Study Ties Weight-Loss Surgery to Higher Risk of Preemie Birth11/13/13
WEDNESDAY, Nov. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Babies born to women
who've had weight-loss surgery are more likely to be premature and
to have low birth weights, a new study found.
These pregnancies should be considered at-risk and require
careful monitoring by doctors, said the researchers at the
Karolinska Institute, in Sweden.
The investigators compared more than 2,500 babies born between
1992 and 2009 to women who'd had weight-loss surgery with a
comparison group of 12,500 babies born to women who had not had
this type of procedure, known as "bariatric" surgery.
The analysis revealed that 5.2 percent of infants born to women
who'd had weight-loss surgery were small for gestational age and
4.2 percent were large for gestational age. This compared to 3
percent and 7.3 percent, respectively, of those infants whose
mothers had not had the surgery.
The researchers also found that 9.7 percent of the infants born
to mothers who'd had weight-loss surgery arrived prematurely
(before 37 weeks), compared with 6.1 percent of other infants.
No differences were seen between the two groups in rates of
stillbirth or death within the first 27 days after birth, according
to the study published online Nov. 12 in the journal
Although the study found an association between women having
weight-loss surgery and higher risk of pregnancy with prematurity
or lower birth weight, it did not establish a cause-and-effect
"The mechanism behind how [weight-loss] surgery influences fetal growth we don't yet know, but we do know that people who have bariatric surgery are at increased risk of micronutrient deficiencies," Dr. Olof Stephansson, an obstetrician and associate professor at the clinical epidemiology unit at Karolinska, said in an institute news release.
The researchers noted that an increasing number of people are
having weight-loss surgery and said that the pregnancies of women
who've had the surgery should be considered at-risk and require
particularly close attention. For example, they should have extra
ultrasounds to check fetal growth or be given special dietary
But the study authors also pointed out that weight-loss surgery
has numerous benefits for mothers, such as reducing the risk of
diabetes, heart disease, cancer and stroke. In addition, obesity is
a known risk factor for both mother and baby during pregnancy and
The March of Dimes has more about
pregnancy after weight-loss surgery.
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