Healthy weight loss improves fertility and increases the chances of having a healthy pregnancy and baby, as obesity can put both the mother and baby at risk for health complications. Many studies have shown that pregnancy is perfectly safe after weight loss surgery as long as some important guidelines are followed.
- Wait a while. It’s best to wait at least 12 to 18 months after surgery to try to get pregnant, as your weight loss will happen rapidly during this time. Rapid weight loss could put you and the baby at risk for complications. Contraception is crucial during this time, but check with your doctor about which contraceptive option is right for you, as weight loss surgery can compromise the effectiveness of oral contraceptives.
- Supplement. Because weight loss surgery limits the amount of food you’re able to consume, it’s very important to take nutritional supplements before, during, and after pregnancy. Crucial supplements include vitamins B1 (thiamine), B12, and A; folic acid to help prevent birth defects; iron to help form red blood cells; and calcium to help mineralize the baby’s skeleton.
- Check in. Make and keep regular appointments with your surgeon and obstetrician so that they can monitor your pregnancy. They should regularly check your blood for vitamin deficiencies, even if you take supplements. Your surgeon can also remove fluid from your gastric band if you experience pregnancy-related nausea.
- Eat slowly and often. Eat at least 4 small meals a day, making sure to spend at least 30 minutes eating each one.
- Eat well. A diet that’s high in protein and low in carbohydrates and fat is important during pregnancy. Because weight loss surgery prevents you from taking in the recommended 60 grams of protein per day from food, it’s important to get 30 grams from supplements like protein shakes and bars and the rest from protein-rich foods.
- Stay hydrated. Drink at least 40 to 60 ounces of water per day.
- Keep active. Continue doing low-impact exercises regularly. This can help prevent you from gaining more weight than is necessary for a normal pregnancy. Excess weight is hard to lose, so try to gain no more than about 35 pounds, which is enough to account for the baby, placenta, and amniotic fluid.
Following these guidelines closely can help ensure a healthy pregnancy; however, everybody is different, so it’s best to consult your doctor before trying to get pregnant if you’ve had weight loss surgery.