Pregnancy after Bariatric Surgery

Congratulations! You are starting your journey of pregnancy after bariatric surgery. Whether you are thinking about conceiving or have celebrated the little “positive” sign, this is an exciting time. It’s also a time to start getting serious about your bodies special needs and keep in close contact with your bariatric team. If your Surgeon does not have a Dietitian on staff, request a referral to a consulting Dietitian to help handle your prenatal care. I cannot emphasize it enough… pregnancy after bariatric surgery requires close attention per your Obstetrician AND Bariatric Surgeon AND Dietitian!

Special Considerations Prior to Pregnancy

  1. Determine baseline nutritional status:
  2. in other words get your labs drawn so that you and your care team will be able to correct any deficiencies prior to conception
  3. Prenatal Vitamins:
  4. in most situations a prenatal vitamin should be taken in addition to your usually prescribed vitamin supplementation (not instead of your usual supplementation). Check with your doctor for your prescribed supplement regimen.
  5. Timeline:
  6. you have been encouraged to wait 12-18 months until pregnancy after bariatric surgery. This guideline is for your health as well as your babies. If pregnancy occurs too soon after surgery it can be difficult to meet baseline nutrition needs for your baby and may hinder your ability to experience optimal success from your weight loss surgery.
  7. Exercise:
  8. pregnancy after weight loss surgery is just like every other pregnancy as far as exercise is concerned. You will be allowed to maintain whatever activities you do prior to conception. What does this mean… you need to start moving! If you have not already implemented a fitness component into your life, you need to start today. At a minimum, start walking. However, you might also want to check out aqua therapy classes, pregnancy yoga, or maybe try a personal trainer who specializes in prenatal training (extra accountability is helpful).

Special Considerations During Pregnancy

  1. Eat 3 high protein meals per day and include 1-2 high protein snacks

  2. Space out meals and snacks by 2-3 hours (no nibbles in-between eating times, do not allow pregnancy to be your accuse to start any grazing behaviors)

  3. Do not skip meals and planned snacks! (You are not only missing an opportunity to nourish you and baby, but you are also slowing down your metabolism)

  4. Consume approximately 70 grams of protein daily (your dietitian will provide your exact needs)

  5. Consume an extra 300 calories per day in your second and third trimesters (emphasis on complex carbohydrates, low-fat dairy products, fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats)

  6. Eat a variety of foods from all food groups to aid in meeting your nourishment needs

  7. Choose complex carbohydrates a few times a day (i.e. fruits, starchy vegetables, beans, and whole grains)

  8. Consume low-fat dairy products daily (i.e. skim or 1% milk, cottage cheese, and yogurts)

  9. Aim for 25-35 grams of fiber per day (increase slowly and drink plenty of water)

  10. Focus on healthy fats and avoid trans fats

  11. Drink a minimum of 64 fluid oz (8 cups) of water a day

  12. Continue to separate eating and drinking by at least 30 minutes for better tolerance of meals and snacks

  13. Most importantly, report persistent nausea or vomiting, barriers to meeting your nutritional needs are serious!

Prenatal Nutrient Recommendations

Adjustable Gastric Banding:
  1. Prenatal vitamin (covers increased folate needs)
  2. Additional supplementation is based off laboratory deficiencies

Gastric Bypass:
  1. Prenatal vitamin (covers increased folate needs)
  2. Calcium Citrate with Vitamin D: 1,500-2,000 mg/day
  3. Vitamin B12: 500 mcg/day
  4. Elemental Iron: as needed per iron studies
  5. DHA 300 mg/day or combination prenatal that includes DHA
**Nutrient recommendations researched by Author Jeanne Blankenship MS, RD, CLE, who works in the Department of Surgery at the University of California, Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, California. **

I cannot stress this enough, these are only basic recommendations and you will need your doctor and dietitian to tailor recommendations to your specific needs! I also strongly recommend continuing with your medical team after your baby is born. Pregnancy after bariatric surgery and losing baby weight is a scary time, make sure you surround yourself with an appropriate support system.

Please visit Ask me if you have further questions or concerns. Visit Wellness Coaching if you would like extra accountability and counseling throughout your journey. Good Luck and Congratulations!

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