Hypertensive disorders during pregnancy are a common cause of pregnancy problems and infant death. About 7 percent of all pregnancies in the United States are affected by the problem. Obesity, especially morbid obesity, is a risk factor for hypertensive disorders in expectant mothers. These include serious conditions such as pre-eclampsia, where abnormally high blood pressure and other problems occur during pregnancy.
For women with a body mass index of 40 or more, bariatric surgery is an effective weight loss solution. However, the impact of surgery on hypertensive disorders during pregnancy was unclear.
To understand the topic more thoroughly, researchers from Johns Hopkins University set out to test their ideas. Using insurance data from 2002 to 2006, they identified 585 obese women aged 16 to 45 years who had undergone bariatric surgery. These women also had at least one pregnancy and delivery. Of these women, 269 had surgery prior to delivery and 316 had surgery following delivery.
The research findings suggested that women who delivered after surgery had greatly lower rates of hypertensive disorders compared with women who delivered before surgery. The authors believe that these results have important implications for the realms of public health and clinical policy. One example is that bariatric surgery could be considered for women of childbearing age who decide to have a family and have a BMI of 40 or greater.
The authors conclude that future research should also concentrate on long term maternal and child health after pregnancies and deliveries following bariatric surgery. Specialists should focus on monitoring weight, nutritional status and, and the burden of long term chronic disease.