Bariatric Surgery and Conceiving a Child

Obesity is a rising problem in the western world. It is estimated that over one in four women of childbearing age is currently obese. Doctors believe that percentage will continue to rise over the next several years. Obesity makes it harder for women to conceive and also creates the potential for complications during pregnancy.

An increasing number of women who struggle with their weight are turning to bariatric surgery. There are several types of bariatric surgery. Each is designed to effectively decrease the size of the stomach, either by removing part of it or by implanting a band or similar medical device. While bariatric surgery poses its own set of risks for those who want to conceive a child, current medical research shows that conceiving a child after bariatric surgery is safer than conceiving a child while obese.

Some of the more common complications experienced by pregnant women who have had bariatric surgery include:

  • Band slippage
  • Band migration
  • Band leakage
  • Spontaneous miscarriage (for the 18 months immediately following bariatric surgery)

Obstetricians and gynecologists recommend waiting at least a year after having bariatric surgery before trying to conceive a child. Roughly one in four pregnancies within a year of bariatric surgery result in complications related to the bariatric surgery. When you do conceive a child, regardless of how long you wait, make sure that your health care providers are aware of your bariatric surgery.

Doctors recommend that women who have had bariatric surgery and want to conceive a child-after the year’s wait, of course-should consult their health care professionals regarding fertility options, nutrition, vitamin supplementation, and weight gain and loss during and following pregnancy.

Doctors stress that the potential effects on conception and pregnancy should not hinder women who struggle with morbid obesity from seeking help through bariatric surgery. The risks of morbid obesity, both to your ability to carry a baby to term and for your own long term health, generally outweigh the potential risks of bariatric surgery.

If you struggle with obesity and haven’t yet undergone bariatric surgery, talk to your doctor about your desire to conceive a child. She will be able to advise you regarding whether bariatric surgery is the best weight loss option for you.



Understanding Cervical Dysplasia

There are many conditions that can interfere with pregnancy, or with your ability to get pregnant. One of the conditions that many women are concerned about when it comes to getting pregnant and to pregnancy is cervical dysplasia. Understanding what exactly cervical dysplasia is and how it’s diagnosed will help you understand the implications in regard to pregnancy and getting pregnant.

Cervical dysplasia refers to a condition in which abnormal cells appear on the surface of the cervix.  Cervical dysplasia can be severe, moderate, or mild.  Cervical dysplasia is considered to be precancerous and, if it is left untreated, cervical dysplasia can often progress into cervical cancer.  It can take as long as ten years for cervical cancer to develop from cervical dysplasia.

Fortunately for most women who suffer from cervical dysplasia, it usually isn’t a concern when it comes to getting pregnant. If it’s treated properly and if it doesn’t become cancerous, it should not interfere with your ability to get pregnant at all.

There are other concerns with this condition, however. Having cervical dysplasia may put you at risk for a number of other conditions, such as some STDs or sexually transmitted infections. These kinds of conditions can, of course, interfere with your ability to become pregnant. Chlamydia, in particular, can affect your fertility. Because it is often symptomless, it’s a surprisingly common problem for fertility.

If you do become pregnant and have had cervical dysplasia, there are some things you need to be aware of, as well. In some cases, if you have had repeated biopsies due to cervical dysplasia, it will be possible for your cervix to be shortened by the cervical dysplasia.  Even this condition should not prevent you from getting pregnant; however, if you do become pregnant, you will want to discuss the situation with your health care provider.  It may be that you will need to have a cerclage during your pregnancy.  A cerclage refers to a procedure when a small stitch or suture is placed in your cervix to help it keep closed during pregnancy.

Ultimately, you need to talk with your doctor about your cervical dysplasia if you have concerns about becoming pregnant, or if you are already pregnant.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

There are many things that can go wrong with a woman’s reproductive tract; there are many parts and there are many helpful and harmful fauna in the woman’s system. In addition to this, a woman’s overall level of health, including gastro-intestinal and digestive health, heart and cardio-vascular health, and the levels of vitamins and minerals that the woman has absorbed through her diet influence a woman’s reproductive system. Also, because a woman’s system is a somewhat “closed system” and all sexual activity pushes into the woman’s reproductive tract, women are especially at risk for infections and diseases of the genitals.




Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is a disease of the upper genital tract, including the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. It can be caused by both aerobic (oxygen requiring) and anaerobic (non-oxygen-requiring) bacteria. Usually the bacteria involved are the ones that cause gonorrhea and Chlamydia. These are usually introduced into the woman’s reproductive system by unprotected sexual activity with a person infected with the disease. Infections of gonorrhea usually progress faster than Chlamydia, although a GP or OB/GYN can diagnose it more specifically.

Symptoms of pelvic inflammatory disease are fever, chills, abdominal and pelvic pain, and vaginal discharge or bleeding. There is a chance for complications with pelvic inflammatory disease (around one in four women with PID will experience complications), so if you have recently had unprotected sex and are experiencing these symptoms, it is best for you to see your doctor immediately. A potential complication of PID is tubo-ovarian abscess, a body of pus surrounding the upper genital tract that can rupture and potentially be fatal without proper treatment. Other complications include inflammation of the pelvis and the liver, chronic pelvic pain, and damage to the reproductive organs. Therefore, it is very important that PID is treated as quickly as it is diagnosed.

Treatment for PID usually includes broad-spectrum antibiotics taken orally for between 10 and 14 days, after which the disease is cured. If a woman is severely ill, she will be admitted into hospital and will likely be given antibiotics through IV.

Pelvic inflammatory disease may be misdiagnosed as a twisted or ruptured ovarian cyst, appendicitis, or complications of early pregnancy. If a doctor is unsure, she may take a blood sample, pregnancy test, or an ultrasound to determine what to diagnose. If the doctor is still unsure of the diagnosis, she may ask for a laparoscopic examination (in which a fiber-optic cable is inserted through a small hole in the navel in order to look inside a woman’s abdomen). The recovery from a laparoscopy is minimal, and the patient usually only receives two or three stitches.

It is important to prevent PID, so it is best to ensure to only have protected sex with people you trust (even better is sex in a monogamous relationship only)—never have sex without a condom or other barrier method.

The good news is that, with early enough diagnosis and treatment, PID is likely not to affect a woman’s long-term reproductive chances, and with broad-spectrum antibiotics, mortality is almost zero.