Contraceptive use among women with a history of bariatric surgery: a systematic review

Melissa E. Paulen, Lauren B. Zapata, Catherine D Cansino, Kathryn M. Curtis, Denise J. Jamieson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Background: Weight loss after bariatric surgery often improves fertility but can pose substantial risks to maternal and fetal outcomes. Women who have undergone a bariatric surgical procedure are currently advised to delay conception for up to 2 years. Study Design: We conducted a systematic review of the literature, from database (PubMed) inception through February 2009, to evaluate evidence on the safety and effectiveness of contraceptive use among women with a history of bariatric surgery. Results: From 29 articles, five met review inclusion criteria. One prospective, noncomparative study reported 2 pregnancies among 9 (22%) oral contraceptive (OC) users following biliopancreatic diversion, and one descriptive study reported no pregnancies among an unidentified number of women taking OCs following laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding. Of two pharmacokinetic studies, one found lower plasma levels of norethisterone and levonorgestrel among women having had a jejunoileal bypass, as compared to nonoperated, normal-weight controls. The other study found no difference in plasma levels of D-norgestrel between women having a jejunoileal bypass of either 1:3 or 3:1 ratio between the length of jejunum and ileum left in continuity, but women with a 1:3 ratio had significantly higher plasma levels of D-norgestrel than extremely obese controls not operated upon. Conclusions: Evidence regarding OC effectiveness following a bariatric surgical procedure is quite limited, although no substantial decrease in effectiveness was identified from available studies. Evidence on failure rates for other contraceptive methods and evidence on safety for all contraceptive methods was not identified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)86-94
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Bariatric surgery
  • Biliopancreatic diversion
  • Contraception
  • Gastric banding
  • Gastric bypass
  • Systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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