8 Things You Need to Know About Bariatric Surgery And Pregnancy
Bariatric surgery is the most effective long-term solution for morbid obesity and its positive effects extend far beyond simple weight loss. Many women who are of childbearing age have reduced fertility as a result of being obese. Undergoing bariatric surgery can, in some cases, allow patient to become pregnant after surgery.
Here are the things you should know about bariatric surgery and pregnancy:
- Bariatric surgery should not be considered a treatment for infertility. There are a multitude of reasons why patients cannot get pregnant, one of which his excess weight. It is important to set appropriate expectations before choosing to undergo bariatric surgery.
- You must wait at least 18 months before getting pregnant after bariatric surgery. This is because the rapid weight loss you will be experiencing during this time is not healthy for your unborn child. We will suggest appropriate contraception or abstinence during this time.
- Oral contraceptives maybe less effective after bariatric surgery. This means that it is more likely for patients on “the pill” to get pregnant. Speak to us about appropriate alternative contraceptives.
- A consultation with your bariatric surgeon is appropriate when you first become pregnant. Due to the risk of nutritional deficiencies, a complete blood count with the measurement of important vitamins and minerals needs to be taken at the beginning of the pregnancy and at certain intervals throughout the pregnancy.
- Pregnant bariatric patients, especially those who have undergone a gastric bypass, may not be able to tolerate the glucose testing for gestational diabetes due to dumping syndrome. Speak to your OB/GYN about alternate screening methods.
- Women who have had bariatric surgery are more likely to require a Cesarean or C-section. This does not mean that you will certainly have a C-section, but be prepared for the possibility.
- Despite the considerations above, becoming pregnant after bariatric surgery is far safer, both for mother and child than becoming pregnant and delivering while obese.
And on a slightly different note:
- Reduced fertility or infertility due to excess weight or obesity is not limited to female patients. Excess body weight loss normalizes hormonal function, specifically testosterone levels, in men as well.
It is important to remember the causes of reduced fertility or infertility are many and varied and include physical and emotional considerations. While bariatric surgery may assist with certain infertility issues, you should not choose to have bariatric surgery solely to get pregnant. We encourage you to attend a free weight loss surgery seminar, schedule a consultation with one of our surgeons as well as consult with your OB/GYN to learn more.