If you are having a baby or planning on getting pregnant after weight loss surgery, there are some important things you need to know about the potential risks and how to avoid them.

Factors That Increase Risks

So what changes with bariatric surgery that increases risks of pregnancy?

  • Less Food Intake
  • Fewer Nutrients Absorbed
  • Resets Your Metabolism
  • Fast Weight Loss
  • Change in Eating Habits

Pregnancy Risks After Bariatric Surgery

As results of these major changes to your body create risks and side effects that could have a negative effect on pregnancy and the overall child development. Risks can include;

  • Fewer nutrients allocated to the fetus/baby
  • Your body has completely shifted and must completely adjust to different eating habits, mood changes, energy, etc.

Study researchers believe these statistics may are due to the risk of vitamin or mineral deficiencies that occurs after weight loss surgery. These can affect both the placenta and fetal growth during pregnancy.

The study also found that mothers with the same body mass index (BMI) gave birth to babies of different sizes, lengths, and weights regardless of having bariatric surgery or not. We believe there could be some association there that needs to be explored further.

The Facts

A new study published in the British Medical Journal found that women who underwent bariatric surgery are more likely to have given birth prematurely to an underweight child (low birth weight).*

You may be thinking, “Isn’t this expected since the entire goal of weight loss surgery is to lose weight?

The answer is yes. Obviously, if you are losing weight at a rapid pace, you could likely expect your child to do the same.

The Study

The study looked at 15,000 births in Sweden from 1992 to 2009. The results were;

  • 2,500 of the pregnant women had bariatric surgery. The remaining 12,500 women did not.
  • The standard delivery occurred about five years following their procedure.
  • 12,500 babies were born to mothers who never had bariatric surgery.

The most common risks of premature birth or low birth babies are usually related to factors like the mother’s age, smoking, and weight. All of these factors were controlled during this study to attempt to show a division between surgery and non-surgery patients.

Weight loss surgery, like gastric sleeve and gastric bypass, has major improvements to health as well as the ability to cure obesity long-term. These procedures also improve weight-related menstrual disroders as well as infertility. Polycistic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is also largely improved after bariatric surgery. With proper care and proper nutrient and vitamin supplementation, women can lose weight and become mothers with healthy babies.

RELATED: Health Benefits of Undergoing Bariatric Surgery

The Results

Premature births

  • Non-bariatric surgery: 6%
  • Bariatric surgery: 10%

Low birth rate

  • Non-bariatric surgery: 3%
  • Bariatric surgery: 5%

Excessively large babies

  • Non-bariatric surgery: Most of the overweight babies were born by non-bariatric mothers.
  • Bariatric surgery: Very rare (one advantage that the women who had bariatric surgery)

Most of the time, a large baby is linked to high blood sugar, insulin resistance, or obesity, all things that are improved or cured as an effect of weight loss surgery.

Another Study with Different Results

There is a similar study by the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) that revealed a lower risk of premature babies with bariatric surgery patients. The study only used 77 patients; however, it is encouraging for researchers who spend their time looking for connections between fertility and reproductive health and women who undergo bariatric surgery.

Ultimately, whether a woman has bariatric surgery or not, shouldn’t affect the risks associated with her pregnancy. The study’s researchers believe that the woman’s pre-surgery weight and health are the best indicators of a healthy pregnancy.

Miscarriage After Bariatric Surgery

In fact, the study showed that women who got pregnant within 18 months of weight loss surgery had a 31% chance of miscarriage. Doctors recommend waiting at least 18 months, if not two full years, before trying to conceive after weight loss surgery.

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