Women in the reproductive age (18-45) comprise at least half of all bariatric patients. If you have undergone bariatric surgery in the past and now want to get pregnant, it is essential to examine the best time to conceive to prevent an adverse outcome. A systematic review published at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19017915 on Pregnancy and Fertility Following Bariatric Surgery identified evidence of a need for delaying pregnancy following bariatric surgery.
Evidence of Delaying Pregnancy Following Bariatric Surgery
Five studies compared pregnancy outcomes within 12 to 18 months after bariatric surgery. One study specifically analyzed 18 pregnant women who received gastric bypass. Ten out of 18 women had their pregnancy as early as 12 months or 1 year after gastric bypass and there were no significant differences in terms of the incidence of congenital anomalies, low birth weight and cesarean delivery compared to women who did not undergo the surgery. This result is also supported by another study indicating that there are no significant differences in the rates of adverse maternal outcomes between women who got pregnant within 12 months and the ones who got pregnant more than a year later following bariatric surgery.
Lower Rates of Maternal Weight Gain
Furthermore, in LAGB or laparoscopic adjustable gastric bypass, there were lower rates of maternal weight gain in those who got pregnant within a year of surgery. There were also no differences in the adverse maternal outcomes, low birth weight and other neonatal adverse effects when compared to normal community pregnancies
For other forms of bariatric surgery such as a biliopancreatic diversion, there were higher rates of spontaneous abortion in those who became pregnant within 18 months of surgery. This means that the type of surgical procedure performed should also be considered to prevent adverse effects such as spontaneous abortion.
In conclusion, the systematic review performed revealed few data to support the recommended time to get pregnant following bariatric surgery. Nevertheless, results show that successful pregnancies happen in as early as 1 year to 2 years following bariatric surgery. The general recommendation is to wait at least one year before getting pregnant to ensure healthy maternal and neonatal outcomes.
Weight Loss May Increase Fertility
Another study published at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20124898 on Bariatric Surgery and Fertility by Shah and Ginsburg (2010), supports that weight loss increases the fertility of women who are unovulatory since obesity adversely impacts the fertility rate of women due to hormonal considerations. With these, the success of getting pregnant is higher following bariatric surgery, but timing considerations are needed for optimum pregnancy results.
The findings of both studies indicate that it is generally safe to get pregnant after a bariatric surgery only if your weight has already stabilized and you have met a desirable Body Mass Index. Becoming pregnant in as early as less than a year after bariatric surgery can pose serious effects both for the mother and the baby.
The Need for Delaying Pregnancy for One Year
Immediately following bariatric surgery, the body undergoes several physiologic responses, which are deemed inappropriate for getting pregnant. The body can undergo stressful changes such as nutritional problems that can lead to a number of problems both for the mother and the baby, including: anemia, nutritional definiteness, neural tube defects, hypoglycemia and others. There could also be rapid weight loss wherein the body needs to adapt to this phenomenon. This makes getting pregnant in as early as less than a year of the surgery not safe.
If you are considering becoming pregnant and don’t want to wait a long time, you may aim at losing weight using effective and non-surgical methods of weight loss. Diet to Go and Nutrisystem can provide you with safe and healthy weight loss diet plans. Visit here for a money-off coupon for Diet to Go.
According to Philip Schauer, the Director of Advanced Laparoscopic and Bariatric Surgery at The Cleveland Clinic, getting pregnant after weight loss surgery is not a concern. The issue arises with getting pregnant during the period of very rapid weight loss as it can pose serious effects on the mother and the baby.
Therefore, for a safe and healthy pregnancy, it is recommended to wait at least 12 months before getting pregnant since this is the time wherein the body has adjusted to the weight loss and complications from the surgery are already minimized, if not, absent. This is the earliest time to reduce nutritional and surgical issues during pregnancy.
About the author
Vanessa Mill is a 35 year old management consultant. She had her first baby in 2010 following her bariatric surgery in January 2008. It has been her passion to write on weight loss issues as she has been an obese woman for nearly her entire life until she finally decided to undergo bariatric surgery to improve her health and overall quality of life.
All articles on the blog and website are intended as information only. Please do not consider any of the information provided here as a substitute for medical advice. At all times seek medical advice directly with your own doctor and medical team.