What If You Can't Wait to Get Pregnant?

Pregnancy within the year after gastric bypass surgery did not lead to increased risks

(RxWiki News) Women who are obese may choose to undergo weight loss surgery. If they do and they plan to have children, how long should they wait to get pregnant?

Currently, it is recommended women wait at least one year after gastric bypass surgery before becoming pregnant.

However, a recent study found that women who did get pregnant within a year of the surgery did not have any increased risks in pregnancy compared to those who waited a year.

Their newborns also were not at any greater risk for any health conditions or complications.

"Attend all prenatal visits."

This study, led by Mette Mandrup Kjaer, MD, of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Hvidovre University in Denmark, looked at the risks for mothers and their newborns if the women became pregnant within a year of receiving gastric bypass surgery.

Gastric bypass surgery is a weight loss procedure in which surgical changes to the digestive system reduce the amount of food a person can eat or the nutrients the body absorbs.

The researchers looked at all the single baby deliveries in Denmark, from 2004 through 2010, in which the mothers had previously had gastric bypass surgery. This resulted in 286 women whose pregnancies were reviewed.

They compared the 158 women who had become pregnant within the first year after the surgery to the 128 women who became pregnant at least a year after the surgery.

The researchers did not find any increased risk for a number of different pregnancy complications among the women who became pregnant within a year of gastric bypass surgery.

Neither group of women was more likely to experience pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes or postpartum hemorrhage (heavy bleeding after giving birth).

Gestational diabetes occurs when a woman without diabetes develops the condition during pregnancy.

Pre-eclampsia is a condition in which a woman has high blood pressure and protein in her urine.

The women in both groups were also about equally unlikely to have needed their labor induced or to have needed a cesarean section (surgical removal of the baby).

The babies of women from both groups were also similar in terms of birth weights, the pregnancy weeks when the babies were born and whether the babies ended up needing neonatal intensive care (NICU).

There was no increased risk in either group for the babies to be overweight, underweight, prematurely born or having a poor health score at birth.

"This study showed no evidence to support a recommendation to delay pregnancy until after the first postoperative year," the researchers wrote. "At present, the optimal time for pregnancy after gastric bypass is unknown."

This research was published in the August issue of the journal Obesity Surgery.

The study did not list external funding. The authors declared no conflicts of interest.

Review Date: 
July 10, 2013