How long do I have to wait for gastric sleeve while breastfeeding?

Question Below Submitted By:  

Cassandra (a patient from Orlando, Florida)

Hello there,

I am 28 and have been overweight most of my life. Diet and exercise have not helped. I’ve tried them all. It’s been a tough part of my life.

But, I have a wonderful husband and was blessed with a bouncing baby boy 5 months ago. We are SO into him me and my husband and me are already talking about having another kiddo.

Problem is, though, we already had difficulty getting preggers the first time around and I’ve unfortunately put on more weight since then. I asked my doc about it and she said it could b tough for me to get pregnant again until I take some weight off.

So, I’ve been doing research and I want to get the gastric sleeve ASAP. I’m guessing that getting the sleeve while breastfeeding is wholly unacceptable. How long after this pregnancy do I have to wait until I can undergo the sleeve? Then, how long after the surgery till I’ll be okay to have another little one???

Thanks so much! God Bless!


Bariatric Surgery Source

Expert Responses to the Question Above

Surgeon Response to "How long do I have to wait for gastric sleeve while breastfeeding?

by: John Rabkin, M.D., Pacific Laparoscopy


Congratulations to you and your husband on your new addition!

Although there isn't an absolute prohibition on breastfeeding after undergoing the Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (VSG), you wouldn't be able to breastfeed immediately after the procedure while still receiving post-operative medications. While you are rapidly losing weight after the VSG, you will be at risk of dehydration as well as protein, calorie, and other nutrient malnutrition, conditions that could be detrimental for a developing fetus.

Furthermore, you may have a difficult time maintaining your hydration (drinking enough fluids) and your nutrition (eating enough protein and consuming enough vitamin and mineral nutrients) for some time after undergoing the procedure: trying to do this for two, you as well as your breastfeeding baby, may be very difficult. Consequently, I routinely recommend that prospective Weight Loss Surgery (WLS) patients defer their procedure until they are no longer breastfeeding.

After undergoing WLS, I recommend that patients defer pregnancy until their weight loss stabilizes. This allows for your full recovery from the procedure as well as optimizing your ability to maintain your nutrition and hydration while pregnant, minimizing any adverse impact on the developing fetus should you have any gestational difficulties referable to the WLS procedure. Depending on which WLS procedure you choose, as well as your own individual experience, this may be as short as six months, but more commonly extends to twelve to eighteen months following the WLS procedure.

Finally, there have been many medical studies that have documented not only the difficulty in conceiving and carrying to term a child when morbidly obese but, more importantly, the potential for lifelong adverse health consequences experienced by children of morbidly obese mothers. The health of your child would potentially be improved if, as you outline, you defer your next pregnancy until after undergoing and recovering from WLS.

John M. Rabkin, M.D.
Pacific Laparoscopy

(click here for Dr. Rabkin's full bio & contact info)

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the details provided. The above should never replace the advice of your local physicians as they have the ability to evaluate you in person.

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