Pregnancy after Bariatric Surgery: What You Need to Know

Pregnant belly with man's and woman's hands"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. The team at Tijuana Bariatrics in Tijuana, Mexico, will be happy to address any questions you have regarding pregnancy after 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 

Most bariatric patients experience rapid weight loss within a year and it takes about 18 months for their weight to stabilize.* For this reason, physicians generally recommend waiting 18 to 24 months after bariatric surgery before you become pregnant.

Monitoring Nutritional Intake and Other Considerations

Pregnancy after bariatric surgery requires a multidisciplinary approach. Women who are hoping to conceive should consult both nutritionists and other doctors to prevent and detect nutritional deficiencies. Health providers may recommend supplements, as well as periodic tests to monitor the levels of critical nutrients.

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 birthweight. 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.

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.

Contact Tijuana Bariatrics to Learn More

If you have any questions about pregnancy after bariatric surgery, please contact the practice online. You can also call (877) 759-0739 to speak with a member of the team.