It is definitely possible to get pregnant after weight loss surgery. In fact, many individuals discover that they may be even more fertile after the procedure than they were before they lost significant amounts of weight. One of the many benefits of major weight loss is that it can improve fertility. As the weight comes off, it is often the case that hormones become more stable, and that can enhance the potential for conception in many women. With that in mind, when exactly is the best time to conceive following weight loss surgery? In most cases, our bariatric surgeon, James Parrish, MD, advises patients to wait a minimum of one year to 18 months after undergoing weight loss surgery.
One of the reasons for this extended waiting period is to maximize the potential of delivering a healthy baby while minimizing the risk of pregnancy-related complications. It is very important that an individual’s vitamin and nutrition levels are stable before getting pregnant, and this can take some time after weight loss surgery. By waiting until the body has the chance to stabilize vitamin levels and other nutrients, patients can diminish the possibility of fetal malnutrition, low birth weight, a premature birth, or other potential complications, such as gestational diabetes or even stillbirth. Additionally, it is typically best to ensure one is not still losing weight during pregnancy, so waiting at least 12 to 18 months after bariatric surgery gives many patients the opportunity to achieve their goal weight before they become pregnant.
Remember, for an extended period after weight loss surgery the body will be going through major changes. Dietary restrictions, differences in how vitamins and nutrients are absorbed, and what is likely to be significant and somewhat rapid weight loss will all be having effects on the body, and it will need time to adjust. If you are considering weight loss surgery, or have already had the procedure, and are also thinking about becoming pregnant in the future, please be sure to discuss your plans with your bariatric surgeon, your OB-GYN, and your family physician.
To learn more, or to schedule a consultation with our bariatric surgeon, please contact us today.