Bariatric Surgery After Pregnancy: What Should I Know?

Giving birth to a child is one of life’s greatest joys. Even so, the first few months after pregnancy often consist of sleepless nights, physical exhaustion, and, sometimes, postpartum depression. After that, many women struggle to lose any weight they gained during pregnancy, especially if they were obese before giving birth. 

pregnant woman

Perhaps that’s the reason women of childbearing age represent 31-36 percent of patients undergoing bariatric surgery. For these and other women, weight surgery can help them achieve a healthy weight and improve health problems related to excessive weight, including type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, and asthma. 

You might be surprised to learn that pregnancy before bariatric surgery increases the likelihood of reduced weight loss after surgery. Although some individuals think it’s better to have bariatric surgery before becoming pregnant, babies born after weight loss surgery are more likely to be born premature, have congenital anomalies, and be admitted to a neonatal intensive care unit. Also, women who have undergone bariatric surgery appear to be at higher risk of developing complications during pregnancy. 

What’s the Post-Pregnancy Waiting Period for Bariatric Surgery? 

After you give birth, your weight often fluctuates, you might be breastfeeding and you have an increased danger for surgical complications. At VIDA Bariatrics, our bariatric surgeons recommend waiting to undergo bariatric surgery until at least 18 months after pregnancy or when you have reached a healthy and stable weight. Women experiencing postpartum physical complications might have a longer waiting period. 

Why the wait? There are multiple reasons. For one, it takes your body at least a few months to overcome the demands pregnancy places on it. The cardiovascular system typically returns to normal within 6 to 8 weeks after delivery, but it can take up to one year for hormones to normalize after pregnancy. 

It also can take up to one year for your abdomen to reverse the effects of pregnancy, one of which is stretching. Even at six months postpartum, there may be changes occurring in your abdominal wall and the skin and fat of your abdomen. 

If you choose to have bariatric surgery before becoming pregnant, you most likely won’t be able to breastfeed immediately after the procedure, especially with a possible lack of essential nutrition. However, if you wait the recommended 18 months post-pregnancy and are following a proper nutrition plan, you should be able to breastfeed with no problems. Mothers who are breastfeeding need to eat more frequently, but by following healthful and balanced post-bariatric diet principles, you’ll ingest the necessary nutrients to breastfeed a healthy baby.

Learn more about breastfeeding after gastric sleeve surgery and Dr. Gabriela Rodríguez Ruiz, our board-certified and bi-lingual bariatric surgeon who is licensed in both the United States and Mexico. 


Dr. Gabriela Rodriguez specializes in General and Laparoscopic Bariatric Surgery. She brings to VIDA Wellness and Beauty a wealth of experience in bariatrics. Dr. Rodriguez is a founding associate of the Mexican College of General Surgeons. A world-class bariatric surgeon with double certification in the US and Mexico.