If you are a woman of childbearing age, you might be wondering if bariatric surgery will affect your chances at getting pregnant. Personally, this was something very important to me when I decided to have weight loss surgery. I was 24 when I decided to have the surgery and I really wanted to be a mom. I did a lot of research and talked to my doctors to make sure I was making the right decision not just for myself, but for my family as well. I am happy to say that I now have a beautiful, healthy 4-year-old son. So, here is a little more about my experience being pregnant after weight loss surgery.
A lot of women think that they will have trouble getting pregnant after surgery, when in fact many women actually see a spike in their fertility after bariatric surgery. This is because obesity can interfere with your chances of getting pregnant, so when you start dropping the weight, your fertility goes up. Most surgeons will tell you that you should wait until 12-18 months post-op before conceiving. This is because they want to make sure your weight has stabilized before getting pregnant.
When I hit the 12-month mark, I felt that I was ready to get pregnant. Sure enough, the first month of trying was a success! Many people told us that it would take time to get pregnant, so we figured it would take a few months. However, my fertility must have spiked after losing so much weight and it was easier than we thought it would be. I will say that I think it is probably better to wait until the 18-month mark. When I decided to get pregnant, I was not at my goal weight. I feel that the pregnancy set me back some with how quickly I was losing. If you have the choice, I would highly recommend you wait those additional 6 months to make sure you are as healthy as possible.
My pregnancy went quite well, but there were a few instances where my surgery interfered. I was extremely sick during my pregnancy, to the point where I had to be on a prescription to help with the nausea. This was not necessarily correlated to weight loss surgery, but it is something I had to deal with. Another thing to keep in mind is how much and the type of foods you are eating. We already struggle with getting the proper nutrition after surgery, but it is even harder when you are pregnant. I worked very closely with my OBGYN to make sure I was doing everything I could to have a healthy pregnancy. Since it is so difficult to get in the appropriate amount of vitamins and minerals, you should focus on making sure you are eating as healthy as possible. Your baby will be taking a lot of that from you, so you need to make sure you are getting enough for yourself as well.
The most difficult thing that I had to deal with when I was pregnant after weight loss surgery had to do with the Gestational Diabetes test. I failed the first test so I had to go back for the longer and more intense test. I remember I was very concerned about this because I knew how we reacted with large amounts of sugar, but my doctor really wanted to make sure I didn’t have Gestational Diabetes. These types of tests have 100 grams of sugar! As I suspected, my body did not respond positively to the test. I had the worst dumping syndrome I have ever experienced. It was so bad that they almost had to take me to the hospital. I am not sharing this to scare you, but I do think it is important to know that your body might react the same way mine did. Even though I had this happen, my doctor really wanted me to take the test again. I refused to do it so we had to explore other options. We decided that the best thing to do would be to test my blood sugar before and after every meal. So, I spent most of my pregnancy pricking my finger to make sure my blood sugar did not get too high. Interestingly enough, most times that I tested, I ended up having low blood sugar. If you have the option, I highly recommend that you do this instead if taking the test.
Towards the end of my pregnancy I started developing high blood pressure. I had to go to the doctor 3 times a week to do kick counts and make sure my baby was not under any stress. We did this for a few weeks until finally my blood pressure got too high. I ended up getting induced 2 weeks before my due date. Again, I share this not to scare you, but to inform you on the types of issues that can happen during pregnancy.
Overall, I will say that my pregnancy went well. There were these few things that happened, but I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. My baby was born healthy and I am so grateful for that. If you are thinking about getting pregnant, I would encourage you to stay connected with your team of doctors as much as possible. This will ensure that you stay on track and have the healthiest pregnancy possible. I would also encourage you to wait until the 18-month mark to begin the process. It is possible to get pregnant after weight loss surgery, but you must stay vigilant. Good luck to all of you that are trying to start a family!
Continue reading about pregnancy after Bariatric surgery: Complete Guide to Pregnancies After Weight Loss Surgery