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How long should I wait to get pregnant after having bariatric surgery?

Yijun Chen, MD
Surgery
After bariatric surgery you should wait 12 to 24 months before trying to become pregnant. This is the consensus among weight loss surgeons.

Bariatric surgeons worry about nutrient deficiency with the rapid weight loss, so they recommend using contraception for at least a year until they have confirmed that there is no vitamin deficiency. Because of this, for obese women who are in their mid-to-late 30s or older and experiencing difficulty with conception, it may be better not to delay seeking in vitro fertilization. But if you are in your 20s or early 30s, it makes sense to have the surgery first, lose weight, then see if you can become pregnant naturally.
 
This content originally appeared online at UCLA Health.
Women of child-bearing age should avoid pregnancy after bariatric surgery until their weight becomes stable. Rapid weight loss and nutritional deficiencies can harm a developing fetus. It is recommended that you wait at least 18 months before becoming pregnant. If any nutrient deficiencies are found, treatment for those should be started.
 
Tests should be done to check the following vitamins each trimester of pregnancy
  • complete blood count
  • iron
  • ferritin
  • calcium
  • vitamin D
Melissa Brown, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)
Bariatric or weight-loss surgery (laparoscopic banding procedure, or the lap band, or gastric bypass surgery) has been found to be a very effective tool at treating morbid obesity, but it is very important that a pregnancy is planned appropriately around that. Most experts would recommend that a patient wait until approximately a year after that surgery to attempt to conceive. The goal is that hopefully they have achieved their weight loss, and that they have been able to maintain that weight loss as well as achieve a normal nutritional status so that it's safe to achieve a pregnancy.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.