Bariatric surgery\u00a0and changes in your weight can have a major impact on your fertility\u00a0\u2014 and even alter the effectiveness of some popular forms of birth control.\nWomen of childbearing age who are considering weight loss surgery should talk with their doctor about options for birth control before undergoing the procedure.\nFertility and Obesity: What’s the Connection?\nObesity can decrease fertility, as well as cause irregular periods and less frequent ovulation.\nMany women who are obese have trouble conceiving\u00a0because of hormone changes triggered by excess fat. However, when you lose weight, your hormones begin returning to normal, which can, in turn, boost your fertility.\nBirth Control After Weight Loss Surgery\nMost doctors advise women to wait at least two years after bariatric surgery before trying to become pregnant.\nAs you lose weight and your fertility returns to normal, you may need to reconsider your birth control methods.\u00a0Some birth control, including birth control pills, may be less effective after bariatric surgery, but it depends on the type of procedure you have.\nThe American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery recommends that women who undergo bariatric surgery\u00a0use an IUD (intrauterine device) or condoms and spermicide in addition to oral contraceptive. Forms of hormonal birth control that do not go through the digestive system are expected to work as normal after surgery. These include IUDs, the ring, the patch, the shot, and the implant.\nFertility and Bariatric Surgery: Know Your Options\nAn increase in fertility can occur very quickly after your weight loss surgery, even before you experience significant weight loss. So, it’s important that you have a birth control method in place prior to your procedure.\nNote that you may be unable to take certain hormones in weeks leading up to your operation, so alternative forms of birth control may be needed.\nTalking To Your Doctor About Birth Control\nIt’s best to have a detailed discussion with your doctor about birth control before making a decision to undergo weight loss surgery.\nMany clinical trials for birth control have excluded obese women, so the effectiveness of these drugs based on weight isn’t fully known. Because your fertility may increase as you lose weight, talk to your doctor about your desires for pregnancy. Some topics to discuss with your doctor include:\n\nEffectiveness of different types of birth control based on your surgery\nYour preferences for convenience of taking birth control\nSide effects of each type\nWhether you want to become pregnant in the future and when\n\nChoosing contraception is a personal decision and should be based on your preferences, lifestyle, and values. You can use barrier methods if you prefer to avoid hormones.\nTo learn more about weight loss surgery, visit the UPMC Bariatric Surgery Center for Excellence and get insight on contraceptive options from the Gynecology, Family Planning, and Women’s Health Services Department at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC.