Pregnancy After Gastric Bypass & Bariatric Weight Loss Surgery

PUBLISHED 10 June 2018


Weight loss surgery has grown in popularity in recent years. There is a whole new generation of women who have had gastric bypass or bariatric weight loss surgery facing new issues regarding pregnancy. Is it possible to still get pregnant after bariatric wright loss surgery? Is pregnancy after weight loss surgery even safe? Learn more about the risks and complications of pregnancy after bariatric surgery below.

Pregnancy After Gastric Bypass & Bariatric Weight Loss Surgery

Will I Be Able to Get Pregnant After Weight Loss Surgery? Can I still conceive?

So is pregnancy after gastric bypass surgery even possible? The short answer is yes. Many women who have had gastric bypass surgery have found that their fertility increased and getting pregnant was easier and faster post-surgery than it was before they lost weight. Infertility, hormone imbalances, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and other obesity-related issues are seemingly “cured” or improved after weight loss surgery. Why? Obesity and morbid obesity can have negative effects on the reproductive system and upset menstruation and ovulation. After significant weight loss, the reproductive system can return to its natural cycle and often experiences a burst of new fertility. For many women, pregnancy is not only possible, it is actually more likely after bariatric surgery.

Is Pregnancy After Gastric Bypass Surgery Safe?

Pregnancy after gastric bypass surgery is possible, but is it safe? This is a more complicated question. Recent health studies have shown that women who have had gastric bypass weight loss surgery before becoming pregnant often experience fewer negative side effects and complications than obese women. Although researching is ongoing, recent medical studies suggest that bariatric surgery might protect obese women and their babies from obesity-related side effects and complications, including gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and other side effects. However, women who have had gastric bypass surgery still must keep a close eye on their pregnancy.

How Long Should I wait to get pregnant after weight loss surgery?

Pregnancy after gastric bypass surgery can be safe and free of negative side effects, but the amount of recovery time you allow before trying to get pregnant can significantly impact the health and safety of both you and your baby. So how long should you wait – 6 months, a year? Two years? Doctors offer different opinions on the recommended amount of time for recovery after weight loss surgery, usually depending on a woman’s initial size and weight loss goals. Some women have much more weight to lose than others, and most health experts agree that women should wait to get pregnant until their weight has stabilized. As a general guideline, most experts recommend waiting at least 18 months after weight loss surgery before getting pregnant.

Why Should I wait to get pregnant after bariatric surgery?

Why should you wait so long to get pregnant? There are many cases of women safely getting pregnant just a few weeks after bariatric surgery and giving birth to healthy babies, so is waiting really necessary? Again, every woman is different. Health experts generally recommend waiting for body weight to stabilize before pregnancy. After rapid weight loss of any kind, the body goes through many potentially stressful changes that could pose health risks to a growing baby.

Getting Pregnant After Weight Loss Surgery: What are the biggest risks?

Most health experts will agree that malnutrition and nutritional deficiencies pose the biggest risks to both mother and child after bariatric surgery. During gastric bypass surgery, part of the intestine is removed, resulting in less opportunity for essential vitamins and minerals to be absorbed during digestion. A study in the American Journal of Medical Science found that the most common nutritional complications associated with bariatric surgery are deficiencies in B12, iron, calcium, and vitamin D. In some cases, post-surgery patients can experience protein-calorie malnutrition and fat malabsorption. To prevent malnutrition and its side effects, doctors often prescribe bariatric vitamin supplements to their patients.

While all weight loss surgery patients must maintain proper nutrition, it is especially important for pregnant women. Pregnancy poses even more malnutrition risks because of its common side effects of morning sickness and nausea. After surgery, many women eat as few as 500 calories a day and often have to take extra vitamins to compensate for the ways in which their bodies no longer metabolize nutrients.

By 18 months, the gastric bypass patient should be eating 1200 calories a day. Waiting at least 18 months after bariatric surgery to get pregnant significantly reduces the potential for malnutrition for mother and baby as well as the chance of premature birth, according to a report in a November 2005 issue of the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing. After 18 months, chances are much greater that a woman has achieved a stable weight and can provide her baby with the necessary nutrition.

I Am Pregnant With Twins, Can I Carry Two Babies?

Women who have undergone bariatric weight loss surgery can carry 2 babies, but this will mean that the nutritional needs will be even higher. If the mother has waited more than 18 months since gastric bypass surgery, this may not cause any problems. If less than 18 months, however, there will most likely be an increased chance that intravenous nutrition is needed to ensure the health of the babies. Mothers pregnant with twins who have undergone gastric bypass surgery should work closely with their doctors to make sure all nutritional needs are met.

Is it Okay to Lose Weight During Pregnancy?

Rest assured, there are many mothers who have had weight loss surgery who continue to lose weight throughout their entire pregnancy and have healthy babies. This is especially true of patients who have become pregnant before the recommended 18 month time frame has lapsed and are still significantly overweight. As long as the nutritional values stay within a healthy level, the body can safely continue to shed excess weight during the pregnancy. As the end of the pregnancy approaches, the weight loss should slow as baby is gaining as much as mom is losing.

Reduce Pregnancy Risks by Consulting With a Bariatric Expert

To ensure both mother and baby maintain optimal levels of essential vitamins and minerals throughout the pregnancy process, women who have undergone bariatric surgery should consult a gynecologist (OBGYN) who is knowledgeable of the nutritional needs of bariatric patients post-surgery. Pregnancy screenings for mothers who have had gastric bypass surgery will likely include more frequent blood tests, including the glucose tolerance test (GTT). With the increased popularity of gastric bypass surgery, many obstetricians are becoming more familiar with pregnancy protocol in these patients. Ask your doctor about his or her experience with pregnancy after weight loss surgery to protect the health of you and your baby.

Pregnancy After Gastric Bypass Surgery Risks: Increased Chance of C-Section

Pregnant women who have had bariatric surgery are more likely to end up with a Caesarean birth or C-section, according to a 2004 study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. While experts are not sure exactly why the odds increase, it may help to discuss the possibility with your doctor.

Can I Still Have a Vaginal Birth After Gastric Bypass Surgery?

While your doctor may prefer to perform a C-section to cut down on the risks of complications, you may be able reduce your odds of having a C-section by following your doctor's weight-gain recommendations, exercising during pregnancy and taking childbirth preparation classes.

Psychological & Emotional Risks of Pregnancy After Gastric Weight Loss Surgery

One of the biggest side effects of pregnancy for women who have had bariatric surgery is actually psychological. Many women who have undergone significant weight loss struggle emotionally with the body image issues of having to gain weight back during pregnancy. Since pregnancy is a stressful process, women may also tend to overeat and revert back to unhealthy eating habits to cope with the stress and hormonal changes associated with being pregnant. Low self-esteem and poor body image can also cause women to “suddenly feel fat again.” The pregnant mom needs to understand that pregnancy weight often sheds off within the first 6 weeks after pregnancy in women of healthy starting weights.

Pregnancy After Bariatric Surgery: A Safe Option in Many Cases

Pregnancy after gastric bypass can be safe and healthy if managed well by you and your health care provider. Women who have had bariatric weight loss surgery should closely monitor their nutritional intake and work closely with an obstetrician knowledgeable of gastric bypass surgery and its potential side effects and complications.

Celebrity Weight Loss
Roseanne Barr Weight Loss & Gastric Bypass Surgery

Roseanne Barr Weight Loss & Gastric Bypass Surgery

Roseanne Barr is one of the funniest women in comedy. What are her weight loss secrets? Did she have gastric bypass weight loss surgery?

Precious Weight Loss: Did Gabourey Sidibe Have Weight Loss Surgery?

Precious Weight Loss: Did Gabourey Sidibe Have Weight Loss Surgery?

Gabourey Sidibe, best known for her role in Precious, has undergone an amazing celebrity weight loss transformation. How did Precious lose weight? Did she have secret weight loss surgery?

How Did Jennifer Hudson Lose Weight? Bariatric Surgery?

How Did Jennifer Hudson Lose Weight? Bariatric Surgery?

How did American Idol and Dreamgirls star Jennifer Hudson lose weight? Did she have weight loss surgery?

Susan Boyle Weight Loss: How Did She Lose Weight? Surgery?

Susan Boyle Weight Loss: How Did She Lose Weight? Surgery?

Britain's Got Talent singing superstar Susan Boyle has undergone a celebrity weight loss transformation. How did Susan Boyle lose weight? Did Boyle have secret weight loss surgery?

Mariah Carey Weight Loss: Did She Have Weight Loss Surgery?

Mariah Carey Weight Loss: Did She Have Weight Loss Surgery?

Mariah Carey Weight Loss Surgery. Celebrity Mariah Carey's weight has fluctuated over the last few years, but in 2018 she is looking thin and fit again. Did Mariah Carey have secret gastric bypass weight loss surgery?

Al Roker Weight Loss: Did He Have Weight Loss Surgery?

Al Roker Weight Loss: Did He Have Weight Loss Surgery?

TV news personality Al Roker has struggled to maintain his weight loss throughout his career. How did Al Roker lose weight and achieve his celebrity weight loss transformation? Did he have secret bariatric weight loss surgery?

How to Lose Weight the "Right Weigh"

How Long Does it Take to Recover & Lose Weight After Bariatric Surgery?

How Long Does it Take to Recover & Lose Weight After Bariatric Surgery?

Right Weigh receives many questions about gastric bypass and lap band surgery, most of them concerning how long it takes to recover from surgery and get back to your normal life.

Broken Crumbling Teeth & Bariatric Weight Loss Surgery

Broken Crumbling Teeth & Bariatric Weight Loss Surgery

Do you have broken or crumbling teeth and don't know the causes for it? If you've had bariatric weight loss surgery, you need to find out why this is happening.

Get Back on Track to Weight Loss After Lap Band/Gastric Bypass Surgery

Get Back on Track to Weight Loss After Lap Band/Gastric Bypass Surgery

Have you had bariatric surgery and have started to gain back the weight you lost? Don't give up hope! You can still get back on the track to weight loss.

Drinking Water to Lose Weight: Natural Appetite Suppressant

Drinking Water to Lose Weight: Natural Appetite Suppressant

Want to lose weight? Drink more water, the best natural appetite suppressant.

Drink Bulletproof Coffee for Weight Loss: Review & Recipe

Drink Bulletproof Coffee for Weight Loss: Review & Recipe

Drinking bulletproof coffee might be good for losing weight. Read our review of bulletproof coffee and check out our easy recipe!

Gastric Sleeve Surgery: What is a Gastric Sleeve Procedure?

Gastric Sleeve Surgery: What is a Gastric Sleeve Procedure?

What is the gastric sleeve? How does gastric sleeve bariatric surgery work? Find out more about gastric sleeve surgery and if it is the best weight loss option for you.

Fast Weight Loss the Best Way to Lose Weight?

Fast Weight Loss the Best Way to Lose Weight?

Is losing weight fast really the best way to lose weight? Studies show fast weight loss more effective for many dieters.