It is absolutely fine to get pregnant following gastric bypass or sleeve surgery. It is advisable to wait until you have lost most of your weight and it has been stable for a while but we know that isn’t always possible. The chances are after losing lots of weight too your health will have improved too which may have a positive knock on effect with your pregnancy - less stress on your heart and your joints for example
As with any pregnancy it is important you eat healthily and in the later stages you will need some additional calories. Don’t try and over face yourself at mealtimes but instead opt for between meal healthy snacks instead. Your midwife and dietitian will be able to help with this
It is important that you take all of your prescribed nutritional supplements and take advice about any other additional ones you may need, such as folic acid. It is also important to get your current supplements and doses checked to ensure that they are still suitable for you – ones containing Vitamin A may need to be changed for example but not always. Ensure you keep up to date with any blood tests too so any nutritional deficiencies can be picked up and rectified. If you suffer from morning sickness this may have a negative impact on your nutritional status so discuss this with your GP or midwife if this is becoming a regular occurrence
It is normal to become anxious about gaining weight after your surgery especially as you have worked so hard to lose it in the first place. Off course, as with any pregnancy it is normal to gain weight as the baby grows. It is important to try and not stress about this but try to continue to eat as healthily as you can so you and your baby can get all the nutrients you need. Try not to go overboard and “eat for two” and although that may be difficult anyway it isn’t necessary. Eat healthily and let your midwife monitor your weight – if you have any additional concerns you can speak to your bariatric team
And above all enjoy your pregnancy – you are growing a human and how amazing is that! The rest will fall into place but ask for help if you need it
How should I eat?
Eating well after bariatric surgery is very important, as is during pregnancy. Do not worry that eating less as a result of surgery will affect your baby’s development. This is hugely unlikely as your baby will take what they need in order to develop from you. You can follow your post-surgery diet plan up until the third trimester, when you may need some extra calories. Your midwife and bariatric team will be able to help you figure out what foods are suitable for you at this time, and how much.
Will I regain weight?
It’s unlikely that you will regain all your lost weight during pregnancy. However, you should prepare to gain some extra weight- this is normal. Weight gain is different for everyone during pregnancy and it is something many women worry about. Talk to your bariatric team about how you feel so they can support you and advise you. Pregnancy causes us to gain weight due to our growing babies, as well as amniotic fluid and our placenta. Our bodies reduce more blood, breasts get bigger and so do our muscles and bone mass.
It’s important to remember that your body may still be losing weight post-surgery, so you may not notice any gains.
Monitor your nutrients
Many women find they have nutritional deficiencies post-surgery which can be problematic during pregnancy. The most common nutritional complications associated with bariatric surgery are absences of B12, iron, calcium and vitamin D. Due to nausea during pregnancy, it can be difficult to get the nutrients you need. Talk to your midwife or bariatric team further to ensure your body- and baby- is getting the nutrients it needs.