That’s one heck of an idea, isn’t it? But, shockingly, it seems to be true that bariatric surgery like gastric sleeve can not only benefit you and your family today, but it might also affect your future children in a positive way. So let’s look at weight loss and its impact on potential parents and their hoped-for babies.
Have you heard of epigenetics? It’s a fairly complicated biological mechanism, but in the most basic terms, epigenetics control genes. There are certain experiences, both physical and psychological, that can cause your genes either to be expressed or remain dormant over time. In other words, genes can be turned on or off. Kinda crazy, right? But it’s true.
This understanding (epigenetics is hot, hot, hot in terms of how much it’s being studied right now) has a huge impact on how we think about the genes we pass onto our kids. And, more importantly, the genes we want to pass onto our kids.
Dad’s Genes Make a Big Difference
When we think about a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby, we most often think about moms. They’re the ones who carry the babies, after all. But it turns out that a dad’s genetic contribution has a huge impact. Dr. Rhonda Patrick, a Ph.D. in biomedical science and an expert on nutritional health, recently discussed a game-changing study on a national radio broadcast. This study, she explained, collected sperm from both obese and lean men. Scientists were surprised to learn that there were tons of genetic differences in the sperm, including in the genes that affect learning, memory, and metabolism.
Here’s the kicker: When the morbidly obese men underwent bariatric surgery, their DNA looked more and more like that of lean men as time went on. Just by losing weight, through gastric sleeve surgery for example, the DNA in their sperm became more favorable for things like cognition and metabolism. The study proves that you have the opportunity to decide what kind of genes you pass onto your children. Do you want them to be given “lean” genes and better cognition? Or do you want them to be at an increased risk of obesity?
Your Child as a Motivator
Many of my patients cite their children and families as big reasons for undergoing gastric sleeve. They want to be healthier in order to have more time with their loved ones. Makes sense to me. But now, patients may have an even stronger motivation to lose weight: changing how their unborn children experience life. Even if you’re not motivated to lose weight for yourself, your child’s health and future might be just the incentive you need.
Before epigenetics came into play, we didn’t have understand that we can change the way our children develop. But now we know that what we do today can give our babies a different starting point in life. They can be predisposed for healthy weight and higher intellectual achievement just because of their dad’s preconception weight loss.
So where does mom come into play? Well, gastric sleeve can actually help obese women who haven’t been able to conceive. In fact, pregnancy after being sleeved is very common. We get a lot of patient referrals from OB/GYNs who know that obese patients suffering from infertility can more easily become pregnant after weight loss surgery. PCOS is a frequent culprit, but obesity in itself can make conception hard.
After gastric sleeve, fertility in women skyrockets. It’s so common, in fact, that I advise my patients to actively plan NOT to conceive—something many of them haven’t done in years—for about 12 months after surgery. While you can get pregnant soon afterward, your body is undergoing serious changes with all that weight loss. A stable weight makes pregnancy easier on you and your baby.
Gastric sleeve surgery can have huge benefits for moms, dads, and babies. Get in touch with us today at Endobariatric to find out how more about how gastric sleeve can help create healthy families.