In the modern world, obesity is a major issue. Especially in the United States, many people are overweight or obese and it leads to many life-threatening issues. Such conditions make bariatric surgery a popular choice. Bariatric surgery is a procedure that is meant to help people lose weight by altering the size of their stomach. Gastric bypass surgery is a common example of a bariatric procedure, but it also includes similar procedures such as gastric banding and sleeve gastrectomies. If you have had bariatric surgery to lose weight, you are not alone. The popularity of such a surgery has dramatically increased over the past ten years and is still on the rise. If you have had such a procedure and are thinking of becoming pregnant, you’re probably wondering what types of negative side effects it might have on your gestation. Surprisingly, it could have very little.

The results of a recent study showed that women who underwent bariatric surgery before their pregnancy did not have many related complications before, during or after birth. In fact, they had far fewer complications than women who were obese during their pregnancy. In other words, if you have had surgery to lose weight and the surgery was successful, you will have a healthier pregnancy than if you hadn’t had surgery and were still overweight. There are many risks of having a baby and being overweight, including preterm birth and babies too large to be delivered without surgery. The women in the study who did not receive gastric bypass surgery were faced with macrosomia, premature delivery, and the increased need for cesarean deliveries.

While bariatric surgery before pregnancy is indeed safer than being overweight during pregnancy, it is not as safe as losing weight naturally before conception. If you are overweight and are thinking of getting pregnant, exercise regularly and eat a balanced diet to lose excess weight and reach a normal BMI before conception. This particular study proved that bariatric surgery prior to pregnancy was safe, but as with many surgeries, unpredictable pregnancy complications could arise. Losing weight with diet and regular exercise will also help you keep the weight off during your pregnancy, which could prevent a plethora of other complications for your birth. If you have already had bariatric surgery and are pregnant, make sure your doctor knows about the operation, but rest assured that having a baby after such a surgery is safe.

Source: Melinda A. Maggard et al: Pregnancy and Fertility Following Bariatric Surgery. The Journal of the American Medical Association Volume 300 Issue 19 Novemeber 2008

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