If you've made the choice to get weight loss surgery, congratulations. Before you start planning your post-surgery life, have you decided what you're going to do about your birth control pills? They may have worked for you before your weight loss surgery, but many doctors recommend a different form of birth control pill for patients who have undergone weight loss surgery. Follow these tips to figure out what's best for you.
1. Before the Surgery, Continue to Take Pills Normally
Continue to use your pills normally beforehand. Keep in mind that if you're above a certain weight, your fertility may be currently compromised. As such, you can continue to use birth control pills if they've worked for you so far. Use this time to research your alternatives, such as a barrier method or a non-hormonal IUD, for when you're done with surgery.
2. Consider New Methods of Contraception after Surgery
Consider either going off the pill completely after surgery or at least using a backup method. Weight loss surgery can wreak havoc on your hormonal contraceptives. It's possible that the pill will not be properly absorbed by your post-surgery body, leaving you at risk for an unplanned pregnancy. Furthermore, mental stress and illness can also render the birth control ineffective. Adjusting to life after surgery can definitely be a source of mental stress, and illness is common as you adjust to your changing body and what it needs. Pregnancy after weight loss surgery can be very dangerous to you or your baby. Doctors do not recommend that you get pregnant for 18 months after surgery. Your body is going through a lot of changes, and it may be unable to sustain both a pregnancy and your health. Additionally, you are already at risk for blood clots after finishing weight loss surgery, and birth control pills can elevate that risk to a seriously unsafe level. Doctors recommend stopping birth control pills entirely and choosing an alternative; in doing so, you will not have a false sense of security from your birth control pill. If you choose to continue your oral contraceptive, they strongly urge you to use a backup method to protect yourself from an unplanned pregnancy.
3. Look into Non-Hormonal Contraception Options
Look into getting a non-hormonal IUD or using barrier methods for pregnancy protection. A non-hormonal IUD is a t-shaped object that is put into your uterus by your doctor. Typically, they are good for up to five years, although you can have them removed earlier than that. Barrier methods include condoms, female condoms and spermicide. All of these options can keep you from getting pregnant without affecting your hormones, which is important when your body is already under the stress of recovering from surgery. Talk to your doctor to decide what is best.