Bariatric Surgery Helps Avoid Pregnancy Complications

Posted by Admin on September 19, 2011
Women who have undergone dramatic weight loss following bariatric surgery have faced fewer pregnancy and delivery issues and fewer newborn complications when compared to obese mothers. The investigation analyzed data from 75 clinical studies and found that pregnant women who had undergone weight-loss surgery had far fewer complications than obese women.

In particular, 0 percent of weight-loss women encountered gestational diabetes, compared to 22.1 percent of obese women. Additionally, 0 percent of weight-loss women had pre-eclampsia (pregnancy-induced high blood pressure), compared to 31 percent of obese women. Women with bariatric surgery gained less weight than the obese group.

Among the bariatric surgery women, newborn babies fared better than those of obese mothers. Weight-loss surgery mothers experienced premature deliver 7.7 percent of the time, while obese women encountered the problem 17.1 percent of the time. Newborn babies also faced low birth weight 7.7 percent of the time with bariatric surgery mothers, and obese mothers’ babies faced this issue 10.6 percent of the time. The birth defect that causes an overly large body (macrosomia) appeared in 7.7 percent of newborns with the weight loss group, while the other group displayed it 14.6 percent of the time.

The authors add that additional research is needed to determine the extent to which surgery and weight loss improves fertility and pregnancy outcomes. To achieve maximum success for contraception and producing healthy newborns following surgery, there needs to be a collaborative effort by surgeons, primary care doctors, reproductive fertility specialists, obstetricians, and patients.

The data from the 75 studies indicates that the number of weight-loss surgeries has ballooned by about 800 percent between the years of 1998 and 2005 (from 12,500 to 113,500) in the U.S. Eighty three percent of those operations were performed on women aged 18 to 45 years.

Additional research from scientists at McMaster University finds that overweight and obese women face a number of preterm birth risks. Their babies have a heightened risk of suffering from serious health problems that result from being born prematurely, especially earlier than 32 weeks.

Lead author of McMaster University study, Dr. Sarah McDonald led a meta-analysis of 84 studies comparing overweight and obese women to normal women. The analysis discovered that overweight or obese women face a 30 percent greater risk of induced preterm birth before 37 weeks and that the risk jumps to a frightening 70 percent for very obese women. (A full term pregnancy is 40 weeks). Overweight or obese women also had an increased risk of encountering early preterm birth- before 32 or 33 weeks, with the greatest risks again being found in the heaviest women.
McDonald adds that preterm birth and low birth weight are the highest predictors of neonatal morbidity and mortality or illness faced through childhood. She says that the popular view that pregnant women are eating for two is simply not true. Women should only add about 300 calories a day – the equivalent of a large glass of milk and a piece of fruit, in the latter half of their pregnancy.

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