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Weight Loss Surgery Helps Obese Women Have Healthier Babies


An article appeared in the New York Time on how weight loss surgery can help obese women have healthier babies online on November 19, 2008.

This review looked at 75 studies and found that pregnant women who lose weight after bariatric surgery may have lower rates of complications like gestational diabetes and preeclampsia and do almost as well as non-obese women. Their babies are also healthier and may be less likely to be born prematurely or to be very small, the authors found.

“Intuitively, it makes sense to me that the maternal outcomes are better after bariatric surgery — they lose weight and approach the outcomes of normal women,? said Dr. Melinda A. Maggard, a general surgeon at the University of California, Los Angeles, and an author of the study. “To me that wasn’t a surprise.?

About one-third of American women are obese, and doctors usually encourage them to lose weight before becoming pregnant. Obese women are at greater risk for developing pregnancy-related health problems; their babies are more likely to be born prematurely, stillborn, to be very large or to have a neural tube defect.

Dr. Laura Riley, medical director of labor and delivery at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, said it’s important for patients to know about these risks. “I often see women who come in who are morbidly obese, and they say they’ll try to lose 10 or 15 pounds. That’s nice, but the majority don’t lose the weight and just come back pregnant,? she said. “With this kind of data, it’s easier to say, ‘You are better off having bariatric surgery and losing 100 pounds and then getting pregnant.’?

The most serious complications during pregnancy following weight loss surgery were bowel obstructions, mostly internal hernias, which were rare but serious. The researchers identified 20 reports of complications requiring surgery, including instances in which three mothers and five neonates died. These complications can occur to anyone who has undergone bariatric surgery, Dr. Maggard noted.

While it makes sense to have women become healthier before giving birth to a child, I would be concerned about the nutritional effects of weight-loss surgery. Most of all I would be worried the child wouldn't be getting an adequte amount of vitamins and minerals on a restricted portion/calorie eating regimen. All in all though- while I think research like this is important- I think it is something previous literature has already told us.



How about healthy eating and exercise instead of surgery

"The researchers identified 20 reports of complications requiring surgery, including instances in which three mothers and five neonates died."

Out of how many people, I wonder? These complications are severe, but it would be interesting to know how great the risk is in numbers.

Do you have the link to the study?

About 1/3 of American women are obese. This is very alarming and requires a call to action. I have noticed this too being a male. I think it is starting pre-college. The fact that society accepts and thinks it is OK for people to be obese & overweight is the issue. Plus all the sedentary things young kids do makes it worse. The fast food industry is cleaning up their act. no it is time for the public to do their part. it would be interesting to see the 1.3 narrowed down by ethnicity and city.