Bariatric Surgery helps local woman make healthy lifestyle changes to prepare for motherhood 

Press release from Piedmont Walton

Photo credit: Piedmont Walton

Monroe, Ga. (Jan. 30, 2020) – Twenty-four-year-old Amanda Pannell has always known she wanted to be a mother. When she and her husband began planning for a family, however, they began to run into challenges, particularly with Pannell’s weight and how that might affect a pregnancy. She’s since made significant lifestyle changes that have helped her prepare for motherhood thanks to Piedmont Walton Hospital’s Metabolic and Bariatric Center.

Pannell and her husband Lucas Pannell have been together since high school. When they decided they were ready to begin having kids, Amanda Pannell could hardly wait.

In 2018, she learned that she was pregnant with twins and was thrilled about this next journey. However, things took a turn for the worse as she got further along in her pregnancy.

“We were 16-weeks pregnant. When we went to the doctor’s office for just a regular check in, we found out the twins didn’t have heartbeats anymore,” Pannell said. “We were devastated.”

At the time, Pannell weighed 315, and because of her weight, she’d already been experiencing issues with infertility, but she’d thought things had improved with the help of fertility medications.

“After we lost the twins, we began seeing several specialists, and they were all telling me the same thing,” Pannell said. “They said that I needed to lose at least 100 pounds in order to have a healthy pregnancy and that my weight put me at high risk for having miscarriages as well as other pregnancy complications.”

That’s when Pannell knew she needed to make a change.

After trying many different diets, Pannell visited Piedmont Walton’s Metabolic and Bariatric Center. With recommendations from Donald Maynard, M.D., bariatric surgeon at Piedmont Walton, Pannell decided weight loss surgery was the next step.

“Oftentimes it can seem like there is no solution in sight for weight loss — no diet plan, no exercise regimen, nothing that can help get the weight off and keep it off,” Dr. Maynard said. “This is where Mrs. Pannell had found herself. She would lose weight and gain it right back. We recommended bariatric surgery as the best solution for long-term success.”

According to Dr. Maynard, bariatric surgery is the general term for several types of weight loss surgeries that involve reducing the size of the stomach or re-routing the small intestines to decrease the stomach’s ability to take in food. No matter the procedure, the net effects are similar – the number of calories the body can absorb is limited and patients can drop the weight that is threatening their health.

“When I made the decision to have the surgery and start this new journey, Dr. Maynard and his team made it very clear that it was going to be a huge commitment,” Pannell said. “They helped me prepare for everything, and it turned out that the surgery was almost the easy part. I had to make a lot of significant lifestyle changes”

According to Dr. Maynard, Piedmont Walton’s Metabolic and Bariatric Center takes a team approach to weight loss.

In addition to the surgery, Pannell also began working with the team’s registered dietitian and bariatric program coordinator to learn about the best ways to manage her new way of life after surgery.

She started exercising regularly and also began working with a physical therapist from Piedmont Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy to ensure she was making the right decisions for her body when it came to movements and exercise.

Photo credit: Piedmont Walton

It’s now been more than three months since Pannell had bariatric surgery completed, and she’s seen amazing success already losing more than 50 pounds.

“I could never again go through what I did when I lost our twins, and I wanted to do everything I could to make sure I was healthy enough to carry a child,” Pannell said. “This surgery has completely changed my way of life for the better. Dr. Maynard and his bariatric team have treated me like family. I’m so thankful for them and proud of the progress and changes I’ve made to better myself.”

Piedmont Walton’s Metabolic and Bariatric Center, which provides diabetes education and surgical and non-surgical weight management opportunities close to home for people in the Walton County region, recently achieved national accreditation from the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program, a joint program of theAmerican College of Surgeons (ACS) and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS).

For more information and Piedmont Walton’s Metabolic and Bariatric Center or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Maynard, visit


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