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Pregnancy After Weight-Loss (Bariatric) Surgery
What is weight-loss (bariatric) surgery?
Bariatric surgery is surgery to help people lose weight and improve health problems related to weight. It may also be called metabolic surgery. This type of surgery is used for people who have obesity. Weight-loss surgery may be an option for people who have not been able to lose weight or improve weight-related health problems with diet, exercise, and medicines.
There are different types of bariatric surgery. They make the stomach smaller. Some types of surgery also change the connection between your stomach and intestines.
After surgery, you'll need to make new, lifelong changes in how you eat and drink. You'll have the support of your health care team to make these changes. These changes will help you reach your goals and stay at a weight that is healthy for you.
How can the surgery affect pregnancy?
Weight-loss surgery helps people lose a lot of weight quickly. If you get pregnant too soon after surgery, your body may not have enough nutrients to support a healthy pregnancy. Experts suggest waiting for 1 to 2 years after weight-loss surgery to get pregnant.footnote 1
Weight-loss surgery before pregnancy:
- Can help you get pregnant if obesity was the reason you had trouble getting pregnant.
- Can lower your chance of some pregnancy problems. These include high blood pressure and gestational diabetes.
- Might reduce your chance of needing a cesarean section (C-section).footnote 2
After having weight-loss surgery, your prenatal care will mostly be the same as for other pregnancies. But there are a few differences.
- You may need to keep seeing the doctor who did your surgery. This is to make sure that you aren't having any delayed problems from the surgery.
- A dietitian may work with you to make sure you're getting the nutrition you need and to help you plan meals.
- You may need to take extra vitamins and minerals. Weight-loss surgery can make it hard for your body to absorb some nutrients, such as folic acid, calcium, vitamin B12, and iron.
What can you do to have a healthy pregnancy?
Making healthy choices can help you have a healthy pregnancy after weight-loss surgery. Here are some important things you can do.
- Try to eat healthy foods.
Talk with your doctor or a dietitian about what to eat and when and how much you can eat after surgery. Keeping a food diary may help you keep track of the types and amounts of food you eat.
- Be active.
Walking or swimming may be good options. Try to find activities that you enjoy. If you weren't very active before you were pregnant, talk to your doctor about how you can slowly get more active.
It may be hard to think about gaining weight for pregnancy after having surgery to lose weight. Talk to your doctor if you're concerned about this.
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (2009, reaffirmed 2021). Bariatric surgery and pregnancy. ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 105. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 113(6): 1405–13. Accessed March 13, 2023
- Kwong W, et al. (2018). 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, 218(6): 573. DOI: 10.1016/j.ajog.2018.02.003. Accessed February 9, 2023.
Current as of: May 13, 2023
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