Over the past several years as a Bariatric Dietitian, I’ve coached several postop women through a healthy pregnancy. I have my “go to list” of things I recommend for them and suggestions I have.
But never before could I write this blog with a personal twist of understanding.
As I type this, I’m currently 14 weeks pregnant with our first baby. I’m slowly, but surely, waving goodbye to my first ever first trimester. It’s not a very heartfelt wave. It’s more of a “good riddance” wave with extra sass ;)
Now that I’m in a place where I can speak from a little more experience in the world of pregnancy, I plan to release more pregnancy focused blogs and videos for patients who are wanting to be pregnant or are currently pregnant. I’ve not had weight-loss surgery myself, but I’ve specialized in Bariatric Nutrition since 2009. I’m able to speak as a professional, and a pregnant woman as I hope to help guide you through the murky waters of growing a healthy baby in your healthy body.
For many patients, fertility and healthy pregnancies are the sole reason they made the decision to undergo weight-loss surgery. Nothing brings tears to my eyes more quickly than the moment a patient tells me they are going to be a mom and even better the day that car seat carrier walks into my office. It brings tears to my eyes just typing this as I remember those moments!
In this post, I want to start with the basics. I’ll soon be posting more specifically about each trimester as I go along in my own pregnancy.
First things first….
Be sure you know your Surgeon’s guideline on the recommendation of when to start trying for a baby.
Surgeons I have worked for over the years have stated an 18 month policy between your surgery and trying for a pregnancy. I won’t say I’ve never had some oops! babies but certainly follow your doctors instructions for yours and babies overall health.
If you’ve waited and are nearing the 18 month postop mark, the next step is something that is true for all women.
Be consistent with your vitamins even before trying! Take your Bariatric Multivitamin, Calcium and so on just as you’ve always been recommended. You can read a bit more about those here. In addition to those, I would add 800 mcg Folic Acid and a good Fish Oil for DHA – Omega 3. These are very helpful for babies development and great to have those stores built up in your body prior to conception. You’ll want to talk this out with your OBGYN as they will likely prescribe you a prenatal vitamin. While those vitamins are wonderful, they may not be as well absorbed into your body. Sticking to Bariatric Specific vitamins with the added Folic Acid and Fish Oil will likely be best for your postop body. Make sure there isn’t anything your OBGYN would want to add to that recommendation.
Try and find peace in the waiting and the hoping. Perhaps you’ve struggled with fertility in your past. Perhaps you’ve never tried to conceive. No matter your history, the trying and waiting and hoping and praying process of wanting to grow your family can be downright EMOTIONAL. I felt like I only heard from women who were pregnant right away or women who took years to get pregnant. When it didn’t happen the first month for us, I had a very difficult time keeping myself from worrying it would be a very long time. It was a little bit of time, but in the grand scheme of things….it wasn’t a long amount of time.
Have fun enjoying your life as it is, spending time with your spouse, time with yourself, time with friends and family and (for myself) time in prayer reminding yourself you aren’t actually the one who creates a human life (though it may seem) but instead it’s a Heavenly Creator that just let’s us be a part of the process :)
When you find out you’re pregnant – make appointments!
Of course, make a prenatal appointment with your OBGYN. Then notify your surgeon’s nurse that you are pregnant so they have this on record. Your doctor may or may not want to see you but likely will if you haven’t had a follow up visit in a while. The same is true for any other specialty doctors you have. I personally notified my neurosurgeon because of medical history that includes a stent in my carotid artery. If you have a nephrologist, cardiologist, endocrinologist and so on, it’s important you notify them about your pregnancy.
I would highly recommend making an appointment with your Bariatric Dietitian. (Yes, I know…biased!) Ideally you have a Bariatric Dietitian available to you in your area and someone that is experienced with pregnancy and weight-loss surgery. If not, email me at Steph@foodcoach.me and I’d be happy to help get you taken care of.
These are the basic beginnings of a postop patient hoping for a baby and first finding out about a pregnancy. Things get a bit “wonky” when it comes to pregnancy symptoms and I’ll soon be sharing more of my personal story and more specifics on the first trimester of pregnancy.
As a general, make certain you are Hydrated which is not only imperative after weight-loss surgery but certainly in pregnancy and nursing. It’s true you do need more carbs in pregnancy but it’s not a free-for-all like we had all secretly hoped :) It’s still important to balance the right amount of protein to carbs to fat and getting those carbs in the best of places (lots of fruit in my case!)