Have you considered undergoing gastric sleeve surgery but don’t know if it's a good moment and since you also plan or want to get pregnant?
In this article we will clear all your doubts, there is a lot of misinformation regarding this issue and we consider that this topic is important to the vast majority of women in reproductive age and have an obesity problem that affects their life and fertility.
If you are looking to get pregnant or plan to start looking for it, is important to know that being overweight and obesity are associated with a variety of disorders which may decrease considerably your chances of getting pregnant. And if successful, the risk to you and your baby are greater simply because of obesity this is why it is very important to consider the benefits of gastric sleeve surgery bariatric surgery in general in relation to pregnancy.
The first thing we want to mention is what either before pregnancy or after this, the gastric sleeve surgery is an excellent option for the reasons listed below:
Some of the reasons why it is advisable to have gastric sleeve surgery before pregnancy are:
Improvement of your fertility after gastric sleeve
As it is well known, one of the diseases caused by obesity the fact there are major hormonal changes in a high percentage of women in reproductive age, causing difficulties which range from mild to serious in terms of their fertility according to the journal Human Reproduction in multiple studies it has been estimated that a woman with a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 35 is 26% less likely to become pregnant compared with women with a BMI of 29 or less, this condition progresses at par with the degree of obesity as a woman with a BMI of 40 or more is 43% less likely to become pregnant.
In turn, obesity is closely related to specific gynecological conditions such as menstrual irregularities, anovulatory cycles (no ovules are released despite having "normal" periods), increased insulin resistance and well known among obesity patients Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) which goes hand in hand of anovulation and hyperandrogenism (elevated levels of male hormones in women).
All these alterations reduce the chances of pregnancy or that the pregnancy has a premature delivery or under abnormal conditions. In addition, those patients that undergo assisted reproduction procedures also show less success rates due to obesity, which does not needs not be excessive since just having an index of 30 or more make these alterations to become present.
Men, unlike popular belief, is also affected by this situation, it is proven that obese men have lower fertility because of a direct relationship between increased body mass index and oligozoospermia (low sperm count) because of hormonal changes and reversal of the ratio of the levels of androgens / estrogens in men, according to a study at the University of Utah, USA. Published in the journal Fertility and Sterility.
Pregnancy after gastric sleeve surgery is much safer for the mother
Obesity on its own is already a factor which plays a key role in the risk of suffering diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes, when a woman is overweight or obese and becomes pregnant, the chances of developing gestational diabetes increase considerably according to several studies around the world.
In other words, high body mass index in women is associated with the development of gestational diabetes in the same way in which an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes in the general population is associated tp obesity. According to the American Diabetes Association risk of gestational diabetes is now near to 10%.
To a lesser extent it has also been linked to obesity and pregnancy with an increased risk of hypertension and pregnancy-induced hypertension (preeclampsia) besides an increased risk of infections, blood clots and abortion.
This is why thinking that at the moment of your pregnancy you don’t suffer from obesity is a very good start and if you haven’t been able to lose weight with traditional non surgical methods, bariatric surgery is an excellent choice for this goal.
Your baby will be safer during pregnancy after having gastric sleeve surgery
The unborn baby of a mother who is obese also suffers its consequences, has a greater risk of going through circumstances which would otherwise would not occur or the chnces on suffering the would be much lower.
Specifically, the developing baby suffers from altered levels of insulin produced by his pancreas (as does the mother with gestational diabetes) so at birth the baby is likely to be macrosomic ( will be "chubby "and large, which will make natural or even cesarean birth difficult, thus increasing the risk of birth obstetric trauma.
For the same reason that the baby is bigger there is also an increased risk of preterm labor and respiratory difficulties with or without such premature birth.
Some authors also consider that the possibilities of the baby having birth defects (defects of the brain and spinal cord) are increased.
You’ll offer your baby a future with lower risk of suffering form obesity
This last point in favor of seeking a pregnancy being within a healthy weight at conception wa put separately because despite the relatively unfavorable panorama in which we presented earlier points, it is a fact that despite the above, many children are born under conditions of maternal obesity and no severe or long-term complication happen in a good number of cases. However, something which is a scientifically proven and studied fact may seem a bit taken from fiction is the following data.
In the study conducted by several scientists including Dr. Picard Marceau of Laval University in Quebec, Canada, showed how the chance of not being obese, of ahving increased insulin sensitivity (lower risk of type 2 diabetes) and lower risk cardiometabolic are possible in children born to mothers that had bariatric surgery compared with children of the same mother born before surgery.
In other words, a child born to an obese mother is genetically "sentenced" to a greater risk of obesity not only in childhood, even when in adulthood his/her eating habits are not the same or similar to those at home, their genetic tendency to obesity and heart risks would be higher than those siblings born after the mother has undergone a bariatric procedure.
Despite referring to gastric bypass in the case study, the concept for the sleeve is the same for all practical purposes, the fact is that the mother does not suffered from obesity at the time of pregnancy. Considering the above, it is well worth giving that huge advantage to our children looking to be healthier at the time of pregnancy in order to offer them since birth a better quality of life.
In conclusion, by a simple analysis of the great advantages of gastric sleeve surgery in relation to pregnancy is very easy to determine if you suffer from overweight or obese and plan or want to become pregnant in the near future you should seek for a good nutrition plan and regular exercise with the goal of having a healthy weight.
If even after you do your best effort, you still can’t get rid of obesity, it is very advisable to consider bariatric surgery as an effective solution to fertility issues and problems associated with pregnancy in obese women.
With this, we answer the common concern of many women who come to my office: Is it safe to have gastric sleeve surgery if I want to get pregnant? The answer is a resounding YES.
You can also read our post about If you get gastric sleeve and want to know what will happen if you get pregnant.
Your turn, tell us which are your main concerns if you want to get pregnant and want to have the gastric sleeve?
Written by: Gabriel Rosales
Dr. Gabriel Rosales is a highly skilled, board certified surgeon in constant pursuit of learning the latest innovations in the weight loss surgery field to give his patients the best care possible.