Pregnancy After Weight Loss Surgery
An obese pregnancy presents many health risks to both the mother and the baby, so having a baby after weight loss surgery is ultimately safer in most cases. Losing a substantial amount of weight can also make it safer to become pregnant due to a reduced risk of pregnancy problems such as high blood pressure and gestational diabetes. Even so, there are certain precautions that should be taken during pregnancy after weight loss.
When It’s Safe to Become Pregnant
The general recommendation is to wait 1-2 years following weight loss surgery to become pregnant. Pregnancy may be safer sooner if you had a minimally invasive procedure that didn’t involve significant changes to your stomach and intestines. The 1-2 year guideline allows you to safely continue to lose weight following your surgery as your body adjusts to your new eating habits without having to deal with the added demands of pregnancy.
Meeting Your Nutritional Needs
Most common weight loss procedures involve the loss of the ability to absorb the essential nutrients from food. Because of the extra nutritional requirements of pregnancy, it’s important to continue taking your bariatric vitamin supplements before, during, and after pregnancy. Malabsorptive procedures, in particular, increase the risk of nutritional deficiency for both mother and baby. You may need to take additional vitamin supplements to meet the increased need for:
- Folic acid
Scheduling Your Doctors’ Visits
Waiting until you’ve lost most of your weight following surgery will greatly decrease your risk of complications with pregnancy. Further increase your odds of having a successful pregnancy post-surgery by scheduling regular appointments with your primary care physician, obstetrician, and bariatric surgeon. You may also be referred to a dietician or nutritionist for assistance with your nutritional needs.
Minimizing Pregnancy Weight Gain
The average amount of weight added during pregnancy is 25-35 pounds. Minimize pregnancy weight gain by retaining your post-surgery eating habits. Instead of increasing portion sizes, focus on incorporating healthy snacks within your diet throughout the day. It’s still important to avoid unhealthy food choices, such as sugary snacks and processed foods.
As pregnancy progresses, it may be necessary to continue to see your bariatric surgeon to ensure that there are no lingering issues from your procedure. While gaining pregnancy weight is normal and healthy for the baby, it’s sometimes a concern for weight loss patients. However, most women will lose about 10-12 pounds immediately following childbirth. Discuss any weight loss concerns you may have after that point with your bariatric surgeon.