Weight Loss Surgery Before Pregnancy Reduces Risks

Weight loss surgery prior to pregnancy can dramatically reduce the risk of hypertensive disorder and other serious health conditions for obese women.

More pregnant women than ever are either overweight or obese, causing them to be at risk for a slew of health conditions. A new study published in the British Medical Journal found that health problems like blood clots, hypertensive disorder, and preeclampsia can be reduced through weight loss surgery prior to conception.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine reviewed the medical records of 585 women of childbearing age who had bariatric surgery either before delivering a child or after. In the study, 316 women had weight loss surgery before getting pregnant, while 269 of the women gave birth before undergoing a bariatric procedure.

According to the results, women who delivered after bariatric surgery had a 75 percent lower risk of hypertensive disorder in pregnancy than women who had a delivery before surgery. Hypertensive disorders can cause complications during and after pregnancy, and increase the chance of infant mortality.

Women who had weight loss surgery prior to becoming pregnant also had a 74 percent reduction in the risk of gestational diabetes and 61 percent decrease in the risk of chronic hypertension, according to the study, which was published online on April 14.

More studies are needed to determine the long-term health outcomes of mothers and their children following the mother’s weight loss surgery, but researchers hope to promote an open dialogue between overweight women who are trying to conceive and their doctors.

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