Pregnancy after Bariatric Surgery: Proper Nutrition is Key

prengnancyStatistics show that nearly 80% of women who undergo bariatric surgery are of childbearing age. We also know that these surgeries work by either restricting calories or malabsorption. Restrictive surgery reduces the stomach size and physically limits the amount of food the stomach can hold, which limits the number of calories one can eat. An example of this type of procedure is adjustable banding. Malabsorptive surgery combines stomach restriction with a partial bypass of the small intestine. In these procedures, a direct connection is created from the stomach to the lower segment of the small intestine, bypassing portions of the digestive tract that absorb calories and nutrients.

While women should always be concerned with getting proper nutrition, it is never more important than when pregnant. Expectant mothers should try to avoid ingesting things that could harm the fetus, and they should also be diligent about trying to consume enough of the nutrients that a healthy, developing embryo needs. Nutritional needs do differ based on many factors, including what type of bariatric surgery you have. For example, gastric banding or gastric bypass pose minimal, if any, risks for nutrient problems if the mom-to-be adheres to her surgeon’s advice; however, about 20 percent of pregnant women who undergo biliopancreatic diversion may need to be feed intravenously while pregnant to make sure they receive the proper nutrition.

Generally, all pregnant women need the same nutrients to sustain a healthy pregnancy. If you become pregnant after weight-loss surgery, let your ob/gyn know what kind of surgery you had, and keep your bariatric surgeon in the loop as well.

Dr. Shawn Tsuda and his experienced team can help you understand your specific nutritional needs after whatever bariatric procedure you have if you become pregnant or are planning to become pregnant.

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