For many women, there's no greater thrill than having a baby. The act of childbirth signifies a new stage in their lives, and the arrival of their little one is a source of great joy. But some new moms find that pregnancy affects their bodies in unexpected, and unwanted, ways. Previously firm breasts may begin to sag, stomachs may go from flat to flabby, and stretch marks and fatty deposits may turn up in once-smooth places—even after the baby weight is gone.

For these reasons, more and more moms are opting for post-pregnancy procedures, a suite of innovative treatments designed to help women regain their "before baby" bodies. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), there was a marked rise in cosmetic surgeries among women of childbearing age in 2007, and although the society didn't report how many of these women had children, many experts believe the increase can be attributed to new moms.

Post-Pregnancy Cosmetic Procedures

Because pregnancy affects every woman's body differently, there's no single approach to post-pregnancy cosmetic procedures. Prospective patients should talk to their surgeons about their goals, expectations, and concerns to determine the best course of action. That said, the following procedures are often requested after baby.

1. Breast Lift, Augmentation, or Reduction:

A breast-lift makes the breasts firmer by eliminating excess skin and tightening the surrounding tissue. Augmentation, or enlargement, increases breast volume and may reduce sagging in women with smaller breasts, while reduction surgery may be an option for moms who report a lasting, unwanted increase in cup size. According to the ASPS, in 2006 the average U.S. surgeon's fees for breast-lift, augmentation, and reduction were $4,200, $3,600, and $4,220, respectively; however, this doesn't include fees related to anesthesia, operating-room facilities, or other related expenses.

2. Liposuction:

Although it's not designed to reverse post-pregnancy weight gain, liposuction may help to remove certain pockets of fat that can't be addressed through diet and exercise. Costs vary depending on the number of areas targeted, as well as by location and facility, but the ASPS reports the national average for a surgeon's fee for liposuction is $2,750.

3. Tummy Tuck:

During pregnancy, abdominal skin and tissue are forced to stretch to make room for baby, and a tummy tuck may help to reverse these effects. Also known as abdominoplasty, the procedure removes excess fat and skin, then tightens the muscles of the abdominal wall. The average U.S. surgeon's fee is $5,063, according to the ASPS. For women who experience loose skin around the belly button after pregnancy, abdominoplasty may be combined with umbilicoplasty surgery.

4. Stretch Mark and Cellulite Removal Treatments:

In addition to surgeries, there are a number of minimally invasive procedures designed to combat the effects of pregnancy. Chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and blue light therapy may help to reduce the appearance of stretch marks, and there are also several procedures available to minimize cellulite. Cellulite-removal treatments cost an average of $192 per session, according to the ASPS, and multiple sessions are generally needed to achieve the patient's desired results.

Post-Pregnancy Cosmetic Financing Options

Whether you're a relatively new mom or you had children years ago, post-pregnancy cosmetic treatments may help you to regain the body you once had. However, it's important to do your research first and find an experienced surgeon. During your consultation, be sure to ask lots of questions and share any concerns that you may have.

In addition, post-pregnancy cosmetic procedures can be costly, and since they're considered elective, they're not usually covered by insurance. If your policy does not cover the costs, take a realistic look at your finances to determine what you can afford. Also bear in mind that there may be other options available. Financial institutions, such as Capital One, offer health-care loans specifically designed for moms seeking cosmetic procedures.