Pregnancy after Bariatric Surgery
One of the most disruptive consequences of morbid obesity, especially on women of childbearing age, is the potential for infertility. There is a direct correlation between excess weight and lowered ability to get pregnant. This is most often due to obesity-related PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), as well as hormonal fluctuations caused by excess weight that can throw off the body’s delicate balance.
After surgery, many patients are excited at the prospect that they may have a better chance of getting pregnant. While this may certainly be true, there are a few important things to note:
- First, there may be other reasons, beyond obesity, as to why the patient could not get pregnant before surgery. If these conditions remain, patients may find it difficult to become pregnant, even after surgery.
- We recommend that the patient does not get pregnant within 12 months after surgery. Most patients are encouraged to take birth control during this time. In the significant weight loss phase, caloric restriction may harm the fetus. Further, minimizing abdominal pressure during the recovery is important for a swift and uncomplicated post-op journey.
- Even after 12 months, you will need to speak to your OB/GYN about nutritional intake and to ensure all levels remain appropriate. If your OB is not experienced with pregnant, post-bariatric patients, we will be more than happy to discuss common issues with them.
Once patients have hit the 12-month mark and are ready to consider having children, it is important that they contact our office and speak to one of our surgeons.
When we talk about obesity and pregnancy, we focus most of our time on female patients. However, it is worth noting that obesity can also affect the fertility of male patients.
We are always encouraged and excited to see patients become pregnant when, before surgery, they never believed it could happen. We certainly want our patients to fulfill their desires, however, we want them to do so safely. Keep in touch with the office and let us know about your plans for expanding your family.