Pregnancy And Gastric Sleeve: Statistics show that approximately 37% of women ages 20 to 39 are considered higher weight. Doctors diagnose obesity by calculating weight and height, and they consider a BMI of over 30 as higher weight.
Pregnancy Before Gastric Sleeve
Individuals with higher BMIs are more at risk for health conditions like sleep apnea, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some types of cancer. Also, obesity negatively impacts the body’s natural hormone monitoring system often causing the unregulated production of estrogen, irregular periods, higher miscarriage rates as well as infertility.
Women who are carrying too much extra weight during pregnancy have a higher risk of developing pregnancy-induced diabetes, hypertension, large babies, and delivery by cesarean section.
Additionally, women who are higher weight often face difficulties when trying to conceive. This is because obesity can cause hormone disruptions and insulin resistance, resulting in various complications within the body. For instance, it can lead to liver disease, diabetes, and the development of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). PCOS, a hormone disorder, is the primary cause of infertility in women of childbearing age.
Is It Better To Have Weight Loss Surgery Before or After Pregnancy?
Every individual is different, however, women who become pregnant when they are higher weight statistically have many more risks and complications with their pregnancy. Studies named complications like hypertension, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, cesarean section, miscarriage, stillbirth, etc. In the patients who had undergone weight loss surgery and improved their BMI numbers prior to becoming pregnant, there was a significant decrease in risks for maternal complications and much improved neonatal outcomes.
Weight Loss Can Help Fertility
Are you wondering if bariatric surgery before pregnancy is counterproductive? Surprisingly, it may be just the opposite! In fact, considering that conditions such as PCOS are often triggered by obesity, it makes sense (and has been statistically confirmed) that losing weight improves this and other conditions. Moreover, a recent study related to bariatric surgery highlighted that some patients involved in the study showed decreased insulin resistance, regularity of menstrual cycles, and normalcy in the size of their ovaries (PCOS enlarges the ovaries). As a result, after having bariatric surgery and reducing their BMI, some women who had a history of fertility issues related to their weight began to ovulate on a regular schedule.
Can You Get Gastric Sleeve Surgery Before Pregnancy?
Yes, you can! Losing weight may have a profound effect on a woman’s ability to conceive, and it will definitely reduce the number of risk factors that contribute to infertility as well as greatly lower potential risks during pregnancy. Beginning a pregnancy with a lower BMI and in a healthier body will be beneficial to both mother and baby.
Consulting with an expert bariatric surgeon can help you determine which procedure would work best for you. In addition to laparoscopic gastric sleeve surgery, there is a non-surgical procedure that may be a good option for you called ESG or endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty. They do not remove any portion of your stomach but use sutures to make it smaller. There is no hospital stay, recovery time is much shorter, and there are fewer associated risks.
How Long Do I Have to Wait After Gastric Sleeve Surgery to Become Pregnant?
Your bariatric surgeon will advise you on your pregnancy plans; however, practitioners generally recommend waiting between 12 and 18 months after your gastric sleeve surgery, and until your weight stabilizes, before attempting to conceive. Before you start trying to conceive, your doctor may also recommend testing you for any nutritional deficiencies.
The thought is that the healthier the mother, the healthier the reproductive system, the healthier the egg, etc. The first 12-18 months after bariatric surgery is the phase of the most rapid weight loss, which is not the best time to attempt to nurture a growing fetus.
Does Gastric Sleeve Affect Pregnancy?
Becoming pregnant after gastric sleeve surgery can be safe and uneventful if managed from the onset by you and your doctor.
The Benefits of Becoming Pregnant after Gastric Sleeve
There are many benefits gastric sleeve surgery has in relation to pregnancy, and most women will have a successful outcome. Studies show that beginning pregnancy at a healthy weight lowers the chances of complications like high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, excessive bleeding after childbirth, larger-than-average babies, and cesarean delivery. Typically, 12-18 months after undergoing gastric sleeve surgery, most people lose around 23-30% of their initial weight, adopt regular exercise, and make healthier lifestyle choices. Consequently, being higher weight should no longer pose a risk during pregnancy.
Potential Challenges of Becoming Pregnant after Gastric Sleeve
Following gastric sleeve surgery, the size of the stomach is reduced. This reduction can influence the absorption rate of essential vitamins and minerals, potentially leading to deficiencies. Particularly during pregnancy, it is imperative to ensure an ample nutrient supply for both mother and baby. Consequently, doctors often recommend supplements and conduct periodic testing to ensure nutrient levels remain within the appropriate range.
Nutritional deficiencies can contribute to:
- Smaller newborns;
- Intrauterine growth restrictions;
- Preterm labor.
These risks and deficiencies may be avoided with good planning, open communication, a healthy diet, and supplements.
Gaining Weight after Pregnancy
To avoid weight gain after gastric sleeve surgery during pregnancy, it’s essential to work closely with a support team consisting of your OB/GYN, bariatric surgeon, and nutritionist. Moreover, consulting with your support team during pregnancy will help prevent overeating and promote safe exercise guidelines. By following these steps, you can successfully prevent excessive weight gain and sustain the advancements made through surgery.
Are There Risks Associated With Pregnancy after Gastric Sleeve Surgery?
Some rare risks can occur during pregnancy after bariatric surgery. It is advisable that you consult with both your bariatric surgeon and your OB/GYN throughout the entire pregnancy because your OB/GYN may not have a complete understanding of the effects of gastric sleeve surgery on pregnancy. It is also important that you know signs that may indicate possible issues. Risks that are rare but have been reported include:
- Abdominal adhesions after abdominal surgery resulting in scar-like tissue that can cause internal organs to stick together;
- Internal hernias;
- Restricted blood flow to the small intestine;
- Slipping of gastric sleeve.
Breast Feeding after Gastric Sleeve Surgery
You may be wondering if it’s possible to breastfeed after gastric sleeve surgery? Yes! Studies have shown that gastric sleeve surgery does not affect breast milk composition. The main thing to remember during your pregnancy and while you are breastfeeding is to make sure you get the vitamins and nutrients you need.
Vitamins such as B12, vitamin D, and Zinc play a crucial role in breast milk production. Insufficient vitamins and minerals in your diet can deplete your body’s reserves, as they are used to nourish your baby. Therefore, it’s vital to follow your doctors’ nutrition plan and take your supplements while pregnant and breastfeeding.
Are you struggling with obesity? Do you desire to have a family but have not been successful in conceiving? Weight loss surgery may be the help you need. Contact IBI Healthcare Institute today for a consultation. We can provide you with weight loss solutions to help you attain your goals.