Swedish researchers found that women who underwent weight loss surgery before becoming pregnant displayed important health improvements, but the drawbacks of the procedure may outweigh the benefits.
Researchers found that bariatric surgery may reduce some obesity-related pregnancy risks, but it may also increase the risk of developing other problems in both women and their babies.
Among the health benefits surgery brought to pregnant women, Swedish scientists mentioned a lowered risk of developing diabetes during pregnancy and fewer chances of giving birth to “overly large babies”.
But the shortcomings were not insignificant – women who had the weight loss surgery were more likely to experience shorter pregnancies and give birth to smaller-than-normal infants. Also, the study revealed a link between bariatric surgery and a higher risk of losing the baby shortly after birth, or within the uterus.
“[Weight loss surgery] has both positive and negative influences on the risk of complications during a subsequent pregnancy,”
explained Kari Johansson, lead author of the study and researcher at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden.
Nevertheless, scientists cautioned that their study had only revealed a link between bariatric surgery and pregnancy risk or benefits, rather than a cause-and-effect relationship.
Past research had showed that overweight or obese women who decide to deliver a baby are more likely to be affected by pregnancy complications, but very few studies were conducted on the pregnancy complications bariatric surgery may involve.
During their study, researchers analyzed data on almost 3,000 pregnancies recorded in Sweden between 2006 and 2011, including nearly 600 women who underwent bariatric surgery up to five years before their pregnancy. The rest of women did not opt for surgery, but they were overweight or obese during their pregnancy.
According to the study results, both groups had a similar risk of entering labor early and incidence of birth defects. However, there were consistent differences between the groups in the risk of developing diabetes during pregnancy – seven percent of pregnant women who hadn’t had the surgery developed diabetes, as compared to only 2 percent of those who had undergone the procedure.
Moreover, only 9 percent of women who had the procedure gave birth to overly large infants, as compared to nearly 22 percent of those who hadn’t.
Still, researchers found that 2 percent of women in the surgery group lost their babies through stillbirth or other complications, compared to only 1 percent of women who didn’t have weight loss surgery.
All in all, the authors of the study said that, although they are aware of the benefits a healthy weight may add to a pregnancy, they still recommend that wanna-be-moms talk to their doctors and follow their advice before opting for surgery.
Image Source: RT