Skye is one of our success stories! This photo was taken 2 years post-sleeve surgery and shows not only her incredible weight loss but the addition of this gorgeous little man to her family. Weight loss definitely improved Skye’s fertility and can definitely help you too if you are hoping to start a family and are obese or significantly overweight.
Infertility secondary to obesity is a common reason why women of child-rearing age may choose to have bariatric surgery. The weight loss experienced post-surgery can improve fertility. Having a BMI (body mass index) of greater than 40 carries with it many increased risks for the health of both the mother and also the unborn child. These risks include; pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure in pregnancy), gestational diabetes, blood clots & giving birth to large babies. Women over this BMI are considered ‘high risk’ pregnancies.
Overwhelmingly, the research data on pregnancy outcomes post-bariatric surgery show that pregnancy is not only safe but in fact, improves outcomes for both mother & baby. Having a BMI of less than 40 also allows the mother to have more options around where she would like to deliver her baby as well as more choice around her birth plan. Breastfeeding is also possible and desirable post-bariatric surgery pregnancies.
So, as well as being better for your overall health, having bariatric surgery can also and give you a better chance of falling pregnant.
There are three common types of bariatric surgery in Australia:
- Gastric Sleeve
- Gastric Bypass
- Gastric Lap Band
Medically referred to as the Sleeve Gastrectomy, this surgery has become more popular than gastric lap band in recent years, and is more commonly performed on those who suffer from morbid obesity. The procedure involves reducing the size of your stomach by 75%, thus restricting the amount of food you can eat to help you achieve good long-term weight loss and unlike the lap band, you don’t have to avoid certain foods.
The Roux-en-Y gastric bypass is the most commonly performed bariatric surgery in the world with around 100,000 procedures being performed each year. An effective surgery where a small stomach pouch is created by stapling which restricts the amount of food able to be consumed. The pouch is joined directly to the small intestine bypassing the unused lower part of the stomach which delays the food from mixing with digestive juices to avoid complete absorption.
This procedure was the first bariatric surgery available and has successfully helped many people lose weight. Gastric Lap Band surgery involves taking an adjustable band and placing it around the upper part of the stomach, creating a small pouch and conversely the lower stomach into a larger pouch. A balloon in the band can then be increased or decreased according to the restriction required. The restriction allows food to enter the upper pouch but delays the release into the lower pouch, giving the feeling of being fuller for longer. The stomach then releases the food into the lower stomach which then allows the natural feeling of hunger to return. This prevents the patient from feeling hungry between meal times and allows normal digestion and absorption to take their natural course.
If you have had bariatric surgery it is advisable to wait 12 to 18 months to lose weight before trying for a baby. This allows your body to heal and recover from the surgery as well as lose additional weight, giving you a better chance of conceiving. You may even have a goal weight in mind that you have discussed with your doctor before trying to become pregnant.
Pregnancy after bariatric surgery does require some adjustment to your diet to ensure the provision of the correct nutrients for your growing baby. It’s a good idea to take supplementary vitamins and minerals and follow a nutritional plan which will be provided by your weight loss team.
Contact our helpful team if you would like to discuss bariatric surgery. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have!