Pregnancy after Bariatric Surgery
There are many benefits to weight loss both medical and aesthetic. One of the most fulfilling benefits for many of our female patients is that they may begin to start ovulating and menstruating normally after surgery. This is as a result of the normalization of hormonal levels, especially estrogen and insulin.
Why Do Hormone Levels Matter?
The ovaries use the hormones in the body to regulate their natural cycles. Obesity however, interferes with hormonal balance and can cause irregular or missed ovulation resulting in infertility. As a result of the more normal hormonal patterns, pregnancy is not only more likely but complications and birth defects are less likely to occur. Further, it has been shown that children born to obese mothers have a higher likelihood of becoming obese themselves both at very young ages and through their adolescence.
When Can a Weight Loss Surgery Patient Get Pregnant?
It is important to understand that bariatric surgery causes disruption to the normal gastrointestinal and abdominal functions. Since pregnancy places an increased stress on your body and specifically your abdominal area, there is a potential for serious complications as well as fetal damage if a patient becomes pregnant within the first 16 to 24 months after weight loss surgery. Also, during the first year or two after surgery, patients will be losing significant amounts of weight and their diets and nutritional requirements will be changing as well. Becoming pregnant during that time can pose a risk to fetal development. We strongly advise that sexually active weight loss surgery patients begin taking effective birth control measures to avoid pregnancy within that time so as to not harm mother or child.
Our office will be able to estimate when you can become pregnant safely based on the progress you make in healing. When you decide you would like to get pregnant, please let us know and we will be able to offer you guidance throughout your recovery process.
For more information on how obesity affects fertility and ovulation and how intentional weight loss can improve a woman’s pregnancy, please click on the following link: How Does Obesity Affect Fertility & Pregnancy
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