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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

WLS and Pregnancy

Now that the cat is out of the bag, so to speak, about my pregnancy, I find myself hammered with random questions. There are the normal ones: When are you due? When do you find out what you’re having? How are you feeling? Etc.

And then there are the ones that remind me that I’m not normal – at least not in the eyes of others: Can you do that? What has your doctor said? Will you be able to eat enough to nurture your baby? Are you high risk?

I hate feeling like an alien, but sometimes, I think the rest of the world views me as one. Being an expectant mom is stressful enough. Especially as a first-time mom, there are a million things to consider: Medicated or natural? Hospital or home? Breast or formula? Cloth or disposable? Organic or not? Vaccinate or don’t? Co-sleeper or crib? To wear or not to wear?

And let’s not forget all the people out there who feel the need to recount labor horror stories with every pregnant woman they lay eyes on. I think there should be a special place in hell for those people.

As intrusive as they may seem at first, the questions regarding how WLS will affect my pregnancy are fair ones. It’s common knowledge that surgical weight loss affects your insides. What seems to be no-so commonly known is how your uterus is/is not affected by your intestines.

The most common questions I hear are related to my vitamin levels and eating habits. People still think you need to eat for two when you’re pregnant. Not true. You need some extra calories (300 per day to be exact), but the baby will get what it needs – if not from what you eat, then from what you have stored up. All nutrients play a role in growing a healthy baby. Folic acid is key for brain development. Iron ensures healthy blood flow. Protein builds tissue. Carbohydrates offer energy.

I know WLS patients can have healthy babies. I’ve seen it firsthand. But I also know you can have healthy babies while compromising your own health. I don’t want to be Carnie Wilson and gain 75 pounds, but I also don’t want to be so obsessed over the scale that I harm myself either.

So far, I have really enjoyed the experience of being pregnant. I was nauseated and fatigued early on, but that has subsided. I devote a lot of energy on nutrition (more on that later) and try not to devote too much time to second-guessing myself. I figure there are plenty of people out there willing to do that on my behalf.