What do I need to know about pregnancy after gastric bypass surgery? Will my baby be able to get enough nutrients?
Answers from Shannon K. Laughlin-Tommaso, M.D.
Pregnancy after gastric bypass can be safe and healthy if managed well by you and your health care provider. 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, and preeclampsia — high blood pressure and signs of damage to another organ system, often the kidneys, after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
If you have had weight-loss surgery and are considering pregnancy, consult your health care provider for preconception planning. You might also consult a registered dietitian along with your gastric bypass surgeon for advice on nutrition and weight gain during pregnancy.
Experts typically recommend postponing pregnancy until your weight stabilizes — typically at least 12 to 18 months after surgery. Some experts recommend waiting longer. Rapid or persistent weight loss might deprive a growing baby of important nutrients, leading to low birth weight. To monitor your baby's growth, your health care provider might recommend a fetal ultrasound during the third trimester.
Depending on the type of weight-loss surgery and your specific nutritional needs, your health care provider also 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.
June 17, 2015
Shannon K. Laughlin-Tommaso, M.D.
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.
- Ouyang DW. Fertility and pregnancy after bariatric surgery. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 6, 2015.