After bariatric surgery, whether gastric bypass or gastric sleeve, many patients look forward to being able to have a healthy, full-term pregnancy. When asked by a patient if it is safe to get pregnant after bariatric surgery, my immediate response is a resounding, “YES!” and then quickly followed by the recommendation to wait at least one year before trying to conceive. The waiting period is important because bariatric surgery patients lose weight quickly during the first year, and it may be difficult to support the nutrition of both mom and baby during this period of rapid weight loss.  Generally, weight loss slows down one year after bariatric surgery, and significant vitamin and nutritional deficiencies are less common after that time.  

It is very important during the one-year waiting period to use a form of contraception to prevent pregnancy. After one-year, patients who do become pregnant will be placed on a daily regimen of prenatal vitamins along with daily vitamin supplements. At New Jersey Bariatric Center, post-operative patients have had successful pregnancies after weight loss surgery.

Obesity is a risk factor for pregnancy-related complications for both mother and baby.  Weight loss before pregnancy can significantly reduce the risks of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, pre-term labor, postpartum bleeding, infant mortality and other pregnancy-related complications.  It has been published that a woman can reduce these risks by losing as little as 5% of her weight. Losing more than that with bariatric surgery – gastric sleeve or gastric bypass – could make pregnancy even safer. 

Reference: Women’s Health Care Physicians. (2016, April). Retrieved February 2020, from https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Obesity-and-Pregnancy?IsMobileSet=false