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“How Can Bariatric Surgery Affect a Pregnancy?”

Are you facing an unexpected pregnancy after undergoing bariatric surgery?  If so, you may be wondering how this part of your medical history could affect your pregnancy and other components of your health.  A past bariatric surgery can come with unique implications for someone in your shoes. Carefully considering these implications will help you protect your own safety and wellness as your pregnancy journey continues, for however long it continues.

If you’re looking for answers to questions like, “How can bariatric surgery affect a pregnancy?” you’re already on the right track to make informed decisions for your health during this pregnancy and beyond.  Avenue Women’s Center is here to walk by your side as you continue this path.  We’re an early pregnancy clinic that provides no-cost limited medical services.  Our goal is to help you access the support you need to make a knowledgeable pregnancy decision, while prioritizing your wellness. 

Learn about our free and confidential first-step pregnancy services!

Bariatric Surgery and Fertility:  A Baseline Understanding

The goal of bariatric surgery is to trigger weight loss by making changes to the digestive system.  A bariatric procedure may alter the stomach so it’s able to hold a lesser amount of food.  Bariatric surgery may also diminish the body’s capacity to take in fat and calories (Mayo Clinic).  After a woman of reproductive age has a bariatric procedure, her resulting weight loss may lead to an increase in fertility.  Bariatric surgery can also be associated with oral contraceptive ineffectiveness (American Family Physician).  So, a woman may become more susceptible to an unexpected pregnancy after a procedure than she was previously.

Developing an Informed Perspective

According to American Family Physician, it’s recommended that a woman wait 12-24 months after a bariatric procedure to conceive, so that the pregnancy is not impacted by the weight loss (and vice-versa).  This suggestion may sound irrelevant, however, if you’re experiencing an unexpected pregnancy here and now.  Know that it’s possible to safeguard your health and move toward a positive outcome no matter what.  This health-conscious approach will involve learning about the potential risks and other factors at play.  Here are a few examples of possible complications (noted by American Family Physician), which may be wise to know about if you’re pregnant after a bariatric surgery:

  • Certain nutrient deficiencies may result from bariatric surgery. It would be wise to test for this early on in the pregnancy.  That way, if deficits are present, you can promptly receive treatment.
  • Bariatric surgery can cause certain gastrointestinal symptoms (like nausea and vomiting) that also commonly appear during pregnancy. It’s important to speak with a bariatric surgeon to identify whether or not your symptoms have been triggered by the surgery.
  • According to American Family Physician, “There may be a trend toward lower birth weights in infants of women who have undergone bariatric surgery.”

Getting Timely and Professional Care for Your Unique Needs

When it’s all said and done, your personal safety matters most.  Your pregnancy, your medical profile, and your surgery recovery process are all bound to be completely unique.  For these reasons, it’s critical to consult a qualified medical professional to determine how you can best care for yourself during this season of your life.  Seeking medical support during pregnancy is important regardless of surgical history.  But you will likely need to take particular care if you’ve recently had a bariatric procedure.  For a pregnancy that occurs less than 12-24 months after bariatric surgery, American Family Physician recommends “closer surveillance of maternal weight and nutritional status,” and indicates that, “serial ultrasound monitoring of fetal growth should be considered.”  Seriously consider consulting your bariatric surgeon about your pregnancy, in addition to meeting with your gynecological care physician.

Our caring pregnancy consultants and nurses at Avenue Women’s Center are available to help you move toward a positive outcome with your wellness top of mind.  Our services include medical-grade pregnancy tests and limited medical ultrasounds.  We can also provide referrals for additional medical care and a variety of other resources.  Know that you have options for this pregnancy, and you’re fully capable of building the right support network to identify and embrace the one that’s best for you.  We’d love to be a part of this journey by offering free early pregnancy help and accurate information on all the avenues available to you.

Learn more about us and reach out to ask us your questions! 



American Family Physician.  (2010, April).  ACOG Guidelines on Pregnancy After Bariatric Surgery.  Retrieved from:

Mayo Clinic.  (2023, October).  Bariatric Surgery.  Retrieved from:

Reviewed by Patricia Kuenzi, APN-CNP, MSN, ANP, PNP.

The information provided here is general in nature.  It is not a substitute for a consultation with a medical professional. Before any medical procedure, it is imperative that you discuss your personal medical history, risks, and concerns with your doctor. If you have questions during or after a procedure, your doctor should be immediately contacted. Avenue Women’s Center is not an emergency center.  If you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as bleeding and/or pain, seek immediate medical attention.  Contact your physician, go to an emergency room, or call 911.