Seventy percent of patients who have gastric bypass surgery are females. The majority are of child bearing age. Between 2003 and 2005, over 50,000 women in the 18-45 age group had bariatric surgery. The end result from this mix is that half of the women who get gastric bypass weight-loss surgery are at childbearing age.
I Want a Baby, but…
Perhaps you are one of the most fortunate weight-loss surgery patients. Your gastric bypass surgery has gone well, and all the weight you had hoped to lose has been lost. You are following your post-bariatric surgery program religiously, eating properly, exercising, and taking your supplements. Your self-esteem has never been better, and you have never been more attractive. You have a wonderful relationship with your partner or spouse, and your support system is marvelous.
You have wanted to start a family for some time, but your health had always been a concern because of your struggle with obesity. Your health has improved dramatically since your obesity surgery, and your passion for motherhood is more than ever. But you have concerns.
Should you become pregnant after weight-loss surgery? If so, how long should you wait? Are there any special precautions you should take? You have been told that you cannot have a healthy pregnancy because of nutritional deficiencies that accompany bariatric surgery. Is this true?
Getting Pregnant After Gastric Bypass Surgery
The Good News
The news is good. Reports suggest that getting pregnant after gastric bypass weight-loss surgery is not only safe but also it is actually safer than becoming pregnant when obese. Morbidly obese women who become pregnant are more likely to get gestational diabetes, hypertension, preeclampsia, and fetal distress.
Fertility problems are often an issue for obese women. Ovulation can be erratic, but after weight-loss surgery women can begin ovulating regularly once again. This resumption of a regular cycle also can enhance the possibility of an unintended pregnancy. Contraceptives may be considered if they are not already being used.
Doctors often recommend waiting 18-months after gastric bypass surgery before getting pregnant. The first year and a half following this bariatric surgery is the window for rapid weight loss. Nutritional turmoil occurs during this period. Waiting eighteen months to get pregnant can reduce the possibility of malnutrition for mother and baby and also prevent smaller than normal sized babies for their gestational age.
After weight-loss surgery, women may have nutritional difficulties that can prove difficult if pregnant. Complications with vit. B12, iron, calcium and vitamin D are most common. Interaction with a nutritionist who is knowledgeable about weight-loss surgery will prove beneficial.
Pregnancy Complications After Gastric Bypass Surgery
Complications may still present. Although a great amount of weight may have been lost, women who have had weight-loss surgery can still be plus size when they become pregnant. A risk for gestational diabetes remains although that risk is much less after gastric bypass surgery.
The psychological effect of gaining weight while pregnant can prove difficult for some women whom have lost weight after gastric bypass surgery. These women need to build a comfort zone and understand that there will be weight gain when pregnant. It is natural and acceptable.
Finally, women who have had bariatric surgery are more likely to have a c-section. The specifics a to why this is are unclear.
There is some evidence that teenagers who become pregnant after weight-loss surgery are at greater risk for bearing children who have birth defects. This conclusion is based on a minimal number of cases, and some researchers have expressed doubts.
You can read about my decision to have weight loss surgery back in 2003 and my journey to maintain a lifetime of obesity disease management since that time. My wish is to help you on your own journey of lifetime obesity disease management with shareposts along the way to help you navigate that journey successfully.