mixed feelings about the decision to undergo surgery at 4tunate.net.
What's your feeling about plastic surgery for mothers of multiples? Is it something you would pursue, or something you would avoid? Share your thoughts by voting in this week's Parent's Poll.