Pregnant-womanPregnancy changes your body in ways you never thought possible. If you have been dreaming of bringing a little one into the world but are unsure about the rumors you’ve heard regarding pregnancy after weight loss surgery, worry no more.

We understand that both weight loss surgery and giving birth produce incredible results as well as challenges. While happiness and health and the goal of both choices, making big changes to your body requires planning and knowledge.

The following are facts to be aware of when planning your first or next pregnancy, post-op.

Fertility Can Increase

Women who experienced fertility problems before surgery often report regular ovulation after surgery for the first time in years, according to the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing.In addition, fertility can increase for patients with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), who have reportedly resolved their reproductive issues. However, accidental pregnancies can increase when reproductive challenges dissolve, so be sure to look into your birth control options prior to surgery and to follow through with any plan until you are ready to conceive.

Watch Your Nutrition

Bariatric surgery can affect the way in which your body absorbs nutrients from the food you consume. Good nutrition is essential during pregnancy, so women who have undergone weight loss surgery must pay particular attention to nutritional deficiencies and taking proactive steps to better care for themselves.

Particular deficiencies to watch out for include:

  • B12

  • Iron

  • Calcium

  • Vitamin D

Because your post-surgery diet may be limited, supplementation is vital to maintaining good health, and doubly important if you are looking to conceive or are already pregnant. A registered dietitian can help you see to it that you and your child are getting the nutrition you both require, particularly if you experience nausea in the early months of your pregnancy.

Wait 18 Months

Immediately after bariatric surgery, your body undergoes significant weight loss and nutritional changes, making this not the best time to conceive. However, after 18 months, your weight will be closer to stabilized and ready to begin the very active process of growing baby. Ideally, you should achieve your goal weight before becoming pregnant in order to be able to provide your growing child with enough nutrition.

Discuss with Your Doctor

Not all OBGYN physicians know how to provide care to women who have undergone bariatric surgery. If you have undergone or plan to undergo weight loss surgery, discuss with your healthcare provider as early as possible. Women who have experienced weight loss surgery may require Cesarien delivery, so the more prepared you are, the better.

Complications Are Reduced

According to a study from the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, pregnancy-induced hypertension and gestational diabetes rates were the same in women who had undergone bariatric surgery as those who had never been obese or undergone surgery.

However, complications can occur even in healthy women for a wide variety of reasons, so you may want to treat your weight loss surgery as a reason to keep a particular eye on your health during this time of change.

Changing Body-Image

Weight loss surgery and pregnancy have one major similarity: both affect the way you feel in and about your body. After undergoing weight loss surgery, you may be looking forward to a time when your waistline shrinks, rather than grows. Consider that pregnancy can be difficult on your self-esteem if you expected to fit into skinny jeans within nine months. Anticipating these feelings and timing your pregnancy accordingly can help you achieve your goals and make space in your life for that little, special someone!

Pregnancy after weight loss surgery requires a balancing act of nutritional and emotional care. While your health will improve after surgery, your body will need time to heal and drop weight before it is advisable to conceive. If you are thinking about conceiving and are also planning a surgery or are now in recovery, speak with both your surgeon and an OBGYN about the best course of action to ensure a positive, healthy outcome.