Weight Loss Surgery (Obesity Surgery) & Pregnancy

Most weight loss surgery patients have often had lives, which have been dominated by their struggle in losing weight.  Many don’t plan families or consider themselves able to bring up children because of their excess weight.  Weight loss surgery is an effective tool for losing and maintaining weight loss, which can make pregnancy possible.  Generally pregnancy is far from most patients’ minds and many wonder if it is even possible to conceive after weight loss surgery.

Many obese and morbidly obese people experience fertility problems and find it difficult or impossible to become pregnant.  Many weight loss surgery patients who are female and of reproductive age are hoping to start a family and losing weight can make this possible for some, for the first time.  Raising children is a major life change and one, which is not to be rushed into straight after you have maintained a healthy weight.  Your body has to adjust to the changes post surgery and you will need to give it time to recover and for your weight ti stabilise.

Pregnancy is possible after surgery and your ability to conceive will improve if you have no other health conditions.  The surgery for weight loss surgery involves the abdominal areas and the small intestines, which in terms of anatomy is far away from the uterus so you will be able to become pregnant if you have not other health conditions.   Women of reproductive age who are in good general health and who have lost and maintained a healthy weight can go on to have healthy normal pregnancies.  Losing excess weight means that your blood pressure should not be too high and your health in general should be much improved.  Once you have achieved and are successfully maintaining a healthy weight, means that you should have been able to drop some of your previous medications.  Your overall improved health and lack of medications, mean that you should be more active and able to live a healthy lifestyle.  Your new healthy lifestyle will enable you to cope with the birth much more effectively and the demands of motherhood.  There have been many cases of weight loss surgery patients becoming pregnant after losing weight, as they believed that they were infertile for many years and were not accustomed to use precautions.  As you lose weight, enjoy better health and take regular exercise your chances of becoming pregnant will increase greatly so do use contraception if you do not wish to become pregnant.   

Timing Pregnancy after Weight Loss Surgery

Although there is no harm in planning and working towards a pregnancy after weight loss surgery pregnancy, many recommend that it should be avoided in the first year after surgery.  There are many reasons to avoid pregnancy in the first year post surgery.  Your body needs time to recover and adjust to surgery and because you need time to reach and maintain your ideal weight.  Not only this but you will undergo many emotional ups and downs and you will be learning new eating habits and adjusting to a new healthier lifestyle.  Give yourself time to adjust to all these challenges and changes before taking on something as major as pregnancy.  Most patients are still losing weight in the first year post surgery, although some reach their ideal weight in just 5-6 months.  Each person will be different in the time it takes them to adjust to the changes and establish a healthy weight and lifestyle.  For some of us it could take more than a year to fully recover and feel more at balance with all the changes in your life post surgery.  Another reason to avoid pregnancy in the first year post surgery is because of the small amounts of food you are eating which are not enough to maintain a healthy fetus.  You may also be deficient in certain vitamins and minerals, which are vital for pregnancy so it is important that you take extra supplements.  If you are planning a pregnancy, your surgeon/doctor may recommend that you wait at least 18 months or more. 

The first year after surgery is when it is easiest and quickest for you to lose weight and you need to make the most of this time and this should be your focus post surgery.  Often this period of time is referred to as the ‘window of opportunity’ this is because it becomes harder to lose weight after the first year of surgery.  Most patients try to lose as much weight as they can in the first year after surgery because it is the time to focus on reaching a healthy weight.  When you have reached a normal weight you stand the best chance of being able to have a normal delivery and your body will be in the best possible physical shape to cope with the demands of motherhood. 

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