A Guide to Getting Pregnant After Weight Loss Surgery
Weight loss surgery can help improve a woman’s chances of getting pregnant, but there are some precautions you should take to ensure both you and your baby remain healthy.
The physical and psychological benefits of weight loss are incentive enough to pursue weight loss surgery, but these procedures pose unique benefits for certain groups. In fact, 80 percent of all bariatric surgery patients are women. In addition to better sleep, better mood, and reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, weight loss can increase a woman’s chances of conceiving. It’s therefore beneficial for many obese women to undergo bariatric surgery before starting a family.
Yet like any medical treatment, there are important guidelines to follow in order to ensure long-term success. Here’s our guide to a healthy and safe pregnancy after weight loss surgery.
The Connection Between Weight and Pregnancy
Weight loss can have a positive impact on a woman’s reproductive health, both before and after conception. For example, hormonal imbalances caused by obesity can make it more difficult for women with excess weight to become pregnant. Changes in your natural hormone levels can lead to insulin resistance, which, if left untreated, can eventually prevent your body from producing enough viable eggs.
The negative health effects of obesity like diabetes and high blood pressure are especially dangerous for pregnant women. Insulin resistance caused by excess weight puts pregnant women at greater risk for gestational diabetes. Pre-eclampsia, a complication that damages the liver and kidneys, is associated with high blood pressure. Some women develop these conditions during pregnancy regardless of how much they weigh, but obese women are often at a higher risk.
The best way for women to combat complications like these is to achieve and maintain a healthy weight before getting pregnant. Losing weight, with the help of bariatric surgery, before having children makes for a safer and healthier journey to motherhood.
Tips For A Healthy Pregnancy After Weight Loss Surgery
After weight loss surgery, your body will go through many physical, emotional, and nutritional changes. For women pursuing significant weight loss for the first time, it’s not uncommon to gain a little of the original weight back. As such, it’s not recommended to become pregnant during the period of rapid weight change immediately after surgery.
Doctors recommend waiting at least 12 to 18 months after bariatric surgery before getting pregnant. You’re solidly in your weight stabilization period after a year and a half, and waiting that long significantly reduces risks of maternal and fetal malnutrition.
If you’re planning to get pregnant after surgery, the first thing you should do is set up an appointment to talk with your obstetrician, primary care physician, dietician, and bariatric surgeon. Weight gain is a natural and welcomed part of having a child, and your personal team of medical professionals will help you reach and maintain a healthy weight. In addition to prenatal vitamins, your doctors might also recommend adding folic acid, calcium, vitamin D, and other nutritional supplements to your diet.
While weight loss surgery significantly reduces your chances of developing complications during pregnancy, certain risks may remain. Routine check-ups are still essential and you should be tested for high blood pressure often. In general, it’s important to eat right, stay active, and stay up to date on doctor’s appointments after weight loss surgery to prepare your body for carrying a child.
If you’re looking to start a family and think weight loss surgery fits into your plans, schedule a free ten-minute consultation with Long Island Laparoscopic Doctors today. Our licensed medical professionals will explain your weight loss options and get you started on your life-changing journey.