Is Pregnancy Possible After Bariatric Surgery?

Is Pregnancy Possible After Bariatric Surgery?

The rates of obesity in the United States are the highest in the developed world. Women account for 83% of bariatric procedures in the 18–45 age group, making it clear that improving their health is at the forefront of many women’s minds. For many women, however, doing so without affecting their fertility is a legitimate concern.

Bariatric surgery can be an effective tool in assisting weight loss, but many people worry how it will affect their ability to get pregnant and healthily give birth. Which presents the greater risk—obesity-related pregnancy complications or pregnancy after weight-loss surgery?

The Obesity-Related Pregnancy Risks

For those who are overweight or obese, pregnancy comes with several significant health risks. For the mother, some of these complications include:

  • Low fertility rates
  • Miscarriages
  • Malformations
  • Fetal growth problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Cardiac dysfunction
  • Sleep apnea
  • Increased pressure to liver and kidneys (preeclampsia)
  • Increased risk of the need for a C-section
  • Thromboembolic events

Pregnancy while overweight or obese also poses several risks for the health of the child, including:

  • Obesity
  • Type-2 diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Other fetal abnormalities
  • Large birth weight

Getting pregnant while overweight or obese carries risks. What impact does weight-loss surgery have on pregnancy and obesity-related pregnancy complications?

The Benefits Getting Pregnant Post-Bariatric Surgery

Many people believe pregnancy isn’t possible after bariatric surgery. However, not only is pregnancy possible, but pregnancy post-bariatric surgery can actually lower—or entirely eliminate—the risk of obesity-related pregnancy complications. It is recommended women wait 1–2 years after surgery before getting pregnant, which allows their weight to stabilize. After, they may find a lower risk of the following:

  • Difficulty conceiving
  • High blood pressure
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Preeclampsia
  • Significant weight gain during pregnancy

In addition, losing weight can help improve a multitude of other health conditions, like obstructive sleep apnea, high cholesterol, and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.

Pregnancy and Nutrition After Bariatric Surgery

Many of our patients ask, “Will my diet after weight-loss surgery be enough for me and my baby?” Consulting with your doctor to ensure the proper nutrients are being consumed is essential. Vitamin and mineral supplements are necessary post-bariatric surgery, and your doctor may add additional supplements during your pregnancy to help you and your child get the nutrients you need.

Some common deficiencies to look out for include iron, folate, calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12 deficiencies. There are other, more rare deficiencies, such as micronutrient deficiency and macrocytic anemia, but these only occur in extreme cases. Consulting with your doctor on a regular basis will help ensure any issues are rectified before they progress any further.

Lifestyle and diet improvements are always the first step toward healthy weight loss, but those alone may not work for everyone. If you qualify, bariatric surgeries like the gastric sleeve or gastric bypass procedures can be effective tools in helping improve your health pre-pregnancy.

Wondering if bariatric surgery is right for you? Contact Tri State Bariatrics today for more information.

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