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. In fact, research suggests that pregnancy after weight-loss surgery might be safer for both mother and baby than pregnancy complicated by obesity.
While more research is needed, studies suggest that weight-loss surgery before pregnancy might protect women and their babies from obesity-related problems during pregnancy, including:
- Gestational diabetes
- Preeclampsia — high blood pressure and signs of damage to other organs, 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 help with planning before conception. 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.
After considering the type of weight-loss surgery and your specific nutritional needs, your health care provider might also 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.
Yvonne Butler Tobah, M.D.
May 15, 2018
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- Carreau AM, et al. Pregnancy after bariatric surgery: Balancing risks and benefits. Canadian Journal of Diabetes. 2017;41:432.
- Chevrot A, et al. Impact of bariatric surgery on fetal growth restriction: Experience of a perinatal and bariatric surgery center. American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2016;214:655.e1.