Bariatric surgery and pregnancy: Are they compatible?

After a surgical intervention treats obesity, a delay more or less two years is advisable before thinking about getting pregnant. What are the risks if this recommendation is not respected? Does pregnancy post-bariatric surgery have specific complications? Focus on the possibility to reconcile pregnancy and gastric surgery.

When is an ideal time to get pregnant after an obesity operation?

No matter the type of obesity surgery practiced, there is no medical evidence of contra-indication of a subsequence pregnancy. It is generally advisable, after a bariatric intervention, to wait one or two years before becoming pregnant. This delay allows you simply to stabilize the weight loss and ensure a complete healing.

However, if a pregnancy happens before this lap of time, it presents no additional risk for the mother or child. The pregnancy could simply complicate the post-operative follow-up. It is then recommended to watch out for any pain felt in the abdomen to ensure that  this is not linked to the gastric bypass, a sleeve gastrectomy or an adjustable gastric band.

Obesity and its negative effects for pregnant women

If a gastric surgery doesn’t increase the risk of complications, obesity is however a real risk factor. Indeed, being overweight causes a potential problematic pregnancy for both the mother and child. The obesity specialists thus advise you to seriously consider a bariatric operation to treat the problem of obesity and to stabilise your weight before becoming pregnant.

Is there a risk involved in gaining weight during the pregnancy?

A lot of patients worry about regaining weight because of a pregnancy. Being pregnant in itself presents no risks of a relapse. The maximal weight gain advisable during the pregnancy, from 10 to 12kg, is not sufficient enough to jeopardise the results of obesity surgery. A healthy lifestyle doubled with a healthy and well-balanced diet are the keys to a successful weight loss.  

Advice on how to reconcile pregnancy and obesity treatment

Following some recommendations after gastric surgery allows you to serenely approach these nine months:

  • Ask your gynaecologist for advice at the beginning of your pregnancy
  • Continue the post-operative follow-ups with a bariatric surgeon
  • Watch your diet
  • Respect a globally healthy lifestyle
  • Don’t adjust your gastric ring before the pregnancy
  • Watch out for any pain in the stomach after the gastric bypass or the sleeve gastrectomy

Do you have any questions about the obesity surgeries in Brussels or Liège?

Contact the multi-disciplinary team of Doctor Jacques Himpens and Doctor Anne-Dandrifosse to know more about the different types of bariatric surgery and the treatment of obesity via the contact form available on-line contact.

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