Double congratulations—you’ve lost a whole lot of weight, and you’re expecting! But as you pat yourself on the back (or the belly), you may also be wondering how having had gastric bypass or lap band surgery will affect your pregnancy. Happily, not that much. Chances are you were advised not to become pregnant for at least the first 12 to 18 months after your surgery—the time of the most drastic weight loss and potential for malnutrition. But onces you’ve passed that benchmark, your chances 0f having a healthy pregnancy and healthy pregnancy outcome are actually even better than they would have been if you hadn’t had the surgery and lost the weight. Still, as you probably know, you’ll have to work extra hard to ensure the healthier outcome:
1. Put your weight loss surgeon on your prenatal team. He or she will be best able to advise your ob-gyn or midwife on some of the specific needs of a post-gastric bypass patient.
2. You’ll need to keep up with your recommended vitamin supplementation while you’re expecting. A prenatal vitamin is a good start, but you may need more iron, calcium, folic acid, vitamin B12, and vitamin A because of certain malabsorption issues. Be sure to speak to both your prenatal practitioner and your surgeon about your particular supplement needs.
3. Watch your weight closely (with your practitioner, of course). You’re used to watching it go down, but now it will have to start going up. If you don’t gain enough weight during pregnancy, your baby may not be able to grow to its potential. Make sure you know what your target weight gain is (it may be different than for the average expectant mom), and make sure you have an eating plan in place that will help you reach your weight gain goal.
4. Watch what you eat, too. As a gastric bypass patient, the quantity of food you can eat is limited, so you’ll need to focus on quality. Try not to waste calories, and instead try to choose foods that efficiently pack the most nutrients into the smallest volume.
5. If at any time you experience abdominal pain and excessive bloating, call your doctor right away.