Can I Get Facial Filler While Pregnant?

Woman getting facial filler

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Injectable dermal filler can do a lot for the face, from plumping lips and enhancing cheekbones. Even though the gel-like injectable has been around since the 1970s, it's become a major topic of conversation in recent years and has continued to rise in popularity. More than 3.4 million Americans receive filler each year, but whether you're a seasoned filler user or are considering it for the first time, you shouldn't be among these patients if you're pregnant.

Since filler is often used to address signs of aging—and exhaustion—and lack of sleep often comes with being pregnant and taking care of a newborn, you may be tempted to pay a visit to your dermatologist for the injectable. That said, don't go on Zocdoc just yet.

"When it comes to pregnancy safety, fillers are a gray area due to their composition," notes Dendy Engelman, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. No comprehensive studies have been conducted on the use of facial filler during this time, but there could be potential risks and side effects, especially for your baby. So, it's best to err on the side of caution and avoid filler while pregnant and breastfeeding.

What Is Facial Filler?

Dermal fillers are FDA-approved aesthetic treatments, typically performed by a dermatologist or plastic surgeon, to add lost volume back into the face. They are approved to be injected into places like the cheeks, jowls, and lips; though certain brands are also approved for the body (such as the hands).

"Facial fillers are injectable gel-like substances that are injected beneath the skin to restore lost volume, smooth lines, soften creases, and enhance facial contours," explains Deanne Mraz Robinson, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Westport, Conn. These injectables are typically used to replace lost collagen, elastin, and fat, which start to disappear as we age and result in skin laxity and hollowness.

When fillers were first introduced to the market, they consisted of bovine-derived collagen, but in more recent years, other ingredients have become far more popular. "The most commonly known and used fillers are hyaluronic acid (HA) based," says Dr. Mraz Robinson.

Hyaluronic Acid, a naturally occurring substance in our bodies, attracts water and creates volume where used. Other types of filler include Calcium hydroxyapatite (CaHA), another naturally occurring substance in our bodies, and Poly-L-Lactic acid, which helps skin rebuild natural collagen.

Is It Safe to Get Facial Filler During Pregnancy?

Much like other injectables, fillers have not been tested on pregnant patients, so there's technically no way of knowing whether they are safe to use during this period. Nevertheless, dermatologists say it's best to skip filler while you're expecting.

Why You Should Not Get Facial Filler While Pregnant

Since more research is needed on the subject before knowing its true safety, getting filler during pregnancy is generally discouraged.

"Fillers are usually made with either lab-produced variations of ingredients that naturally occur in our bodies or ingredients that have been proven safe for our bodies," Dr. Engelman says. "However, conclusive studies have not been done on this subject (and almost certainly never will be). Since anything that a pregnant woman puts in her body can also affect her unborn baby, the best and safest course of action is to avoid getting filler while pregnant."

Most providers will refuse to treat any pregnant patients with filler, but Dr. Mraz Robinson adds that even if they were to, your results would be skewed by pregnancy. "Pregnant women often experience changes to their faces, including swollen lips and fuller cheeks," she notes. "So, if you filled a temporarily altered face shape, the results would not be natural looking when it returns to its normal shape."

Risks of Getting Facial Filler While Pregnant

Whether you're pregnant or not, getting filler always carries certain risks. "The most common risks apply to any dermal filler procedure: swelling and bruising, especially around the eyes and nose, which contain major blood supplies; and rare but serious adverse reactions to the procedure, including vascular occlusion, which could lead to a stroke or the loss of eyesight," says Dr. Engelman.

During pregnancy, the stakes are even higher since anything you put into your body could affect your baby, and you'll be more limited on treatment options available to course correct any complications.

When Can I Resume Getting Facial Filler?

"It is recommended to wait until after stopping breastfeeding to resume injectables like facial filler and Botox," Dr. Engelman advises. "Even while breastfeeding, your baby can still be exposed to whatever substances you put in your body."

And as eager as you may be to resume your filler as soon as possible, Dr. Mraz Robinson suggests giving yourself some postpartum time to let your face return to its natural shape before getting any injectables.

Pregnancy-Safe Alternatives

While filler may be off the table while you're pregnant and breastfeeding, there are some things you can do to help your skin achieve the same toned, firm, and youthful results.

Try a Skin-Toning Device

There are a long list of at-home devices that can tone and tighten skin in a matter of minutes, and Dr. Engelman says these can be great alternatives to filler. She's a fan of the Conture Kinetic Skin Toning Device, which uses isometric compression and low-frequency vibrations to tone the neck, face, and décolleté.

"I love that this device yields results in a short amount of time, and can easily be done from the comfort of your home (ideal for when you’re pregnant!)," the dermatologist adds.

Use a Humidifier

Humidifiers have long been heralded as an essential tool in keeping skin hydrated, and Dr. Engelman believes they can offer some of the same plumping effects as filler. "Hydration is key in maintaining plump, healthy, youthful-looking skin," she explains. "To prevent external factors like the temperature and humidity from drawing moisture out of your skin and sabotaging your beauty efforts, I recommend using a humidifier."

Dr. Engelman especially loves the Canopy humidifier for expecting mothers, as it's designed to keep bacteria and other unwanted substances from growing inside and being released into your home.

Get a Hydrating Facial

A good facial can make a world of difference, and it's a smart way for pregnant women to keep skin firm and moisturized. Dr. Mraz Robinson suggests her expecting patients try a hydrating facial. Look for a holistic facial that deep cleans and plumps skin with pregnancy-safe, moisturizing ingredients.

Drink Lots of Water

This likely isn't the first time you've been told to stay hydrated. But in addition to maintaining your over all health, drinking plenty of water will benefit your skin. "Staying hydrated from the inside out is just as important as using the right beauty tools! Drinking water helps flush out toxins and keep your skin properly hydrated," Dr. Engelman says.

According to the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the average woman should drink about 11.5 cups of water per day. When you're pregnant, though, this number is even higher. During this time, you should drink as much as 12 cups of water a day. This will not only keep your skin looking plump and moisturized, but it will also help form the amniotic fluid around the fetus and help nutrients circulate around your body to reach your baby.

A Word From Verywell

It's unclear what sort of effects filler could have on you or your baby if used during pregnancy and while breastfeeding, but dermatologists agree that it's safest to simply avoid the injectable during this time. This doesn't mean you have to give up all hope of a toned, plump face, though. There are a number of alternatives to filler, and you should consult your dermatologist and healthcare provider to see which are best for you.

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7 Sources
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