What can you tell me about pregnancy after gastric bypass surgery? I'm worried that my baby won't get enough nutrients since I won't be able to eat as much.
Answers from Roger W. Harms, M.D.
It's possible to have a safe and healthy pregnancy after gastric bypass surgery. In fact, research suggests that pregnancy after weight-loss surgery might be safer for both mother and baby than pregnancy complicated by obesity.
Although more research is needed, studies suggest that weight-loss surgery might protect obese women and their babies from obesity-related problems during pregnancy. Examples include gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and preeclampsia — high blood pressure and excess protein in the urine after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Timing is important, however. It's best to avoid pregnancy after weight-loss surgery until your weight stabilizes — typically at least 12 months after surgery. Rapid or persistent weight loss might deprive a growing baby of important nutrients, leading to low birth weight.
If you've had weight-loss surgery and are considering pregnancy, consult your health care provider for preconception planning. Depending on the type of weight-loss surgery and your specific nutritional needs, your health care provider might recommend certain nutritional supplements — such as folic acid, vitamin B-12, vitamin D, iron and calcium — in addition to a daily prenatal vitamin before and during pregnancy.
You might also consult a registered dietitian for advice on nutrition and weight gain during pregnancy.
June 06, 2012
See more Expert Answers
- Lesko J, et al. Pregnancy outcomes in women after bariatric surgery compared with obese and morbidly obese controls. Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2012;119:547.
- Magdaleno R, et al. Pregnancy after bariatric surgery: A current view of maternal, obstetrical and perinatal challenges. Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics. 2012;285:559.
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Committee on Practice Bulletins — Obstetrics. ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 105: Bariatric surgery and pregnancy. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2009;113:1405.