Fertility and Pregnancy Following Weight Loss Surgery


FERTILITY – We know that about a quarter of Australia’s population is overweight or obese. From this, about one third are women in reproductive age. Overweight and obese women are at higher risk of associated metabolic diseases and increased risk of miscarriage. These women have high risk pregnancies and deliveries with additional post-partum complications.


Pregnancy following weight loss surgery also continues to be a complex medical challenge. The rules are clear – do not conceive within the first 12 months following surgery. At this time consult with the dietitian first who may then make further recommendations. The low calorie intake post-surgery may be dangerous for both mum and bub. Focus not only on falling pregnant but carrying to full time and having a healthy pregnancy.

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There are always those fall pregnant sooner than we would recommend; we ask that you follow advice for good reason. Following surgery, as a result of the planned weight loss, we often see fertility performance improve for example with a weight loss of just 5%, women who have PCOS often see their ovulation return spontaneously. For them, this may not have happened for years previously.

Oral contraceptives may not achieve adequate levels of their active substances, because of altered absorption. Therefore, alternative contraception should be considered. Is this why we are seeing so many women within their first year after surgery getting pregnant? Has it happened to you? So what do we do with those that do get pregnant early on in their weight loss journey?

I guess their biggest fear is around weight gain. They’ve just paid all this money and now they are trying to grow a baby and fear putting weight on, will they be able to lose the baby weight afterwards? The next biggest concern is “Will my baby be ok?” “Can I give my baby all the nutrients it needs”? Sound familiar?


Brianna Fear-Keen
Accredited Practicing Dietitian