For many patients, weight loss surgery can help make their dreams of having a family a reality. However, it can be a time of uncertainty which is often overwhelming.
The team at Tijuana Bariatrics can answer your questions and help guide you through the process of safely conceiving after bariatric surgery while maintaining your weight loss.
What do I need to know about pregnancy after bariatric surgery?
Is It Safe to Become Pregnant After Weight Loss Surgery?
"Is it safe for me to become pregnant after bariatric surgery?" is a common question among female patients. The short answer is yes, and that weight loss treatment can even increase chances of conception. After bariatric surgery, maximum weight loss is typically achieved after about a year.* In order to allow for their weight to fully stabilize, it is recommended that patients wait for at least 18 months after treatment before conceiving. However, women have also had babies safely before the 18-month mark, though special considerations will be necessary for safely managing the pregnancy.
Most bariatric patients experience rapid weight loss within a year and it takes about 18 months for your weight to stabilize.*
If you become pregnant before the recommended waiting period, you may face an increased risk of adverse outcomes including maternal and fetal malnutrition. This can lead to complications such as delivering an infant with a low birth weight. Apart from nutritional deficiencies, bariatric patients should be aware of an increased risk for other concerns. Studies have found some of these complications include adhesions, internal hernias, small intestine ischemia, and band slippage.
“"Overall, pregnancy after weight loss surgery can be done safely, by taking steps to minimize risks to your body and to the developing fetus."”American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery
Bariatric Surgery Can Improve Chances of Pregnancy
Maternal obesity is commonly associated with several health problems including gestational diabetes and hypertension. Obese women also face an increased risk of stillbirth or intrauterine fetal death.
Physicians generally recommend patients wait for 18 to 24 months after bariatric surgery before becoming pregnant.
In contrast, studies show that the chances of conception and having a healthy pregnancy improve after obese women undergo bariatric surgery for weight loss. Research suggests that bariatric surgery can lead to:
- A lowered risk of developing maternal complications
- Reduced chances of macrosomia (high birth weight)
- Better neonatal outcome
Maintaining a Healthy Weight After Pregnancy
Gaining weight during pregnancy is a concern for all women, not just those who have undergone bariatric surgery. Many patients are especially hesitant because they worry they will regain the weight they lost after surgery. It is critical that patients follow an optimal diet so they are not calorie-deficient but they should also avoid overeating. Women should generally aim to consume 300 extra calories a day during their pregnancy. Although there will be some natural weight gain associated with pregnancy, afterward, women can get back on track by implementing healthy lifestyle changes they have learned.
The network of physicians coordinating with Tijuana Bariatrics performs a wide range of services, including bariatric surgery and plastic surgery. By choosing Tijuana Bariatrics, you can experience safe care in luxury accommodations from a board-certified surgeon.
For more information, use this online form or call (800) 308-3607 today.
“Dr. Garcia is awesome. I chose bariatrics vertical sleeve surgery. I've lost 85 lbs. since January 2017. No complications... I regret not doing this years ago.” Debbie M.