Pregnancy After Bariatric Surgery
It will take time to recover from surgery and implement the new diet and lifestyle changes needed to achieve your weight loss goals. Eventually your weight will stabilize and you will become comfortable, physically and emotionally, with the new you.
Not only is pregnancy after gastric bypass surgery or other weight loss surgeries possible, but you may actually be in a better position to conceive.
Losing Weight To Improve Your Chances of Becoming Pregnant
If you are thinking about pregnancy after bariatric surgery, your body will be better prepared for fertility and carrying a baby. Excessive weight puts a great deal of strain on every aspect of your body, including your reproductive system.
Many women experience difficulties with their menstrual cycle and fertility when they are significantly overweight. After weight loss surgery, your reproductive system can finally regulate itself as your body reaps the benefits of your efforts.
Losing weight means a healthier you. You will be better equipped to handle all of the changes that are going to take place while you are expecting.
Can Bariatric Surgery Really Improve Fertility?
The short answer is yes, bariatric surgery can indeed improve fertility. Obese women are more likely to develop complications during pregnancy, such as preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, miscarriage, and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).
Bariatric surgery can significantly lower your chances of encountering problems during pregnancy which in turn decreases the probability of a miscarriage amongst other complications.
You Should Not Rush into Pregnancy
You should not rush into pregnancy after gastric bypass surgery. Your body is going to go through a great deal of changes from the surgery alone. You are sure to be emotional and you may be overwhelmed at times.
Bariatric surgery involves a recovery period and you have to learn a new way of eating. Major adjustments in your lifestyle have to be made in order to have the best results. Pregnancy is going to cause more upheaval in your life.
Another concern is the period when you first begin to lose weight. Your rate of weight loss can be rapid in the initial stages following bariatric surgery.
If you become pregnant too soon, there is the possibility that you and the baby will not receive the proper nourishment needed to thrive during this challenging time.
As a rule of thumb, give yourself at least a year and a half before you move forward with plans to become pregnant.
You Need to Pay Close Attention to Your Body
Once you become pregnant, you are going to need to listen to what your body is trying to tell you and give it the attention it needs. Pregnancy after gastric bypass surgery may mean you have to deal with more challenges than other women.
You have to be extremely conscientious of your calorie-intake. Weight loss surgery forces you to be diligent as you restrict calories in order to reach your goal for your ideal weight.
Once you become pregnant, you are going to need to make adjustments to ensure both you and your baby get adequate nutrition.
You should work closely with both your obstetrician and dietician to create a healthy eating plan during pregnancy. You may find that morning sickness affects you more strongly after bariatric surgery. Talk with your doctor about medications and lifestyle changes that can help you to deal with nausea in an effective way.
Be prepared for changes in your body. You are going to see yourself become larger during pregnancy and that is completely normal.
After all of your hard work to lose weight, you may begin to panic. Remember that there is a baby growing inside of you and that you will return to a healthy weight after your delivery.
What Should You Eat During Pregnancy After Bariatric Surgery?
Because bariatric surgery involves removing and rearranging portions of the stomach you will experience significant changes in the way you consume food.
Take the biliopancreatic diversion (BPD) procedure for example, a malabsorptive procedure that restricts both the amount of nutrients and calories you can absorb into your body.
Patients of other types of bariatric surgeries, such as gastric banding or Roux en-Y gastric bypass surgery also eat less, but rarely have nutritional complications (depending on whether or not they listen to the advice of their doctor).
To ensure your baby is getting the nutrition it needs to develop properly speak with your doctor. Furthermore, don’t worry about eating less after your surgery; the baby will take what it needs from the mother.
During the first trimester, you only need 100 extra calories a day and an additional 300 daily extra calories for the next two trimesters. Remember to eat healthy to improve sufficient fetal growth.
After bariatric surgery, you will need specific vitamins and minerals to counteract nutritional deficiencies to ensure your baby develops properly. More often than each type of bariatric surgery has unique supplemental needs.
Patients who undergo gastric sleeve surgery require prenatal vitamins and minerals. Every trimester it may be necessary to undergo blood tests to check nutrition levels. When you first become pregnant have your calcium, vitamin B12, and iron (ferritin) levels checked.
Biliopancreatic Diversion (BPD)
After BPD, it’s important to have your calcium, vitamin B12, and iron levels checked when you first begin your pregnancy. BPD may also cause your vitamin A levels to change.
Find a proper balance of vitamin A intake, as too much can harm your baby. You may also need calcium, iron supplements and vitamin D on top of prenatal vitamins and minerals.
Have your blood checked each trimester to ensure you’re not experiencing nutrient deficiencies. Before pregnancy, have your calcium, iron (ferritin), and Vitamin B12 levels checked. Take prenatal vitamins along with calcium, vitamin D, and iron supplements.
Be Aware of Possible Complications of Pregnancy After Bariatric Surgery
Pregnancy after bariatric surgery could lead to complications. Your risk may be higher than it would be for other pregnant women when it comes to developing gestational diabetes mellitus or high blood pressure that is induced by pregnancy.
There is also a good possibility that you will be a candidate for a cesarean. While having a C-section is not a must after bariatric surgery, many doctors will lean in this direction.
You should discuss possible problems that you may experience due to your unique situation.
Continue to follow a healthy lifestyle which includes a balanced diet and regular exercise. Keeping your body strong during pregnancy is your best insurance policy for a positive experience.
What You Need to Know About Gastric Band Surgery
When it comes to pregnancy, gastric banding is one of the most popular forms of bariatric surgery because the band can be tightened, loosened, or even deflated upon request.
Pregnant women will naturally experience symptoms such as nausea and vomiting which may be worsened after surgery. If you’re experiencing severe symptoms you can speak with your doctor to have your adjustable gastric band loosened or completely deflated.
Gastric banding patients may also experience a variety of issues such as heartburn and difficulties swallowing large prenatal vitamin pills. Large pills may not break down properly in the esophagus which increases the chances of the formation of ulcers.
Keep in mind most women who undergo gastric band surgery never have to worry about adjusting their bands during pregnancy.
Consistency Is The Best Policy
The most important thing you can remember when you are pregnant following weight loss surgery is to be consistent in everything that you do. Continue to eat the way that you should, exercise, stay hydrated, and get plenty of sleep. See your doctor regularly.
Once you have had your baby, continue on the path that you followed once you had your surgical procedure performed. You can reach your goals when it comes to your weight and stay there.
Having a baby does not have to derail your weight loss efforts. You will always need to be conscious about your weight and the decisions you make.
If you have questions about pregnancy after gastric bypass surgery or other types of bariatric surgery or you are thinking about bariatric surgery for the first time, contact Olde Del Mar Surgical to learn more about your options.
A helpful team of staff members is at the ready to answer your questions and be your guide as you continue on your quest to reach a weight that is best for you.