Diet and Nutrition for Pregnancy After Weight-Loss Surgery - My Bariatric life

Patient Expert

Perhaps you have given consideration to starting or extending your family after your gastric bypass surgery. Perhaps you researched the risk factors and found that they were quite manageable. You have become at ease. The information is all so promising.   Your desire for a baby has become intense. And now, much to your delight, you are pregnant.

Perhaps your weight-loss surgery is the success you had hoped for. Good things keep happening. Although unexpected, you are pregnant and could not be more happy. You want what is best for you and your unborn child so you increase your post-surgery efforts and begin the business of becoming the best mother you can be.

The Importance of Nutrition During Pregnancy After Bariatric Surgery

The most important factor in your post-bariatric surgery pregnancy is addressing your nutritional needs.

Your obstetrician should not only be told that you have had bariatric surgery but should also be informed as to which surgery you have had. The three types of surgery are restrictive, malabsorptive, and combination. This knowledge will help in  determining what the best prenatal nutritional care is for your baby.   For instance, about 20% of adult females who have had biliopancreatic diversion (malabsorptive) require intravenous feeding while pregnant to insure that mom and baby are getting proper nutrition.

Your obstetrician should also be in touch with your bariatric surgeon.

Folic acid, vitamin A, and vitamin B12 are the most important of the supplements and should be taken regularly when pregnant. Calcium, vitamin D, and iron are also important. In addition to supplements, a proper diet should be maintained. Folic acid and B12 are gotten from lean meat, milk, eggs, and yogurt. Liver is the best source.

Leafy greens, flax seeds, sesame seeds, and oranges are also great sources of the calcium that will build the babies tooth buds and bones. The leafy greens are also rich in folic acid and help prevent neural tube defects in the baby. Neural tube defects occur in every one in one thousand live births in the United States. They happen when an opening in the brain or spinal cord occurs early in the baby's development. Again, folic acid during pregnancy prevents this serious defect.

Cod liver oil is an excellent source of Vitamin D but a doctor should be consulted  about this.

Iron helps increase the blood supply and decreases the possibility of pregnancy-related anemia.

Nausea is common during pregnancy. Eating several small meals over the course of the day with a blend of protein and complex carbohydrates will help. It is also useful to keep solid meals and liquids separate. Expecting mothers should not take multiple prenatal vitamins whereas they can find themselves taking in an excess of nutrients.

A Final Concern: Weight Gain

You are going to gain weight when you are pregnant. For many women who have had bariatric surgery, this is a difficult proposition. Post-surgery BMI can be used to determine appropriate weight gain. Enough weight need be gained to allow normal fetal growth. Excess weight gain can promote risks. A correct balance is the goal that you and your medical team strive for.

Those who have difficulty putting on enough weight may need ultrasound monitoring to insure proper fetal growth.

Best of luck to you all and congratulations.

Up next: Preparing for Pregnancy After Gastric Bypass Surgery

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