Safer to delay pregnancy after obesity surgery

  • Posted

Posted 11/01/2013

Women who have had weight loss surgery should wait at least a year before trying for a baby, experts have warned.  Although having a baby after surgery is safer and associated with fewer complications than becoming pregnant when morbidly obese, patients should still be treated as high risk and are strongly advised not to get pregnant for 12 to 18 months after obesity surgery.

Obesity among women of childbearing age is expected to rise to 28% by 2015 and National Guidelines recommend weight loss surgery, most commonly through a gastric band or bypass, as an option for anyone with a Body Mass Index of more than 40kg/sq m.  

The review published in the Obstetrician and Gynaecologists journal says it will become more and more common for doctors to be asked for advice about the safety of becoming pregnant after surgery. At the moment there is a lack of guidance on how to manage such patients.

Some research has found that women who get pregnant after bariatric surgery would have no complications, with one study suggesting that 79% would have a straightforward pregnancy. But there can be complications with the potential for the gastric band to slip or move during pregnancy leading to severe vomiting. One study found that leakage was reported in 24% of pregnancies.

Julie Crossley, a clinical negligence lawyer at Ashtons Legal, says: “Clearly it is healthier for people not to be overweight regardless of whether they are pregnant or not. However, women who have had weight loss surgery and then plan to become pregnant should heed this advice and if possible wait for 12 to 18 months before trying to conceive”.Find out more about our Medical Injury services.


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