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Weight Loss Surgery, Then Twins!

By Rhonda Mann
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Staff

Leslie Lydon worked hard to loose 100 pounds over a two year period. She had undergone successful weight loss surgery at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and as a result, had to dramatically change her eating habits.

But in the spring of 2009, Lydon started gaining weight again. This time, though, she couldn't have been happier. Leslie was pregnant - with twins.

"I went for my regular ultrasound and I saw the tech's face go blank," says Lydon, who immediately became worried that the news might not be good. "Then she said it -- 'There isn't just one heartbeat, there is two.' I couldn't believe it!"

Becoming pregnant after having gastric bypass or gastric band surgery is becoming more common as the number of weight loss surgery procedures increases. In fact, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) in June of 2009 released its first set of recommendations on management of pregnancy after bariatric surgery. They include urging women to wait 12-24 months after surgery before conceiving, careful monitoring of nutrients throughout the pregnancy, and documentation of counseling for women on the topics of weight gain and proper diet during pregnancy.

"Pregnancy after weight loss surgery is safe for most women," says Dr. Ben Schneider, a surgeon with the bariatric program at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. "Having proper nutrition is always important and patients need to be compliant with vitamin supplements."

In fact, pregnancy in many cases is even safer after weight loss. ACOG writes that women who have had bariatric surgery have a reduced risk of "hypertension, pregestational diabetes and preeclampsia." Fertility also increases after weight loss surgery.

Lydon and her husband, Sean, desperately wanted to add to their family, giving Jillian, 11, and Joshua, 5, another sibling. She had the lap-band procedure in February of 2007-after her mother, father and sister all had it done with success (watch her story - read her diary, click here). The band limits the size of the stomach, forcing the patient to eat only small amounts at a time.

The procedure worked and after taking off as much as 100 pounds, Lydon did become pregnant. However, in September of 2008, she had a miscarriage. Her band slipped and she had to have a repeat weight loss procedure the following month.

"It was a difficult time," says Lydon. "But I knew that I had to get the band redone and get back on track with the weight." Once physically recovered, she and Sean decided to try to get pregnant again.

While having two babies growing inside her was a surprise, twins do run in the family. Her husband is a twin as are Lydon's uncle and aunt. Unlike a typical pregnancy, though, the success of this tiny duo was dependant upon Leslie being extra careful with her food choices.

"When I'd go to a restaurant, I had to make sure I'd eat the protein first, then the milk," she says. "Since I can only take in so much, I had to make sure the babies were getting what they needed."

The twins were born August 25, 2009 at 33 weeks. Evan John weighed 4 lbs. 3oz. and Katie Anne was even smaller, weighing 3 lbs. 14oz. Because of their size, they were hospitalized for three weeks. They are now home, in good health.

"Katie is ahead mentally. She talks, smiles," says Lydon with that new mother glow. "The little guy is a loveable brute. He's holding his head up. He's so much fun."

Lydon says she put on about 30 pounds with the pregnancy. While the experience has left her exhausted, she is ready to work toward a goal -- one that's not unlike any other woman who has gone through childbirth.

"I am going to get back into my pre-pregnancy clothes," she says. "I've already done so much already these past few years. I feel like I can do anything."

Above content provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.

Posted December 2009

Contact Information

Weight Loss Surgery Center
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Shapiro Clinical Center, 3rd Floor
330 Brookline Avenue
Boston, MA 02215