Pregnancy after bariatric surgery is very possible and fertility is often improved, but there are some important considerations to remember. Bariatric surgery can significantly impact a person’s body weight, metabolism, and nutrient absorption. These changes can affect both the mother and the developing foetus during pregnancy.
What are the primary considerations for pregnancy after bariatric surgery?
Weight loss and fertility:
Bariatric surgery often leads to significant weight loss, which can improve fertility in women with obesity-related infertility issues. Many women experience improved menstrual regularity and an increased chance of ovulation after bariatric surgery, making it easier to conceive.
Bariatric surgery can affect nutrient absorption, particularly for vitamins and minerals like folic acid, iron, calcium, and vitamin B12. Adequate intake of these nutrients is crucial for a healthy pregnancy. It is important to work closely with your healthcare team, including a registered dietitian and obstetrician, to ensure proper supplementation and monitor nutrient levels throughout pregnancy.
Timing of pregnancy:
It is generally recommended to wait at least 12 to 18 months after bariatric surgery before attempting to conceive. This allows the body to stabilise, weight loss to plateau, and nutritional deficiencies to be addressed. It also reduces the risk of potential complications during pregnancy.
Research suggests that pregnancy after bariatric surgery is generally safe, with a reduced risk of gestational diabetes, hypertension, and large-for-gestational-age babies. However, there may be a slightly higher risk of certain complications, such as nutritional deficiencies, anaemia, and the need for surgical interventions during pregnancy. Close monitoring by your obstetric team after bariatric surgery is essential.
Weight gain during pregnancy:
While weight gain is a normal part of pregnancy, the optimal range may differ for women who have undergone bariatric surgery.
It’s crucial to consult with your obstetrician and dietitian who will be experienced in managing pregnancies after bariatric surgery. They can provide personalised guidance based on your specific situation to ensure a healthy pregnancy and delivery.
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