Pregnancy After Weight Loss Surgery
Many of the patients we see are women of childbearing age. Questions often arise about the safety of having a child after surgery and how long one needs to wait in order to become pregnant. The bottom line is that pregnancy after weight loss surgery is perfectly safe. Becoming pregnant after having weight loss surgery is actually less risky than becoming pregnant while still morbidly obese. Morbidly obese pregnant women are more likely to experience pregnancy related complications such as gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, and often have higher C-section rates due to larger than average babies.
Many women have questions regarding how long they need to wait after surgery in order to become pregnant. Here at Tristate Bariatrics we recommend waiting two years before becoming pregnant. The reason behind this is that the first two years are the period where rapid weight loss occurs. In order to facilitate enough nutrients to a growing fetus it is important that a mother’s nutritional needs are being met as well. The immediate post-surgical phase is a learning process for every patient. You are learning to adapt to new dietary needs. It can be challenging to meet the demands of your own body without the concern of a growing baby.
It is important to use a comfortable and reliable birth control method of your choice the first two years. Even if you have had problems getting pregnant in the past, even a small amount of weight loss can increase your fertility greatly. Fertility issues related to obesity alone can be cured very quickly due to hormone regulation. If you have had a malabsorptive procedure such as the gastric bypass please remember that birth control pills could be ineffective due to altered absorption and an alternative method is recommended.
If and when you do fall pregnant it is important that your obstetrician is aware of the type of surgical procedure you have had. Close monitoring of you and the baby’s progress is important. Your obstetrician may want to see you more frequently and make you have more frequent ultrasounds to monitor the baby’s growth. We recommend that you see us monthly during your pregnancy with regular dietitian appointments to battle any nutritional hardships. Regular lab work should be checked to make sure your own needs are being met. Your obstetrician can recommend a weight gain target during your pregnancy depending on your pre-pregnancy weight. And as always it is important that you take prenatal vitamins when pregnant. If you need recommendations on a chewable or liquid form your obstetrician should be able to guide you in the right direction.
Remember that if at any time during your pregnancy you get increasingly nauseous, are having reflux or are vomiting to make your surgeon or nurse practitioner aware. These symptoms can be helped with medications or alternative methods depending on what surgery you have had.