Breastfeeding After Gastric Sleeve

What are the Complications?

For women who suffer from obesity, thinking about pregnancy is a delicate topic. Pregnancy can become challenging if one is dealing with extreme excess weight. Complications include increased health risks and the very real possibility of not being able to become pregnant at all.

Since managing excess weight when thinking about a new baby is so important, different bariatric surgery options are becoming increasingly popular as a way to help thousands of women become healthier before, during and after pregnancy.

Gastric Sleeve and Pregnancy

Obesity is a disease that impacts your overall health in more than one way. Obese patients have a higher risk of diabetes, certain types of cancer, hypertension and heart disease. Since obesity can even affect hormones, it can cause irregular cycles, infertility and a higher risk of miscarriage.

Yes, obese patients can successfully get pregnant, however, this creates a predisposition to develop pregnancy-associated conditions such as gestational diabetes and gestational hypertension.

When ‘old fashioned’ approaches such as diet and exercise don’t seem to work, weight loss surgery, such as the minimally invasive gastric sleeve, can be the answer to help you lose excess weight and have a safer pregnancy.

Naturally, there are a lot of questions regarding the pros and cons of a gastric sleeve, how it might affect or benefit a mother’s 9 months of carrying her baby, breastfeeding and other important factors to consider. The reality is that with proper medical care and following timing and nutrition guidelines set by your doctor, a healthy baby after the gastric sleeve is the most likely possible.

Breastfeeding after Gastric Sleeve

Can you have a healthy baby after gastric sleeve surgery?

The short answer is YES. In order to ensure you’re getting pregnant when it’s safe, our bariatric surgeons recommend waiting at least 18 months or when you have reached a healthy and stable weight. The benefits of waiting include getting to know your new body, how to follow a healthy diet and even a more regular cycle, once excess weight is gone.

How is carrying a baby after gastric sleeve different?

Carrying a baby after gastric sleeve requires extra medical care and support. During this procedure, your doctor will remove a considerable portion of your stomach, which will restrict the amount of food you can consume. Different from other bariatric procedures, gastric sleeve surgery doesn’t prevent the body from absorbing nutrients, just the amount of food you can ingest. However, having such a small stomach means you still have to re-learn how to feed your body properly. This is particularly important for baby: knowing how, when, and what to eat in order to be healthy and nurtured.

Gastric sleeve and pregnancy complications: myths and facts.

Myth: Gastric Sleeve surgery will make my pregnancy riskier.

Fact: Gastric sleeve surgery and pregnancy complications are not directly related, as long as you follow your physician’s advice. The normal risks of any pregnancy do not become more intense because of gastric sleeve surgery. On the contrary, gastric sleeve surgery has the potential of decreasing pregnancy complications.

A healthy weight means a healthy pregnancy, so the most dangerous risks of pregnancy such as development problems or miscarriage are considerably decreased after a gastric sleeve surgery.

 

Myth: I will regain all the weight I lost after gastric sleeve surgery during pregnancy.

Fact: This could not be further from the truth. A huge benefit of having a gastric sleeve and losing up to 80% of one’s weight following the surgery, is learning how to eat balanced and healthy meals. Most post-bariatric patients gain new knowledge regarding their own nutrition, which will only benefit their pregnancy.

When following a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle, a key component of a successful gastric sleeve recovery, you are more likely to only gain a normal and healthy amount of weight during pregnancy.

 

Myth: My post-gastric sleeve diet won’t have enough nutrients for the baby.

Fact: It’s normal for post-bariatric patients to feel like they’re eating too little. While a gastric sleeve will restrict how much food you can eat, it doesn’t restrict how your body absorbs nutrients.

You will learn that eating small portions of healthy, whole foods throughout the day makes you feel satisfied. If you follow a balanced diet and ask your doctor for guidance, your baby will have all of the nutrients needed to develop properly.

 

Myth: I won’t be able to breastfeed after gastric sleeve surgery.

Fact: As long as you are following a proper nutrition plan, you should be able to breastfeed with no problems. Breastfeeding moms do need to eat more frequently, but following the post-bariatric diet principles of healthy and balanced,  you will ingest the necessary nutrients to breastfeed a healthy baby.

It’s normal for future moms to have millions of questions. If you are considering gastric sleeve surgery before becoming pregnant or after pregnancy, don’t wait any longer and contact our experienced VIDA bariatric surgeons. Call us today at 1 (619) 610-1667 so we can solve all of your pregnancy after weight loss surgery related questions.

DR. GABRIELA RODRIGUEZ RUIZ MD Ph.D. FACS

Dr. Gabriela Rodriguez specializes in General and Laparoscopic Bariatric Surgery. She brings to VIDA Wellness and Beauty a wealth of experience in bariatrics. Dr. Rodriguez is a founding associate of the Mexican College of General Surgeons. A world-class bariatric surgeon with double certification in the US and Mexico.