Conception after bariatric (weight loss) surgery
It's safe to get pregnant after bariatric (e.g. gastric sleeve) surgery however it’s recommended to wait until your weight stabilises. Some experts suggest waiting a minimum of 12 months and ideally, 18 to 24 months.
After any bariatric surgery, your body doesn't digest food and absorb nutrients the same way it used to and it's crucial that you and your growing baby get enough nutrients. Nutritional deficiencies during pregnancy may lead to many complications such as anaemia, neural tube defects, preterm birth, and infants that are small for their gestational size (SGA). Patients who have undergone bariatric surgery may be at risk for deficiencies in protein, Vitamin B12, iron, folate, calcium, and Vitamin D.
In preparing for pregnancy after bariatric surgery it is therefore very important to ensure your micronutrient and macronutrient supply is adequate.
If there was a previous family history of diabetes then this may reoccur as gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) in pregnancy. Glucose tolerance tests cannot be done after bariatric surgery so glucose monitoring is the currently accepted standard to diagnose and manage diabetes. You may need specialist advice in this situation.
Another reason for waiting is that if you've gone through surgery in order to lose weight – and likely experienced a change in how you feel about your body – it can be challenging to see your belly growing rather than shrinking. It’s important that you get comfortable with the idea that this is the time for you to gain, not lose weight.
If you are considering weight loss surgery and want to conceive it's a good idea to seek the advice of your bariatric surgeon.