If you are considering weight loss surgery or have already undergone a procedure, many patients wonder what the implications are if you want to have children after the fact. The good news is that your procedure may actually improve the safety and outcome of a future pregnancy.
Let’s take a look at the potential benefits and challenges in store for prospective mothers after a bariatric procedure:
Getting pregnant may be easier. There are plenty of variables that will affect this outcome, but evidence has shown that women with fertility issues can resolve the problem after undergoing surgery.
It’s important to note that you are recommended to avoid pregnancy until your weight loss stabilizes. That would be an absolute minimum of waiting a year, and preferably 18 months, after surgery before becoming pregnant. Your body is going through a significant transformation, so it’s not ideal to take on the additional physical demands associated with pregnancy. If there is an increase in fertility, that makes it even more important to stay vigilant about contraception until the appropriate time.
Once you pass the 18-month mark, there is still the possibility for nutritional deficiencies: not good for you and especially not good for the baby growing in your womb. The nutritional challenges after surgery are exacerbated by morning sickness, so you need to pay particular attention to supplementation. Common nutritional deficiencies include vitamin D, B12, calcium and iron. If you will work closely with your obstetrician, bariatric surgeon, and dietitian, everything should be just fine.
While nutritional deficiencies are a potential risk that needs to be addressed, the good news is that risks for complications during pregnancy usually drop. While there is still the risk for things like pregnancy-induced hypertension and gestational diabetes, the rates are comparable to expecting mothers who are not overweight.
Be prepared for the psychological challenges associated with pregnancy after weight loss surgery. That includes handling the process of gaining weight again, a completely natural aspect of pregnancy. Some people struggle with the prospect of gaining weight after all the hard work put into preparing for surgery and eating right after their procedure. This underscores the immense value and importance of nutritional and psychological support in the days and months following your weight loss surgery.
Higher Cesarean Rate
Women who have bariatric surgery tend to have a higher likelihood for a c-section. That said, you can reduce the chances by following your prescribed nutritional and fitness regimen during your pregnancy.
If you are considering having children after weight loss surgery, there are certainly unique preparations and challenges for you. But with the associated weight loss, you are also reducing your chances for obesity-related complications. Overall, the positives far outweigh the negatives.