From Our Sponsor: Will weight loss surgery make pregnancy safer?

By Richard Ing, MD, FACS, FASMBS

With more and more women of childbearing years undergoing weight loss surgery, there are some recommendations coming out about pregnancy health. The general recommendation is to delay conception for at least one year or until after the post-op bariatric patient has completed the acute weight loss phase. The weight loss should reduce the many risk factors obesity can contribute to a high risk pregnancy.

The Bariatric Center at Bryn Mawr Hospital offers three types of bariatric surgery. Most bariatric procedures are performed as laparoscopic—or minimally invasive—procedures, through tiny incisions. With laparoscopic surgery, patients benefit from less pain, fewer complications and a shorter hospital stay. The selection of each procedure is individualized to meet the patient’s needs and is made jointly by the surgeon and the patient.

Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Band

The laparoscopic adjustable gastric band is a silicone band that is securely placed around the upper portion of the stomach to divide the stomach into two portions—a smaller pouch on top and a larger section below the band. By reducing the storage area in the stomach, patients feel full sooner and thus consume smaller amounts of food, resulting in weight loss. The band can be accessed and adjusted through a small port implanted under the skin of the abdominal wall, enabling the surgeon to adjust the flow of food that passes between the two sections of the stomach or to reverse the procedure if necessary.

Lap Gastric Bypass

Lap gastric bypass (also known as lap Roux-en-Y gastric bypass) is a procedure that helps patients lose weight two ways. First, a smaller stomach pouch is created, which causes the patient to feel full after eating just a small amount of food. Second, the food bypasses the remaining section of the stomach and a portion of the intestines, which limits food absorption and reduces the number of calories the body takes in. This procedure also lessens the body’s ability to tolerate foods that are high in sugar and fats. Because eating these foods will cause discomfort, patients quickly learn to avoid these types of foods, which further aids in weight loss. Good nutrition and vitamin supplements are an important part of the postsurgical plan for this option.

Lap Sleeve Gastrectomy

Lap sleeve gastrectomy (also known as lap vertical gastrectomy) is a new bariatric option. During this procedure, the stomach is restricted by stapling it and dividing it vertically. The larger portion (85 percent) is then removed, leaving behind a slim section of stomach. There is no bypass performed with this option; weight loss occurs through reduced intake of food.

To find out if bariatric surgery is right for you, start by attending a FREE information session with the Bryn Mawr Hospital Bariatric Center staff. To register, call 1.866.CALL.MLH or visit