WLS Pregnancy

Weight loss surgery can improve fertility in women. Losing excess body weight can make pregnancy safer, but the malabsorptive effects of some surgeries can have prenatal implications.

How bariatric surgery effects fertility 

Bariatric surgery can increase fertility rates in women and the chances of having a safer pregnancy. Losing excess body weight can also reduce the risk of developing preeclampsia, a condition in pregnancy that causes high blood pressure, protein in urine and fluid retention. Pregnancy is generally riskier for obese women because it can lead to gestational health complications in babies such as being born underweight, prematurely or increasing the baby’s risk of gestational diabetes and gestational hypertension. 

It is not advised to concieve in the first year after having surgery. The strain of pregnancy on the body and digestive organs can cause complications if pregnancy occurs before the body has a chance to heal properly. The first year of post-surgery weight loss is a crucial time in which the patient needs to adjust to changes in diet and lifestyle. The stomach pouch and digestive system should be completely healed before it is safe to carry a baby full-term. If you have recently had surgery and are pregnant you will need to consult your bariatric team and GP to receive correct guidance.  

Hormones and nutrients

Weight loss surgery can improve hormone imbalances that cause infertility. During pregnancy, women need to consume more calories and nutrients than usual to support a healthy pregnancy full-term. The malabsorpative effect of some surgeries can make it difficult for pregnant women to get enough nutrients to the foetus. However, many women who have undergone a bariatric procedure are able to eat enough and absorb enough nutrients for a healthy pregnancy. In the case that a feotus is not getting enough nutrients a prenatal team will issue intravenous nourishment to avoid gestational malnutrition.

Bariatric surgery and breastfeeding

Surgery does not effect a women's ability to breastfeed. However, postoperative nutrient deficiencies will result in nutrient deficient breast milk. As a precaution, pregnant women should request a blood test from the GP to determine if it is necessary to take vitamin and mineral supplements during pregnancy.

Please seek and follow the specific guidelines from your bariatric team. Guidelines vary for individual patient needs and surgeries.