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Pregnancy and Weight-Loss Surgery

All mothers want the best for their babies. So it comes as no surprise that questions about the safety of pregnancy after roux-en-Y gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, or gastric banding, are common.

Many obese women struggle with infertility. One study documented that severely obese women are 43% less likely to conceive than normal weight women.  Obesity is well known to cause ovulation problems but obesity also contributes to infertility even in women who ovulate normally. Furthermore many obese women suffer with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) which is one of the leading causes of subfertility.

The good news is fertility improves after weight-loss surgery. A woman’s hormonal balance becomes more normal and PCOS can be cured. Not surprisingly, studies show even greater improvement in a woman sexual desire and arousal.

So you should find it easier to get pregnant after your weight-loss surgery. But, we recommend that you wait 12 to 18 months after your surgery before doing so. While there are no definitive studies to support this recommendation, we feel it is common sense to wait until your weight loss has stopped and your weight and nutrition have stabilized. You should also be sure you’re taking the recommended supplements before getting pregnant. Of course you should always take the supplements your surgeon prescribed anyway, right?  If you have had gastric banding (Lap-Band or Realize band) you should have all the fluid removed at the start of the second trimester. As your pregnancy progresses, you should expect fewer complications. There are excellent studies that show women who have had weight-loss surgery have fewer complications of pregnancy like gestational diabetes, hypertension, or preeclampsia, than severely obese women. So you should have a healthier pregnancy after your weight-loss surgery than before.

Your baby will also be healthier. One study involved morbidly obese women who had babies and then had weight-loss surgery and then had more children.  The children were followed for six years and the children born after the weight-loss surgery were healthier than those born before.

In conclusion, infertility, PCOS, and a desire for healthier babies are just a few more reasons why a woman should strongly consider weight-loss surgery.

 

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