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Pregnancy And Bariatric Surgery

Pregnancy And Bariatric Surgery (620x930)

Here are four of the most common questions we get from women who have either already had weight loss surgery and are considering falling pregnant or are pregnant, as well as women who are yet to have the procedure and would like to know what happens with pregnancy and bariatric surgery. 

1. Is it safe to fall pregnant after weight loss surgery? 
Absolutely. In fact, studies show some important pregnancy outcomes for both mum and bub have improved after weight loss surgery. This includes a decrease in the rates of Gestational Diabetes & Pre-Eclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy). It also includes babies being born with less frequent macrosomia and being large for gestational age. Note though, that after some weight loss surgery procedures, babies are more likely to be small for gestational age. So, you might find your doctor wants to keep a closer eye on their growth during your pregnancy.

2. How long should I wait after bariatric surgery? 
There’s no clear consensus on this but most weight loss surgery professionals would suggest between 12 -18 months after surgery. Waiting allows for maximal weight loss and even a period of weight stabilisation. It also allows an adequate period of time to identify and correct any nutritional deficiencies which may develop following weight loss surgery that may have a negative outcome on the pregnancy itself.

3. What if I don’t want to fall pregnant after weight loss surgery? 
Reliable contraception is definitely a recommendation after weight loss surgery. This is for all patients in the first year post-op. There are small amounts of evidence emerging that suggest oral contraceptive pills may not be as effective after weight loss surgery and that the use of intrauterine devices is better. Book an appointment with your GP or Ob/Gyn if you have any concerns about this. Especially if you haven’t yet begun the weight loss surgery journey.

4. What multivitamins do I need?
In a perfect world, you should be in a good routine with your bariatric multivitamin supplementation after weight loss surgery. This means that if you have an ‘accident’, you should already be receiving some additional nutrition support. Adequate folate levels are the primary concern in early pregnancy. How much you should be taking depends on what stage of pregnancy you’re at and your BMI when you do fall pregnant.

Certain bariatric multivitamins are generally safe to continue using, as are standard over-the-counter pregnancy multivitamins. However, considering they aren’t designed for women who have also had weight loss surgery then additional supplementation will be needed on top of pregnancy supplements typically found in your chemist or supermarket.

The absolute best time to check in with a bariatric dietitian is before falling pregnant and you’ve had the surgery. If you’ve accidentally fallen pregnant or you’ve had bariatric surgery and it’s been a while since you’ve seen us, organise a review. If you’re thinking of falling pregnant and have had weight loss surgery or you’re considering having the bariatric procedure done and wondering about how it all works with pregnancy, Penny Weigand, our Bariatric Dietitian can help.

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