Pregnancy and the birth of a new baby is an exciting time in any mom's life. However, if you're a mom struggling with excess weight or obesity, this time can be fraught with additional complications and worries. While it's fairly common for women to undergo weight loss surgery before becoming pregnant, many women don't understand the risks posed by additional weight until complications arise during pregnancy. Whether you're currently pregnant or you've recently welcomed your little one into the world, you're doing the right thing by addressing the health concerns related to your weight right away. However, weight loss surgery immediately after pregnancy may not be an option.
Bariatric surgery is a viable option for weight loss both before and after pregnancy, but getting the timing right is key in maintaining good health and optimal weight loss. While the time frame for becoming pregnant after surgery is fairly clear cut, the waiting period between giving birth and surgery can be more difficult to obtain. So, how soon after pregnancy can you have weight loss surgery? The short answer is somewhere between 8 weeks and 18 months or more. Your personal answer depends on your unique situation and health conditions.
3 Reasons You Have to Wait for Weight Loss Surgery After Pregnancy
While some women lose pregnancy weight naturally in the months following a healthy birth, many struggle with the additional weight for years or never get back to their pre-pregnancy weight. This struggle is even more common for women who have been overweight for a long period of time. Of course, you want to lose your pregnancy weight as soon as possible to be in the best health for your newborn, but having the surgery immediately could be dangerous. Here are three reasons you need a waiting period between pregnancy.
- Increased Danger of Surgical Complications
Immediately after giving birth, your body is experiencing changes related to your pregnancy. During pregnancy, your cardiovascular system makes changes to bring necessary oxygen and nutrients to your baby. These changes put increased pressure on your arteries during and immediately after pregnancy. Since your blood flow increases during pregnancy, your blood vessels widen to accommodate the additional pressure. This is a natural process that usually involves no complications. However, weight loss surgery before your blood vessels return to normal could result in complications including increased bleeding or a dangerous drop in blood pressure. The cardiovascular system generally returns to normal within 6 to 8 weeks after delivery.
- You're Breastfeeding
While it's perfectly safe to breastfeed your baby if you previously had weight loss surgery, the surgical period itself could make breastfeeding difficult or impossible. Depending on the surgery you choose, you will spend time in the hospital undergoing surgery with anesthesia. After your surgery, you will likely be required to take prescription medications that could be transmitted to your baby through your breast milk. Additionally, maintaining your hydration and nutrition levels can be difficult following weight loss surgery. This lack of nutrition could be harmful to both you and your baby while you're breastfeeding.
Breast milk is considered the best form of nutrition for your baby during the first year of growth. If you're successfully breastfeeding your baby, it's not recommended that you stop to undergo weight loss surgery.
- Your Weight Is Fluctuating
Pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum changes are a lot for your body to go through. During the months after pregnancy, your weight may fluctuate dramatically. It can take up to a year for your abdomen to go back to normal after pregnancy just from the natural effects of stretching. Other things that can cause rapidly changing weight include exhaustion, hormones, breastfeeding, and energy levels. You may experience major swings in your weight for 6 to 18 months after giving birth. Keeping a record of your weight and visiting your doctor regularly can help you decide when you're ready for surgery.
Additional Factors That Will Contribute to Your Personal Choice
The waiting period for weight loss surgery after pregnancy is generally defined by a situation with minimal complications. However, your personal experiences will be the main indicator of how long you should wait to have your surgery. These considerations will likely factor into how long you should wait to have weight loss surgery after your pregnancy.
Your Postpartum Health
Having a baby is a joyous time. However, pregnancy, childbirth, and caring for a newborn takes a mental and physical toll on your body. Choosing to have any non-emergency surgery will depend heavily on your current health. If you had a healthy pregnancy and a delivery with no complications, you may be physically ready to undergo weight loss surgery in six months. However, if you have postpartum physical complications, you might have a longer waiting period. Many women also suffer from postpartum depression after having a new baby. Determining the dangers of surgery while suffering from postpartum depression requires careful research from your mental health provider, OB/GYN, and bariatric surgeon.
Special Considerations for Your Baby
Weight loss surgery isn't a simple path to getting skinny. It's major surgery that means you'll require special care. If you are the sole caregiver for your baby, you must take into consideration who will be available to help you with childcare as you recover from surgery.
Your Growing Family
Taking the steps to get your weight under control is the right thing to do to keep your family healthy and making plans for future pregnancies is the responsible way to expand your family. An accidental pregnancy is often a blessing. However, any weight loss surgery makes planning a vital step in maintaining your health and the health of your baby.
When planning your weight loss surgery, take into consideration the rate at which you hope to grow your family. Losing weight can increase your chances of conception, help you avoid pregnancy complications, and increase the likelihood of carrying your baby full term. However, it is recommended that you wait for 12-18 months before trying to conceive after weight loss surgery.
Weight loss surgery might be the answer to losing weight after having a baby. However, the waiting time between pregnancy and surgery is crucial. For more information about bariatric surgery and pregnancy, get in touch with My New Beginning today. We're happy to answer your questions, help you understand your options, or schedule a consultation. Weight loss is an important step to keeping you and your family healthy now and in the future. Gathering the right information is the safest way to begin your journey.