Obesity can have an impact on one’s reproductive health. There’s a higher incidence of menstrual dysfunction and anovulation among obese and overweight women, affecting their ability to conceive. Plus, women with a higher BMI are at higher risk of having complications during pregnancy such as gestational diabetes and high blood pressure.
While it’s possible to conceive while being overweight or obese, the risk for complications is higher. Hence, obese or overweight women who would like to conceive are often advised to lose weight before having a baby.
For overweight women who struggle to lose weight through conventional means, bariatric surgery can be an option.
Bariatric Surgery and Conception
Bariatric surgery has been shown to improve the menstrual cycle of anovulatory women. In another study, it shows that weight loss surgery can help women with fertility problems associated with obesity. Research also shows that weight loss surgery can boost the fertility of women suffering from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).
When can you get pregnant after surgery?
You can get pregnant after the procedure, but only after your weight stabilizes. After weight loss surgery, your body will go through a lot of changes, especially with the changes in the amount of food you’re taking in and how your body absorbs the nutrients.
To protect you and the baby from potential malnutrition (as a result of these changes), doctors recommend waiting 18 months before getting pregnant. By that time, you will have stabilized your weight and be able to provide your baby with his/her necessary nutrition.
While waiting, you may want to consider using contraceptives.
Things to Keep in Mind
There are certain things to keep in mind if you’re planning to get pregnant after bariatric surgery:
- You’ll have to monitor your nutrient intake carefully.
Bariatric surgery patients have the potential to suffer from nutritional deficiencies. This can be more challenging especially with nausea during the first trimester.
You can counter this risk by seeing a nutritionist who is knowledgeable about bariatric surgery. He/she can provide you with recommendations including meal frequency and portions. He/she can also suggest supplements that can help meet your and your baby’s nutritional needs.
- You still have to keep an eye on your weight.
Studies show that women who are still plus-size to some degree after bariatric surgery can still suffer from weight-related complications during pregnancy. Generally, the risk of complications drops after surgery but it’s still there.
- You may end up with a C-section.
It’s still unclear why women who had bariatric surgery are more likely to end up with a C-section, but you may be able to reduce your odds by following your doctor’s weight gain recommendations, taking childbirth preparation classes, and exercising (safely) during pregnancy.
If you’re considering bariatric surgery, Foothills Weight Loss Surgeons in Knoxville, TN will help you at every step in your journey. Attending our FREE info series is your very first step in this journey. Begin by registering for the online version of our seminar here. Questions about the process? Call our office at (865) 984-3413.
Foothills Weight Loss Surgeons is part of Premier Surgical Bariatrics in Knoxville, Tennessee. Foothills is affiliated with the Fort Sanders Regional Center for Bariatric Surgery, part of Covenant Health Bariatric Services.