Is Pregnancy Safe After Bariatric Surgery?
Yes. Yes, it is possible to have a safe pregnancy after successful bariatric surgery.
I understand that bariatric surgery is major surgery and going through it can be exhausting physically and emotionally. But if you choose your surgeon wisely and comply with your pre-op and post-op medical regimen you must have recovered pretty quick!
Losing weight after the surgery is pretty normal but maintaining it required healthy dietary practices. Once you get a hang of that, pregnancy will not be an issue. You can expect you have pregnancy as normal as a healthy woman would experience. Let’s get into the details.
Will You Be Fertile After Bariatric Surgery?
Let’s get one thing straight – you take bariatric surgery only when you have multiple health complications arising out of overweight. An overweight woman will face many challenges when it comes to a woman’s health. PCOD(Polycystic Ovarian Disease) is a very common condition among them. It causes irregular cycles, hinders the release of eggs, and overall, makes it hostile for fertilization.
As you attain healthy weight after the surgery, all these issues tend to go away. The hormonal irregularities stabilize, menstrual cycle becomes normal, and you start ovulating healthily. In short, you become much more fertile after the surgery and the following weight loss than you were before. In fact, sometimes, even gynaecologists suggest this surgery if they understand that tremendous weight loss can redeem your fertility.
Does Pregnancy Feel ‘Normal’ After Bariatric Surgery?
When we perform bariatric surgery, we either trim your stomach or the small intestine or both. We do not even touch your reproductive system. Hence, there’s no way this surgery can affect your reproductive health services, Dr. Venugopal Pareek. On the contrary, it actually has a positive effect on it as discussed above. Plus, studies have shown that post-bariatric surgery, expecting mothers have less risk of gestational diabetes, preterm delivery or even miscarriage.
[Please understand that this comparison is between a woman who has under a bariatric weight loss and a highly overweight woman, and not between a post-op woman and a naturally healthy woman.]
So, to resolve your query, yes, pregnancy does feel ‘natural’ even after the Big weight loss surgery. However, you must make a note of a few healthy practices which you need to enforce with special care and attention.
Note a few healthy practices…
- Plan your pregnancy once your weight loss is stabilized and you get acquainted with the new lifestyle and dietary habits.
- Wait for at least 18 months after the surgery. By this time, any possible complication will have surfaced and dealt with.
- You are completely capable of supporting your child’s nutrition with your new diet. But if you are taking any supplements of vitamins and minerals, continue doing that.
- Every expecting mother requires added supplements like iron and folic acid tablets etc. It is not unusual that you will require them too. But make sure that you take them as per prescribed doses only. Overtaking or undertaking will not work effectively and can give rise to unwanted complications.
- Again, regular health check-ups are essential for every mom-to-be. If you take bariatric surgery, you may have to visit your doctor a little more frequently. This will make sure that the baby is growing healthily.
- Weight gain during pregnancy is not only normal, but it is also expected. So, do not stress on gaining a bit of weight when you are carrying. This is healthy for you and the baby. Once the baby comes, you will be able to shed off this weight with ease.
- Despite our desperate attempts, pregnancy weight gets the better of your emotions and women feel stressed about it. If you absolutely cannot shed off this fear, you must stay in touch with your doctor or a counsellor who will help you deal with stress.
With proper care and supervision, the experience of pregnancy should not be much different for you. Even then, there is a common notion that after bariatric surgery, you cannot give birth to your child naturally. This is not true. Reportedly, more women go through cesarean delivery post surgery. But that is not for everyone. Many women are capable of birthing naturally. However, you must discuss your birthing plans and preferences with your doctor.
Unplanned Pregnancy Can Be An Issue…
Unplanned pregnancy has been reported soon after bariatric surgery. We always want you to exercise caution regarding this. While it’s perfectly safe to get pregnant after you have completely recovered from the surgery, getting pregnant way too soon can be unhealthy for you and the baby inside.
But why does it happen? Well, such ‘accidents’ are seen in women who use oral contraceptives. You see, after the surgery, sometimes, your intestine cannot absorb all the nutrients from whatever you eat. This is also why you take supplements of micronutrients. The same reason holds with contraceptive pills – lack of complete absorption reduces their functionality. This can result in pregnancy.
But there are always many other methods of contraception. There are condoms, IUD, and more. Feel free to discuss your options openly with your doctor.
When should you avoid pregnancy after bariatric surgery?
Pregnancy can be magical if you want to mother a child. And bariatric surgery is not a barrier to that – it is a facilitator. So, if you need to go for bariatric surgery, don’t be scared to opt for it. Get in good health first; later, you can have a blissful pregnancy. If you have any questions regarding this, you can submit your query here or book an appointment to talk to our experts.
About the Doctor:
Dr Venugopal Pareek – Bariatric Surgeon Dr Venugopal Pareek is one of the best Laparoscopic and Bariatric Surgeon in the city has done more than 9000 surgeries in 12 years. Trained in the esteemed Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences in Surgical Oncology, Dr Pareek has the expertise in Bariatric Surgery. He has attended several conferences and published articles on medicine as well in various national and international journals.
About Sunshine Hospitals:
A Multi Super Speciality Institution, 500 bedded Sunshine Hospitals (Paradise Circle, Secunderabad) is promoted by globally reputed Joint Replacement Surgeon Dr AV Gurava Reddy (Orthopedic Doctor) and like-minded associates who share the objective of making world-standard healthcare available, affordable and accessible to the common man. Sunshine has now become one of the best hospitals for many treatments including Orthopedic, Gastroenterology, Cardiology, Trauma and Neurology.