Dr. Blackstone shares how gastric bypass surgery or an adjustable gastric band procedure can affect fertility.
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You know, a lot of young women who are big people, they don’t have menstrual cycles, and they are infertile. And it turns out that that’s related to a hormone that the fat cell produces called leptin. Other women have a condition called polycystic ovarian syndrome and that also can contribute to their infertility. Now, these women, when they lose weight with the band or with the bypass, they become very fertile. They get into a normal ovulatory cycle and what is really important is, “When should I plan my pregnancy if I have really wanted to get pregnant all these years?” We like for women to get down to their goal weight and live there long enough to really know what that’s like so that after they have their first baby they can come right back to that same place, and that’s the key. The baby, whether you have a bypass or a band, will be able to get very good nutrition. It’s important that your doctor know that you’ve had one of these procedures so that as you go through your pregnancy they can really follow you along and make sure that you are getting the nutrition both you and the baby need. Some patients might need an adjustment in their band so that they take some of the fluid out making the opening a little larger, allows them to eat a little bit more during their pregnancy. But in the medical literature, babies born to women who have had bariatric procedures, whether they were the adjustable gastric band or the bypass, have had normal babies at a very nice birth weight; average birth weight was about 7 pounds. In addition, none of those women reported diabetes of pregnancy or hypertension of pregnancy. So the risk of having the child is less as well. So it’s big, big win.

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