Bariatric surgery is all about taking steps to better your future. It’s exactly that outlook on the future that worries some bariatric patients who plan on becoming pregnant sometime after their surgery. The good news is that many women have had successful pregnancies after their surgeries. However, there are a few factors to keep in mind when you’re planning for your pregnancy after weight loss surgery.
Risks of Pregnancy in Obese Women
There are some complications associated with obesity that concern pregnant women. The first is gestational diabetes, where the woman must monitor her insulin levels to ensure a safe pregnancy.
Another risk factor is preeclampsia, a condition where the woman experiences high blood pressure and damage to other organs like the kidneys 20 weeks into the pregnancy.
Weight loss surgery will greatly decrease the risks to your pregnancy associated with obesity. However, it never completely goes away. Studies have shown that after bariatric surgery, your level of risk falls back to the same level of women who have never been obese and who are of average weight.
Risks of Pregnancy During Rapid Weight Loss
Right after bariatric surgery, patients experience extreme weight loss. During this period, pregnancy would be unsafe for both the baby and the mother. Both would be at risk for malnutrition, and the lack of nutrients may lead to underweight or premature deliveries.
The 18 Month Grace Period
Doctors suggest a grace period of 18 months before bariatric surgery patients attempt to get pregnant. While you’re waiting, you are allowing your weight to stabilize and your body to adjust to your new normal. Your body will no longer be under the stress that comes with rapid weight loss.
You are not completely free of all risks even after the grace period, though. Bariatric patients are more likely to have a c-section. You’ll need to monitor your nutrient intake and follow your doctor’s recommendations for weight gain and exercise.
You may experience an increase in fertility after your weight loss surgery. Some women who experienced irregular menstruation when they were obese were able to ovulate regularly for the first time in years after their bariatric surgery.
Birth Control Options
Increased fertility may actually become a problem for some women who don’t wish to become pregnant, especially those still in the grace period. Some studies have shown that oral contraception may not be as effective after bariatric surgery due to decreased absorption. You may want to consider contraceptive options like condoms or an IUD, and be sure to discuss them with your doctor to ensure their effectiveness.If you want to know if bariatric surgery can help lower your risk during pregnancy and learn more about your options, schedule a consultation with our doctors today! At Riverside, we want to be a part of your weight loss journey, and help ensure that you’re ready for all of life’s greatest experiences.