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Episode 351


In today’s episode Megan shares her pregnancy and birth experience following gastric bypass surgery. Despite this she wasn’t deemed high risk but her obstetrician chose to do a few extra blood tests during pregnancy to ensure she was absorbing enough minerals. The major pregnancy concerns following weight loss surgery are low birth weight and early labour but Megan didn’t experience either of them. She admits that she was worried about whether her pregnant belly would show and how she would be treated as a bigger woman but despite a negative GP experience at 6 weeks, she had a smooth and enjoyable pregnancy.

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“In 2018 I had gastric bypass surgery. I’ve always been a big girl but I hit 180 kg and even though I was working closely with doctors and nutritionists the weight wasn’t shifting so that’s when surgery was suggested. It was scary but it hit me hard when they told me that I probably wouldn’t live till I was 30. I lost 77 kilos so I was 103 kg when I fell pregnant.

“My surgeon suggested a bypass and I agreed. My issue is that I get bored and I eat. For me it changed my life. My doctor suggested waiting 12-18 months till I healed and they wanted to make sure I was absorbing my multi-vitamins because my stomach is now so small, I need to take multivitamins to ensure I’m getting everything I need.

“I was six weeks pregnant when I found out. It was a happy surprise. I went to a GP who had great reviews and after a dating scan I went back to her and she said that because I was overweight I needed to do the Glucose Tolerance Test (GTT) straight away. I actually did the test but because of my gastric band I wasn’t supposed to. Unfortunately neither I nor the GP knew that. The risk is dumping syndrome; when the food gets dumped into your small intestine from your stomach and the symptoms are bloating, vomiting, diarrhoea and feeling faint. Twenty minutes after the drink I fainted. The GP called a few days later and my results were so abnormal that she diagnosed me with Gestational Diabetes (GD) but she refused to look further into it. It was a really horrific start.

“I chose to see a private obstetrician and she didn’t class me as high risk. She did run a few extra blood tests to check my mineral and vitamin levels but she never weighed me or asked about my weight.

“Being a bigger girl and having an anterior placenta, it took longer to feel kicks but apart from that I had a dream pregnancy. I had a birth plan but I knew that my plans would probably change. I got to 41+5 and I was against induction but my obstetrician advised it at that stage. I went into the hospital for the balloon catheter but that was when my obstetrician realised that my waters had broken. I went home that night and was bouncing on the ball and walking around but nothing happened so I went in at 7am the next morning for the medical induction. At 3pm they did a vaginal examination and I’d only dilated 1cm in six hours. They turned the induction up and that’s when the contractions just came one after another and I was so overwhelmed. I asked for the epidural then, I just knew I needed it, and I was shaking so much when the anaesthetist put it in.

“After about 40 minutes I told my obstetrician I could feel pain; the epidural wasn’t working and…it felt like an outer body experience. There was so much I wanted to say but I couldn’t say anything. It felt like my tailbone was on fire and I told the midwives I needed to get up but they wouldn’t let me because I’d had the epidural, even though it wasn’t working. My obstetrician came in and checked me and I was 10cm. I definitely felt the urge to push but I’d been holding on. It took 90 minutes to birth her and it was quite empowering to push her once I got in the right headspace. Brandon lifted her onto my chest and announced that it was a girl and I couldn’t believe it. For the first couple of seconds I was crying with relief that it was over. I only had a first degree tear which I had one stitch for and I stayed three nights in hospital but by that stage I was very ready to go home.

“With weight loss surgery there is a chance that you’ll have a smaller baby because you’re taking in less nutrients but I’ve joined a facebook group for women who had babies after surgery and they’re babies were average size although they did say that there’s a higher chance of early labour and my obstetrician did mention that in my pregnancy too.

“Breastfeeding was challenging; Alison wasn’t losing weight, she wasn’t underweight, she was always bright and alert but they continued to say that she wasn’t putting on enough weight according to the charts. I consulted with a lactation consultant and used a supply line for a while but in the end I chose to formula feed her.”

Topics Discussed

Breastfeeding, Epidural, gastric bypass surgery, GTT, Induction, One vaginal birth, Private obstetrician

Episode Sponsor

Today’s episode is brought to you by Who Gives A Crap

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