Does Gastric Sleeve Affect Pregnancy – Impact & Considerations

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    Last Updated on October 18, 2023

    An important health question we commonly get asked is: “Does Bariatric Surgery affect pregnancy?”

    The answer: not only is it possible, but gastric sleeve surgery often paves the way for safer, healthier pregnancies.

    Read on to find out why! 

    Also readDoes Gastric Sleeve Affect Pregnancy – Impact & Considerations

     

    Pregnancy After Sleeve Surgery

    Gastric sleeve surgery sparks weight loss, slashing obesity-related risks and laying down a safer path for your pregnancy journey. 

    Yet, if you’re planning on a post-surgery pregnancy journey, there’s some crucial intel you need to be armed with. 

    Scroll down to learn more about: 

    • How long do you need to wait after surgery to get pregnant?
    • The impact of gastric surgery on your hormones and nutrition
    • The impact of gastric surgery on the effectiveness of some contraceptives
    • Steps you can take post-surgery to help you improve your chances of getting pregnant

    How long after Bariatric Surgery should you wait to get pregnant? 

    The simple answer is that you should not plan to get pregnant until your weight is stable.  

    The recommendation from most medical organizations, including the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, The Obesity Society, and the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery, are to wait 12 – 24 months after surgery to get pregnant. 

    Also read: Who is eligible for gastric sleeve surgery. 

    Why do you need to wait 1 to 2 years after Bariatric Surgery to get pregnant?  

    Your individual situation may vary from another woman preparing for gastric surgery. 

    But in general, there are four main considerations to think about post gastric surgery that will help you and your doctor determine if you are ready to get pregnant safely. 

    1. Weight stabilization

    One crucial factor in determining the pregnancy waiting period is achieving weight stabilization after gastric sleeve surgery. 

    Your body needs time to adapt to the changes, and weight loss needs to stabilize before attempting pregnancy. This typically occurs within 12 to 24 months after surgery, but individual circumstances may influence the timeline. 

    It’s important to speak with your bariatric surgeon and obstetrician when planning conception.  

    2. Adequate nutrition

    Another important consideration when it comes to pregnancy and fertility after sleeve surgery is ensuring you have achieved and maintained adequate nutrition post-surgery. 

    Pregnancy places additional demands on your body, requiring sufficient nutrient intake to support both your own health and the development of a growing fetus. Your healthcare provider will monitor your nutritional status and guide you on when it is safe to pursue pregnancy. 

    3. Vitamin and mineral supplementation

    Gastric sleeve surgery can occasionally impact the absorption of some vitamins and minerals. It is crucial to establish a routine for supplementation to prevent any potential deficiencies during pregnancy. 

    Your healthcare provider will recommend specific supplements, such as folic acid, iron, calcium, and vitamin D, to support your overall health and the healthy development of your baby. 

    4. Psychological readiness

    Apart from physical considerations, it is important to evaluate your psychological readiness for pregnancy and parenting after sleeve surgery. Weight loss surgery can be a life-changing experience and it can be beneficial to take the time to adjust to those changes and the impacts they have on you before undergoing another life-changing experience such as pregnancy.

     

    Bariatric surgery and its impact on fertility, pregnancy

     

    Can gastric surgery increase fertility? 

    While you may have to wait a little while after your gastric surgery to get pregnant, you may find that it is easier to conceive a healthy pregnancy than before having weight loss surgery.  

    See also  Low BMI Gastric Sleeve Surgery - Why You Should Consider It?

    In addition to its impact on weight reduction and overall health, there is abundant evidence to suggest that gastric sleeve surgery can significantly increase fertility among women.

    According to a study published in Human Reproduction, each unit of BMI increase above 29 reduces the chance of women achieving a pregnancy within 12 months by about 4%. 

    Essentially this means that if you are a woman with a BMI of 35, your chance of getting pregnant in one year is 26% lower, than for a woman with a BMI of 29 and that number gets further apart the higher your BMI gets.

    Weight loss achieved through gastric sleeve surgery can lead to improvements in hormonal balance and reproductive function, which can enhance fertility in women. 

    Some of the major ways gastric surgery can impact your fertility include: 

    1. Resolution of hormonal imbalances:

    Obesity can disrupt hormonal balance, leading to irregular menstrual cycles and ovulation problems. 

    Losing weight through gastric sleeve surgery can help regulate hormone levels and restore normal menstrual cycles. This may increase the chances of ovulation, making it easier for women to conceive. 

    2. Improved insulin sensitivity

    Obesity is often associated with insulin resistance, a condition that can interfere with normal reproductive function. 

    A study published by the American Federation for Medical Research highlights that gastric sleeve surgery has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, leading to better glucose control and reduced insulin levels. This improvement in metabolic health can positively impact fertility. 

    3. Increased chance of spontaneous conception

    One study from Asia found that weight loss resulting from gastric sleeve surgery can increase the likelihood of spontaneous conception. By addressing the underlying factors contributing to infertility, such as hormonal imbalances and ovulation disorders, gastric sleeve surgery may improve natural fertility potential. 

    It’s important to note that while gastric sleeve surgery can have positive effects on female fertility, it is not a guarantee of pregnancy. 

    Many factors contribute to successful conception, and individual circumstances can vary. It is essential to consult with your healthcare provider, particularly a fertility specialist, to evaluate your specific situation and discuss the potential benefits and risks.

    Additionally, it’s worth considering that pregnancy after gastric sleeve surgery requires careful monitoring and management. Your healthcare provider will guide you on appropriate prenatal care, nutrition, and supplementation to support a healthy pregnancy and ensure the well-being of both you and your baby.

     

     

    Contraceptive usage after gastric sleeve surgery

    Due to the possibility of increased fertility from the causes mentioned above, the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery recommends those who undergo gastric sleeve surgery use contraceptives to protect against accidental pregnancy.

    After undergoing gastric sleeve surgery, it is important for you to consider contraceptive usage, because even if you want to conceive, your doctor will likely recommend that you wait 1 to 2 years for your weight to stabilize before you begin trying. 

    Weight loss following surgery can have an impact on fertility, and it is essential to take appropriate measures to prevent unintended pregnancies during this period as it may be bad for your health or the fetus.  

    Hormonal contraceptives after gastric surgery

    Weight loss surgery can impact your hormones. Because of this, it’s important to consider what type of contraceptive you use post-gastric surgery. 

    Before making any decisions regarding contraception, it is crucial to consult with your healthcare provider, preferably a gynecologist or a reproductive health specialist. They can provide personalized guidance based on your individual circumstances, medical history, and any specific concerns.

    See also  Gastric Sleeve Diet: Eating Plan After Surgery Week by Week

    During the initial period after gastric sleeve surgery, while waiting for weight stabilization, contraceptive methods can be considered. These include barrier methods like condoms, diaphragms, and copper intrauterine devices (IUDs). It is important to discuss the options with your healthcare provider, as the effectiveness and dosages of hormonal contraceptives may be influenced by the changes in your body after gastric sleeve surgery. They can help determine the most appropriate hormonal contraceptive method based on your specific needs and medical history. 

    Oral contraceptives after gastric surgery

    It is crucial to discuss this with your healthcare provider to ensure you are using the most suitable contraceptive method and, if necessary, explore alternative options such as patches, injections, or intrauterine devices.

    Regardless of the contraceptive method chosen, it is important to maintain regular follow-up appointments with your healthcare provider. They can monitor your overall health, weight management, and address any concerns or potential interactions between the contraceptive method and your post-surgery condition. 

    Steps to take after gastric surgery if you want to get pregnant

    Aftercare is an important part of gastric surgery for everyone. However, there are some areas that women who want to get pregnant will need to monitor more closely to give themselves the best chance of convincing a healthy baby once their weight has stabilized.  

    If you have undergone gastric sleeve surgery and are considering starting a family, here are some important considerations to keep in mind:

    1. Achieve weight stability

    One of the primary goals before attempting pregnancy after gastric sleeve surgery is to achieve weight stability. Rapid weight loss in the initial months following surgery may lead to nutritional deficiencies and affect the overall health of both the mother and the developing fetus.

    Focus on stability and maintaining your achieved weight loss for 6 to 12 months rather than just dropping numbers on the scales. 

    2. Nutritional assessment and supplementation

    Pregnancy places additional demands on the body, requiring an adequate supply of essential nutrients for fetal development. After gastric sleeve surgery, it is important to undergo a nutritional assessment to determine if you are receiving sufficient nutrients, including vitamins and minerals.  

    3. Regular medical check-ups

    During your preconception phase and throughout pregnancy, it is important to maintain regular check-ups with your healthcare provider. These visits will allow for monitoring of your overall health, nutritional status, and weight management. Your healthcare provider can provide guidance on appropriate weight gain during pregnancy and address any concerns or complications that may arise.  

    4. Optimize lifestyle factors

    In addition to weight management and nutritional considerations, it is important to optimize other lifestyle factors that can influence fertility and pregnancy outcomes. This includes maintaining a balanced diet, engaging in regular physical activity as recommended by your healthcare provider, managing stress levels, getting adequate sleep, and avoiding smoking, alcohol, and recreational drugs. 

    5. Emotional support

    Embarking on the journey of pregnancy after gastric sleeve surgery can bring about a range of emotions and unique challenges. It is important to seek emotional support from your healthcare provider, a counsellor, or a support group specializing in bariatric surgery and reproductive health. They can provide guidance, reassurance, and a safe space to discuss any concerns or anxieties you may have. 

    Also read: Bariatric Surgery 101 – Everything you need to know 

    In conclusion: gastric sleeve surgery can positively impact pregnancy

    Gastric sleeve surgery does have an impact on pregnancy, and it is generally considered safe, even offering benefits for women who are overweight and planning to conceive. 

    See also  Weight Loss Plateau After Gastric Sleeve - Causes & Strategies

    The surgery can lead to weight loss, reducing the risks associated with obesity during pregnancy and potentially improving fertility. However, it is essential to approach pregnancy after gastric sleeve surgery with careful planning and medical guidance.

    Waiting for at least 12 months after surgery to achieve weight stability is recommended before attempting to conceive. This period allows the body to adjust to the changes and ensures that the mother has reached a healthy weight. Nutritional assessment and supplementation are important to address any potential nutrient deficiencies and support the healthy development of the fetus.

    If you’re considering weight loss surgery, below are some next steps you can take:

    Please note that the information provided in this article is for general informational purposes only and should not replace medical advice. It is always recommended to consult with a qualified healthcare professional for personalized guidance regarding weight loss surgery. If you are considering sleeve surgery you can book a consultation with our Toronto Wight Loss clinic here: Contact us


    Key Takeaways :

    • Bariatric Surgery and Pregnancy: Gastric sleeve surgery can lead to safer and healthier pregnancies by reducing obesity-related risks.
      • Weight loss achieved through gastric sleeve surgery can lead to improvements in hormonal balance and reproductive function, enhancing fertility in women.
      • Obesity can disrupt hormonal balance, leading to irregular menstrual cycles and ovulation problems. Weight loss post-surgery can help regulate these hormone levels.
      • A study by the American Federation for Medical Research indicates that gastric sleeve surgery improves insulin sensitivity, positively impacting fertility. 
    • Waiting Period Post-Surgery: Medical organizations, including the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, The Obesity Society, and the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery, recommend waiting 12-24 months after surgery to get pregnant. This is to ensure weight stabilization and adequate nutrition.
    • Factors to Consider Before Pregnancy:
      • Weight Stabilization: Achieving weight stability post-surgery is crucial before attempting pregnancy.
      • Nutrition: Ensure adequate nutrition post-surgery, especially during pregnancy.
      • Vitamin and Mineral Supplementation: Gastric sleeve surgery might affect the absorption of certain vitamins and minerals, making supplementation essential.
      • Psychological Readiness: Adjusting to the changes post-surgery and evaluating psychological readiness for pregnancy is important.
    • Gastric Surgery and Fertility: Gastric sleeve surgery can significantly increase fertility among women. A study in Human Reproduction highlighted that each unit of BMI increase above 29 reduces the chance of women achieving a pregnancy within 12 months by about 4%.
    • Contraceptive Usage: Due to the potential increase in fertility post-surgery, it’s recommended to use contraceptives to prevent unintended pregnancies.
    • Hormonal Contraceptives: Weight loss surgery can impact hormones, affecting the effectiveness of certain contraceptives. It’s essential to consult with a healthcare provider regarding the best contraceptive methods post-surgery.
    • Steps for Those Wanting to Get Pregnant Post-Surgery:
      • Achieve weight stability.
      • Undergo nutritional assessment and supplementation.
      • Regular medical check-ups.
      • Optimize lifestyle factors.
      • Seek emotional support.

    References

    1. Human Reproduction – Obesity affects spontaneous pregnancy chances in subfertile, ovulatory women
    2. Journal of Investigative Medicine – Severe Insulin Resistance Improves Immediately After Sleeve Gastrectomy
    3. Annals of Medicine and Surgery – Bariatric surgery and its impact on fertility, pregnancy and its outcome
    4. American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery

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