For those that may not know, I am actually a new mom myself! My own pregnancy- and my past blog posts about my pregnancy journey- inspired me to dive deeper into the literature on pregnancy specifically pertaining to women after weight loss surgery. If you’ve had weight loss surgery and are counting down the days until you can announce that your family is expanding (!), you’ll be happy to know that pregnancy IS safe after weight loss surgery. However, there are definitely guidelines and precautions to be aware of, which I highlight in this blog post. If you would like all of the details, be sure to download my (free) “Fertility, Pregnancy, & Weight Loss Surgery” handout!
Oh- in case you missed it- you’re welcome to check out my previous blog posts on my pregnancy journey below (or save them to your Favorites to come back to once your pregnancy test turns “+”)!
Would you like to know how weight loss surgery affects fertility?
How Is Fertility Affected By Obesity?
If you are a woman with obesity, your pregnancy will unfortunately be at a higher risk of complications. These complications include gestational diabetes, large baby (macrosomia), stillborn baby, preterm labor, and birth defects.
Infertility Related To Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Women who have obesity and PCOS are at an increased risk of having irregular- or complete loss of- ovulation cycles.
Infertility was shown to decrease from 18.2% to 4.3% with improvement in regularity of menstrual cycles and reduction in facial hair and other symptoms that women with PCOS experience after weight loss surgery.
How Weight Loss Surgery Affects Fertility
It has been shown that weight loss surgery can improve a woman’s fertility and her chances of becoming pregnant without the use of fertility treatments.
After having weight loss surgery, it is important to wait at least 12-18 months before trying to become pregnant.
During this time period, fertility increases as weight loss continues.
This recommendation is to ensure that there are no nutritional deficiencies associated with rapid weight loss from surgery that would compromise the health and weight of the baby in order to help prevent birth defects.
What Complications Can Arise With Pregnancy After Bariatric Surgery?
If you become pregnant and have had weight loss surgery, there are several complications that may arise during your pregnancy.
- Scar tissue (adhesions)
- Internal hernias (strangulation of your intestine)
- Small intestine ischemia (compromised blood flow to your bowels)
- Band slippage (for those with adjustable gastric banding)
Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to prevent these complications from occurring if they were to.
IMPORTANT: Enlist the assistance of a Urologist to more specifically address your kidney stone needs.
Have You Been Struggling To Become Pregnant?
If you are a female trying to conceive and are struggling with becoming pregnant, there are a few steps you can take in order to improve your chances:
- Lose weight. A weight loss goal of 5-10% of total body weight can promote ovulation and improve your insulin sensitivity (if you also have PCOS).
- As a second-line option, the medications letrozole and clomiphene can be prescribed to increase your chances of ovulating.
- The third-line option is hormone therapy
- More invasive option includes in vitro fertilization
Sometimes losing weight is easily said than done.
If you’ve tried to lose weight but are feeling frustrated and need consistent accountability to get back-on-track, click here to find out how I can help you!
After weight loss surgery, it is important to wait at least 12-18 months before trying to become pregnant. During this time period, fertility increases as weight loss continues. If you’re this far out from surgery and need help losing weight (to help promote ovulation and improve your insulin sensitivity if you have PCOS), allow me to take away your frustrations! After all, you’ve got a cute little munchkin just waiting to be held in your arms. Let’s get after those heart warming baby snuggles together! Click here to let me help you achieve your weight loss goals.
Would you like more details on how weight loss surgery affects fertility?