Obesity has been associated with reduced fertility. Gastric bypass surgery is a common procedure performed for those with severe obesity and has been shown to increase fertility in both men and women. This can bring about the question, is getting pregnant after a gastric bypass safe?
There are many factors to consider when undergoing gastric bypass, such as gastric bypass surgery cost or the weight requirement for gastric bypass. For many women, pregnancy can be another important consideration.
In this article, we’ll explore the questions you might have about becoming pregnant after gastric bypass surgery.
Is it Safe to Get Pregnant After Gastric Bypass Surgery?
The short answer is - yes! By following the safety precautions and maintaining nutrient intake recommended by a qualified healthcare professional, pregnancy after gastric bypass can be very safe. As always, it is recommended to consult with you bariatric team as every bariatric patient can be different.
In fact, weight loss surgery can likely lower the risk of obesity-related complications during pregnancy. Obesity-related complications would include gestational diabetes, blood pressure issues, cesarean delivery, and postpartum complications.
However, there are still many risks involved. You will need to work closely with your healthcare provider in order to maintain a healthy pregnancy.
How Long Should I Wait to Get Pregnant After a Gastric Bypass?
Generally, practitioners recommend waiting at least 12 to 24 months after a bariatric procedure before you try to conceive. This time frame can vary based on your individual situation and further medical conditions.
You must be fully recovered after gastric bypass surgery and should be maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
After gastric bypass, your body will take some time to heal from the trauma of surgery and for your weight to stabilize. Providing enough time in between bariatric surgery and pregnancy is important in order to safely carry your baby to term without any issues.
What Happens if I Get Pregnant Too Soon After a Gastric Bypass?
Gastric bypass patients can lose up to 80% of their body weight within the first year. That being said, pregnancy can be dangerous during this time.
Contraception and counseling should be provided by your healthcare provider to ensure proper precautions, especially for those in the adolescent population. Oral contraception may not be suitable for individuals after bariatric surgery due to increased risk of failure. This should be a discussion with your healthcare
There are very high risks of nutrient deficiencies for you and your child. Complications of early pregnancy after bariatric surgery can result in preterm birth, small for gestational age, and growth restrictions.
If you are considering gastric bypass surgery and plan to become pregnant soon after, most professionals recommend looking into alternatives to gastric bypass surgery for weight loss. A discussion with your practitioner is highly recommended to provide options based on your individual situation.
Will My Fertility be Affected by Gastric Bypass Surgery?
Absolutely. One of the interesting facts about gastric bypass is that it can actually boost fertility in some men and women.
For women who have been suffering from obesity-related fertility issues, gastric bypass can drastically improve them.
In fact, it’s highly recommended that you take some sort of birth control in the first year or two after your surgery to avoid any unplanned pregnancies.
It has been shown to improve hormonal balance, boost fertility, improve PCOS, and improvements in menstrual cycles. This can be one of the long term results of gastric bypass.
Will my Baby Get Enough Nutrients?
Gastric bypass caloric restriction and nutrient malabsorption is a concern for anyone, but it’s something that pregnant women should especially take into consideration.
Since you won’t be eating as much, your body won’t be absorbing as much food or as many nutrients. This is obviously a risk factor when it comes to pregnancy.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t safely get enough nutrients for both you and your baby. Working closely with your doctor will help you find the proper lifestyle for your pregnancy.
Bariatric patients should be taking bariatric specific vitamin and mineral supplements after weight loss surgery in order to ensure proper nutrition. Some nutritional recommendations can change following bariatric surgery and pregnancy. It is extremely important to consult with your bariatric team, including a registered dietitian. Some bariatric specific supplements include very high levels of vitamins like vitamin A that can pose a health concern for a pregnant woman.
Your vitamin and mineral supplement regimen will be tailored to your pregnancy needs based on consistent blood work and monitoring. Nutrient levels, such as Iron, vitamin B12, folate, vitamin D, and Calcium should be checked before and throughout your pregnancy.
Can I Have a Natural Birth After a Gastric Bypass?
If you’re hoping for a natural birth after having a gastric bypass, you may be disappointed. Women who have had gastric bypass are far more likely to have a cesarean delivery.
This can change from doctor to doctor or person to person, but many
practitioners believe that gastric bypass patients are more likely to need C-sections due to potential nutritional issues.
If you would like to have a natural birth, the best thing to do is ensure you’re getting the proper nutrients, and to keep close contact with both your OBGYN and your gastric bypass surgeon.
Will I Put Weight Back on During my Pregnancy?
Weight gain is very important for a healthy pregnancy. So, yes you will regain some weight during pregnancy.
Your body will go through many natural changes in order to support you and your baby, and to prepare for birth. This swelling can lead to some normal weight gain.
This means that you’ll need to look after your weight like you normally would during a pregnancy.
If you are concerned about weight gain during pregnancy, consult with your healthcare provider. You may be referred to a registered dietitian in order to help maintain proper weight and balanced eating habits throughout pregnancy.
If you are still gaining weight after your pregnancy, a gastric bypass revision is possible. However, you should be giving your body enough time to recover. There are many non-surgical options to assist in weight loss of excess weight after pregnancy.
Will my OBGYN Know What to Do?
Like all of us, doctors are human. What your OBGYN does and doesn’t know depends on their expertise, education, and hands-on experience.
Fortunately, the healthcare system is usually based on communication. Your bariatric team should be communicating with your OBGYN to ensure all areas of expertise are being covered.
It’s important to keep yourself informed, and have some idea of healthy options for yourself. Visiting an OBGYN with some experience in bariatric surgery may be beneficial for some individuals.
Ultimately, before any procedure, it’s important to have a good, knowledgeable medical team backing you up.
Gastric bypass is a life-altering surgery, but it doesn’t have to hold you back from living your life.
Staying informed, maintaining health, and keeping in close contact with your bariatric team can provide a happy and healthy pregnancy.
Following the time frame recommendations of 12-18 months before conceiving and providing yourself the proper nutrition after weight loss surgery is necessary. By understanding the risks and taking the proper steps, complications can be mitigated.
**This blog is for information and education purposes only. This information is not intended to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions in regards to a medical condition.