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Pregnancy after Bariatric Surgery

Many things go through a women’s mind when starting a family, and the last thing she might be thinking about is her weight. Unfortunately, being overweight has negative consequences, and getting pregnant is often a hardship faced by obese women.

Can you get pregnant after weight loss surgery?

Yes. Weight-loss surgery is shown to improve fertility and protect women and their babies from obesity-related risks. The healthier you are while trying to conceive, the better the odds you have to not only get pregnant, but also have a healthy baby.

How long should I wait before getting pregnant after weight loss surgery?

Most doctors recommended waiting at least 1 to 2 years before trying to become pregnant since your body needs time to adjust and stabilize. Conceiving too early after bariatric surgery can lead to complications for the mother and child due to micronutrient deficiency, especially with

malabsorptive procedures like gastric bypass and duodenal switch. A study of 1,850 women found that giving birth within 2 years post-op had a higher risk of prematurity, neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) admission, and small for gestational age (SGA).

Can bariatric surgery improve pregnancy and cure PCOS?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder generating enlarged ovaries with small cysts on the outer perimeters, making it more difficult to conceive. Symptoms of PCOS can include excess hair growth, acne, and menstrual irregularity. For overweight women, shedding just 10% of excess body weight is shown to help restabilize your period back to its normal cycle and help relieve side effects causes by polycystic ovary syndrome. Bariatric surgery expedites alleviating PCOS and making it possible to conceive.

Which Weight Loss Surgery is Best for a Safe Pregnancy?

It goes without saying, the more complex the surgery, the higher risks for pregnancy. The best bariatric surgery for pregnancy is gastric sleeve surgery (VSG). Since the sleeve is strictly restrictive, (only a portion of the stomach is removed), patients have a significantly lower risk of long-term

nutrient deficiencies compared to surgeries like RNY gastric bypass, mini bypass, and duodenal switch (BPD/DS).

Regardless of the procedure, make sure you consult with your primary care physician to discuss the best options for you. Patients are advised to do a complete blood count (CBC) before becoming pregnant to ensure sufficient nutrients are met.

Goals for Healthy Eating When Pregnant
  • Follow your recommended post-op diet
  • Important nutrients to look for: vitamin D, iron, calcium, folate, and B12
  • 70+ grams of protein per day is crucial for your baby’s growth
  • Good sources: Lean meat, poultry, fish, and eggs are excellent protein sources. Other options include beans and peas, nuts, seeds, and soy products
  • Choose high-fiber foods such as whole-grain bread, quinoa, oats, beans, fruits, and vegetables