What do I need to know about pregnancy after gastric bypass surgery? Will my baby be able to get enough nutrients?
Answer From Yvonne Butler Tobah, M.D.
Pregnancy after gastric bypass can be safe and healthy if managed well by you and your health care provider.
Research suggests that weight-loss surgery before pregnancy might lower the risk to women and their babies of obesity-related problems during pregnancy, including:
- Gestational diabetes
- Blood pressure disorders
- Newborns who are large for their gestational ages
- Postpartum hemorrhage
- Cesarean delivery
However, having weight-loss surgery might also increase the risk of some harmful effects, including:
- Infants who are small for their gestational ages
- Intrauterine growth restriction
- Preterm birth
Experts believe that these negative effects may be related to nutritional deficiencies resulting from weight-loss surgery.
If you have had weight-loss surgery and are considering pregnancy, consult your health care provider for help with planning before conception. Experts typically recommend postponing pregnancy until your weight stabilizes — typically at least 12 to 18 months after surgery. Some experts recommend waiting longer.
Your health care provider might also recommend nutritional deficiency testing before conception to determine your individual need for supplements, as well as monthly tests during pregnancy. You might consult a registered dietitian along with your gastric bypass surgeon for advice on nutrition and weight gain during pregnancy. In addition, your testing for gestational diabetes during pregnancy might be modified.
To monitor your baby's growth, your health care provider might recommend a fetal ultrasound. This might be particularly important if you've had poor weight gain during pregnancy or became pregnant within two years of having surgery.
June 23, 2020
Yvonne Butler Tobah, M.D.
See more Expert Answers
- Ouyang DW. Fertility and pregnancy after bariatric surgery. https://www.update.com/contents/search. Accessed Feb. 4, 2020.
- Gabbe SG, et al., eds. Surgery during pregnancy. In: Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. 7th ed. Elsevier; 2017. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Feb. 4, 2020.
- Carreau AM, et al. Pregnancy after bariatric surgery: Balancing risks and benefits. Canadian Journal of Diabetes. 2017; doi:10.1016/j.jcjd.2016.09.005.
- Kwong W, et al. Maternal and neonatal outcomes after bariatric surgery; a systematic review and meta-analysis: Do the benefits outweigh the risks? American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2018; doi:10.1016/j.ajog.2018.02.003.