Seven facts about pregnancy after weight-loss surgery

3. You’ll need to monitor your nutrient intake closely

Even past the initial post-surgery period, many women have nutritional deficiencies that can be problematic during pregnancy. A study in the April 2006 issue of the American Journal of Medical Science found that the most common nutritional complications associated with bariatric surgery are deficiencies in B12, iron, calcium, and vitamin D. In some cases, post-surgery patients can experience protein-calorie malnutrition and fat malabsorption. After surgery, many women eat as few as 500 calories a day and often have to take extra vitamins to compensate for the ways in which their bodies no longer metabolize nutrients.

It may be extra difficult to get the nutrients you need during pregnancy because of nausea — a common post-surgery complication that morning sickness can exacerbate. If nausea has killed your appetite or you can’t keep food down, talk to your healthcare provider about antinausea drugs that you can safely take during pregnancy.

To make sure you and your baby are getting enough nutrients, see a nutritionist who’s knowledgeable about weight-loss surgery. You can find a nutritionist (also called a dietitian) on the American Dietetic Association website — just click on Find a Nutrition Professional. Tell her what kind of surgery you had, how much weight you’ve gained during pregnancy so far, and your nutritional likes or dislikes. She may recommend that you eat several small meals throughout the day, which improves nutrient absorption.

You should also have your provider check your vitamin levels regularly. She may suggest that you take additional vitamin supplements.

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