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Will I be able to get pregnant after surgery?

Many women elect to have a Gastric Sleeve, because their obesity is preventing them from getting pregnant. You may become more fertile as you lose weight. Often, your obesity causes abnormal estrogen levels that can return to normal as you lose weight.  

It’s important that you wait until it’s safe for you to be pregnant after your surgery. Your birth control pills may not work around the time of your surgery due to the medication you receive with surgery. Remember to use other methods of birth control (barrier contraceptive) and talk with your family physician about this.

You should avoid pregnancy for the first 12 months after surgery due to your rapid weight loss. A pregnancy that occurs soon after weight loss surgery can have severe consequences for both the mother and the baby. Once you are over a year, your risks during pregnancy fall to significantly less than when you were morbidly obese. Your risk of gestational diabetes and preeclampsia are much lower than when you were morbidly obese. If you require a C-section during the delivery, the surgical risk is significantly less once you lose your excess weight.

An advantage of the Gastric Sleeve is that you continue to absorb nutrients normally, so your risk of vitamin deficiency is much less than with a gastric bypass. When all factors are considered, once you have your Sleeve and you have time to get your weight under control, your fertility increases and pregnancy becomes much safer for both mother and baby.

However, please do take the following precautions:

  • Correct vitamin deficiencies before conception
  • Add prenatal supplements (calcium citrate, iron, vitamin D)
  • Pay attention to overall nutrition during first trimester
  • Talk to high-risk OB/GYN for monitoring during pregnancy
  • Check homocystein levels (Neural tube defects can occur from folic acid deficiency)
  • Limit daily intake of Vitamin A to no more than 10,000 IU/day (Fetal malformations have been linked to daily exposure of 20,000 IU of Vitamin A from supplements)

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