Seven facts about pregnancy after weight-loss surgery

6. You may face a body-image battle

One of the biggest emotional effects of pregnancy for post-surgery women, says Phelan, arises from body image. Not only does a woman have to get used to the idea that her belly will grow again, but she may also have some scars from the surgery that don’t stretch very well as she grows.

“Psychologically, a lot of women who’ve had surgery to lose weight have a very hard time accepting that they have to gain weight,” says Phelan. “They have to get comfortable with the fact that ‘Yes, now is the time to gain weight.’ Another emotional part of pregnancy is that it’s stressful and people tend to eat when they’re stressed.”

So women run the risk of going to extremes — either dieting while pregnant, which can have serious nutritional consequences for the baby, or gaining back some of the weight they lost because they’re eating more food. There’s also the problem of food pushers, Phelan notes. These are the people who, seeing you’re pregnant, say, “Go ahead, have another slice of cake!”

Kimberly Jensen says she did worry about gaining weight during her pregnancy. “Everyone told me not to worry about weight gain,” she says. “But that was my biggest fear, gaining weight. It’s tricky because you can be dieting even though you don’t think you’re dieting. The key is to think about the baby before you eat, so you’re thinking about what’s best for him.”

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