Life After Weight-Loss Surgery: Can I Still Become Pregnant?

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The short answer is yes. Not only can you become pregnant after weight loss surgery, but you may have a healthier pregnancy than you would have had otherwise! There are still some risks, however, so before you try to become pregnant, talk to your physician about the following:

The Risks
As beneficial as weight loss surgery can be, it creates new challenges for your body that affect pregnancy. Surgery changes your body’s nutrient levels, which can cause both you and your baby to become malnourished. Rapid weight loss also changes your body’s center of gravity, putting pressure on your spine. Since pregnancy also changes your center of gravity, you should not attempt to get pregnant until you’ve adjusted to your new weight and consulted a chiropractor. Weight loss surgery also raises the risks of certain pregnancy complications, including low birth weight. Finally, pregnant women who have had weight loss surgery are more likely to need C-sections, so make sure to review the risks of that procedure.

The Rewards
Because obesity is associated with pregnancy complications, surgical weight loss procedures will reduce most health risks for both mother and child. After weight loss surgery, you’re less likely to develop gestational diabetes, low blood sugar or pre-ecclampsia. Your baby is less likely to suffer from birth defects or blood and lung disorders, and the risk of miscarriage goes down. Besides reducing pregnancy risks, surgical weight loss also makes it easier to get pregnant, since it resolves many of the fertility disorders associated with obesity.

The Rules
The most important rule for a safe, healthy pregnancy is to wait at least eighteen months after surgery before you try to get pregnant. This will give your body time to adjust to its new nutritional levels and center of gravity. Even after eighteen months, you may still have some nutritional problems, so pay close attention to the nutrients you consume throughout the pregnancy. If you plan to remain sexually active during the eighteen months after surgery, make sure to use birth control to counter your increased fertility levels.

Citations & References:

U.S. National Library of Medicine & Medline Plus
Life After Weight-Loss Surgery:

US National Library of Medicine
National Institutes of Health: Bariatric Surgery: Risks and Rewards:

American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery
Life After Bariatric Surgery:

American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery
Bariatric Surgery Misconceptions:
Risks of Surgery: