Gastric bypass can be an effective solution to those struggling with weight loss. Its success can also extend to those who are having difficulty getting pregnant due to obesity. However, making the decision to pursue bariatric surgery is one which calls for careful consideration and education beforehand. Below is a brief exploration into weight loss surgery and how pregnancy and fertility outcomes may be improved by having it done.
The Connection Between Weight and Pregnancy
A woman’s overall health is very important throughout pregnancy. Weight plays a significant part in reproductive and overall health. How so? With excess weight, ovulation cycles could be impacted by hormonal imbalance and the chances of developing conditions which impact fertility may be increased. Furthermore, obese women are at a higher risk for gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, premature delivery and other serious pregnancy-related conditions.
To help mitigate these potentially life-threatening concerns, significantly overweight women may turn to bariatric surgery when lifestyle changes are not enough to reach their weight loss goals. Weight loss surgery might also be beneficial for those whose fertility is affected by obesity, as well as increasing success for IVF or other fertility therapies.
Gastric Bypass Surgery Procedures and Who Qualifies
There are three approaches to bariatric surgery: restrictive, malabsorptive and a combination of the two. Gastric bypass procedures are considered malabsorptive, with some involving a combined approach as well. In malabsorption procedures, such as gastric bypass, the goal is to reduce the calories and nutrients the body can absorb. It typically involves going past or around the small intestine and reducing stomach size.
Generally, weight loss surgery is reserved as an option for patients with a body mass index (BMI) of at least 35. It could also be an option for those with a BMI of at least 30 if they are diagnosed with one or more obesity-related conditions. These might include diabetes, high blood pressure or sleep apnea.
Before a woman pursues this course of action, she should be provided with contraception and preconception counseling, since the risk of oral contraceptive failure is increased after certain procedures. The timeframe between a gastric bypass and pregnancy is another important consideration. It is advised that a woman wait 18 to 24 months before conceiving after a bariatric surgery. Otherwise, the fetus could be affected by the still progressing weight loss.
Once a woman becomes pregnant after her procedure, it’s important for nutrient levels to be monitored. Nutrients such as protein, iron, folate and calcium are essential for the development of a healthy baby and so any nutrient deficiencies should be closely monitored. She may need additional supplements on top of the prenatal vitamins she is taking.
It’s vital that a woman who is pregnant or plans to become pregnant after weight loss surgery speak with her doctors regarding her options. It’s also advocated that she follow a multidisciplinary approach comprised of professionals from multiple specialties, such as a bariatric surgeon, nutritionist and obstetrician throughout her journey. Having a team of specialists who understand the details of the specific situation works to provide the most optimal recommendations and outcomes for both mother and baby.
Understanding the Options
All in all, bariatric surgery may be a beneficial route for women who struggle with weight and, consequently, conceiving a child. It’s essential, however, to discuss the options with professionals who can help determine the best course of action.
If you’re interested in weight loss surgery, please reach out today to schedule a consultation. Our team members can support you along your journey and help determine which surgery is right for you and your goals. You can also read through the success stories of our clients whose experiences you may find relatable.