Bariatric surgery before pregnancy can help you get pregnant if obesity was the reason you had trouble in getting pregnant. It will lower your chance of certain pregnancy problems including gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and preeclampsia. It will reduce how much weight you can gain during pregnancy. However, the bariatric surgery may increase your risk of having a cesarean section. You should talk with your doctor if you have concerns about the risk of a C-section.
What is Bariatric Surgery?
Bariatric surgery such as a gastric band or bypass helps individual who are obese and have not been able to lose weight with diet and exercise to lose weight. This surgery makes the stomach smaller and there are some types of weight loss surgery which changes how your stomach is connected with your intestines.
Pregnancy After Bariatric Surgery: Is It Advisable?
Pregnancy after the gastric bypass can be safe and healthy if it is managed well by you and your doctor. Research suggests that pregnancy after bariatric surgery might be safe for both the mother and the baby than pregnancy which is complicated due to obesity. Some studies suggest that the weight loss surgery might protect the obese women and their babies from obesity-related problems during pregnancy. Some examples include preeclampsia-high blood pressure, gestational diabetes and signs of damage to another organ system, often the kidneys after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
If you had done a bariatric surgery and considering pregnancy, you should consult your healthcare provider for the preconception planning. You should also consult a registered dietician along with your gastric surgeon for advice on nutrition and weight gain during pregnancy.
Typically, experts recommend postponing pregnancy until your weight stabilizes which may take at least about 12 to 18 months post bariatric surgery whereas some experts recommend waiting longer. A rapid or persistent weight loss might deprive a growing baby of the important nutrients that lead to low birth weight. In order to monitor your baby’s growth, your doctor may recommend a fetal ultrasound during the third trimester. Depending on the type of bariatric surgery and the specific nutritional needs of your body, your doctor might recommend certain nutritional supplements such as vitamin B-12, folic acid, vitamin D, calcium and iron, in addition to a daily prenatal vitamin before and during pregnancy.
But What If Someone Gets Pregnant?
Although the nutritional deficiencies are more likely to occur in certain procedures the malabsorptive procedures have a higher risk of malnutrition than the restrictive procedures. A study in which specific evaluation was done to find out whether some surgeries are safer than others and found that there were no serious differences between the surgeries.
- Patients following lap band surgery had significantly higher BMI before delivery.
- Birth weight was significantly higher among the newborns of the patients following the gastric bypass surgery when compared to the restrictive procedures.
- Following the lap band surgery, patients had higher weight gain during pregnancy when compared to the VBG and the gastric bypass groups.
- The interval between operation and pregnancy was shorter in the lap band group when compared to the VGB group and was significantly higher in the gastric bypass group.
- No significant differences in the low birth weight or perinatal or macrosmia mortality were reported between these groups.
A separate study comprising of about 42 pregnancies evaluated the gastric bypass and lap band surgery and drew similar conclusions that no significant difference exists in the obstetric and birth outcomes between women who had gastric bypass and those who have undergo lap band surgery.
According to experts, a woman should wait for around one to two years after the bariatric surgery to get pregnant. This surgery will help people lose a lot of weight quickly and getting pregnant too soon after the surgery could mean that a growing baby might not get the required nutrients.