Weight-loss surgery lowers risk of pregnancy complications in obese women

April 14, 2010

Obese women who undergo bariatric surgery before having a baby have a much lower risk of developing serious health problems during pregnancy, finds a study published in the British Medical Journal today.

Obesity, especially extreme obesity, is a risk factor for hypertensive disorders in pregnancy. These include serious conditions such as pre-eclampsia, where abnormally and other disturbances develop during pregnancy. They are a common cause of and and affect about 7% of all pregnancies in the United States.

Bariatric surgery is an effective weight loss intervention for women with a (BMI) of 40 or more, or a BMI of 35-40 with associated conditions like diabetes. But little is known about the impact of surgery on hypertensive disorders in pregnancy.

So researchers from Johns Hopkins University in the United States set out to test the theory that women who had a delivery after bariatric surgery would have lower rates of hypertensive disorders in pregnancy compared with women who had a delivery before surgery.

Using insurance data from 2002-2006, they identified 585 aged 16-45 years who had undergone bariatric surgery, had at least one pregnancy and delivery, and had continuous medical insurance coverage during pregnancy plus two weeks after delivery.

Of these women, 269 had surgery before delivery and 316 had surgery after delivery.

Compared with women who delivered before surgery, women who delivered after surgery had substantially lower rates (75%) of hypertensive disorders, even after adjusting for factors such as age at delivery, multiple pregnancy, surgical procedure, pre-existing diabetes, and insurance plan.

These results have important clinical, public health, and policy implications, say the authors. For example, bariatric surgery could be considered in women of childbearing age who wish to start a family, and have a BMI of 40 or more, or a BMI of 35-40 with associated conditions.

Future research should also address long term maternal and child health after pregnancies and deliveries following bariatric surgery in terms of weight management, nutritional status, and burden of long term chronic disease, they conclude.

Explore further: Weight loss surgery may help obese women avoid pregnancy-related health complications

Related Stories

Study Puts Bariatric Surgery for Type 2 Diabetes to the Test

December 29, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- A multi-disciplinary team of Penn researchers, including diabetes, weight loss and bariatric surgery experts, are conducting a study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to determine if bariatric ...

Recommended for you

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...

Quantum Theory May Explain Wishful Thinking

April 14, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Humans don’t always make the most rational decisions. As studies have shown, even when logic and reasoning point in one direction, sometimes we chose the opposite route, motivated by personal bias or simply ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.