Weight loss surgery is a safe, effective way to lose weight. Yet, the procedure does cause your body to go through major changes. Because of those changes, if you are thinking about pregnancy after weight loss surgery, it is perfectly natural to have questions. However, rest assured. The work you have done to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle will protect you and your growing fetus from obesity-related issues. There are steps to take to ensure that you have a safe pregnancy after bariatric surgery.
Talk with Your Bariatric Surgeon
If you are considering getting pregnant after weight loss surgery, your first step is to talk with your bariatric surgeon. They are fully aware of the changes your body will be going through and can help by changing your prescribed daily diet plan. Your surgeon can also prescribe the right prenatal vitamins specially formulated for bariatric patients to help you effectively manage your nutrition.
Because of the dramatic weight loss that you will undergo after bariatric surgery, most surgeons will want you to delay considering pregnancy for at least 18 months after your surgery. Pregnancy places a lot of stress on your body, and it is not advised to put back-to-back extreme stress on your body. Waiting the recommended time helps to prevent the possibility of you or your baby suffering the effects of malnutrition. Reaching a stable, healthy weight makes it much easier to carry a child.
Talk with Your OB/Gyn
If you are pregnant or are considering getting pregnant after bariatric surgery, you should let your OB/Gyn know that you have recently had bariatric surgery. This type of surgery is not their specialty, they are not always educated or prepared with the knowledge needed to treat women who have had weight loss surgery. Letting them know in advance gives them time to do appropriate research to help you have a healthy, successful pregnancy.
Be in the Right Headspace
Pregnancy after weight loss surgery can have a great emotional impact if you are not in the right headspace. As your stomach grows from the pregnancy, your surgical scars may become more visible. The numbers on the scale will go up as your pregnancy progresses. This can cause many different mental triggers causing some women to unnecessarily restrict their diets to maintain their weight or to overeat because they are going to gain weight anyway. Mindfulness is important in any weight loss journey and is significantly important during pregnancy after surgery. If you need help to manage your concerns mentally, please consult with a psychologist.
Pregnancy after bariatric surgery is quite similar to a normal pregnancy. Losing the weight was not easy, but you did it. Pregnancy will bring back some of the weight, but you can lose it again once you deliver your baby. Always remember that the surgery and the work you put in made it possible for your child to have a healthy body in which to grow. Keep your doctors and registered dietitian informed, eat healthy and stay strong mentally, and you can have a safe, normal pregnancy after weight loss surgery.