Bariatric surgery is the only efficacious long term solution for weight loss in a morbidly obese group of individuals. This operation works not only by mechanically restricting the amount of food consumed at one time, but also leads to certain hormonal changes within the body which boost metabolism and promotes weight loss.
Obesity is often linked to a number of lifestyle disorders and is a leading cause of reduced fertility as well. In men, it is associated with lower testosterone levels which reduce the libido and also lowers the sperm count and quality. Obese women suffer from hormonal imbalance and PCOD leading to menstrual irregularities and a lower conception rate. Pregnancy in a patient with morbid obesity is usually a high risk state with increased chances of miscarriage as well as postpartum complications and birth defects.
Patients are often concerned about their future fertility and chances of conception after undergoing a bariatric procedure. Bariatric surgery, by promoting weight loss surgery, reverses many of these adverse effects which excess body fat has on fertility. PCOD in women is often cured with regularisation of the menstrual cycle and both men and women experience an enhanced libido after surgery. This leads to an increased rate of conception and patients are often advised to use a barrier contraceptive if they wish to avoid this.
Pregnancy is safe to continue after a minimum period of 12 months following bariatric surgery. At this point in time, the body weight has usually stabilized and the women can take sufficient oral nutrition to support the developing baby. It is seen that weight gain during such a pregnancy is usually lesser than for a normal person but the birth weight of the baby is not affected. The woman is able to deliver a healthy child without the undue risk associated with excess weight.
To summarise, bariatric surgery enhances fertility in morbidly obese patients and pregnancy is safe without any untoward effects on the mother and the baby.
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