A study about the possible risks and complications during pregnancy and delivery after a bariatric surgery conducted at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden has concluded that it could have both positive and negative effects. While the women who lost weight significantly as a result of this surgery were seen to be significantly less prone to diabetes during pregnancy, they were twice as likely to deliver smaller-than-normal infants.


The study was conducted as the number of bariatric operations carried out in Sweden went up to 8,000 last year, an astoundingly huge 80 percent of which were carried out on women. There has also been a sharp rise in the number of women becoming pregnant after bariatric surgery.


“The number of women who are obese in early pregnancy has increased dramatically over the last decades,” said study author Kari Johansson, a postdoctoral researcher and nutritionist at Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. “Consequently, there has been a dramatic rise in the number of women becoming pregnant after bariatric surgery,” she added.

“The positive effects of bariatric surgery on health outcomes — such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease — are reasonably well-studied, but less is known about the effects on pregnancy and [post-delivery] outcomes,” Johansson pointed out.

The study was published online Feb. 26 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

According to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, almost 179,000 obese people underwent weight-loss surgery in the United States in 2013 to get rid of their obesity, which has been a major health concern in the United States. Anyone with a body mass index (BMI, a height-weight calculation) of 30 or higher is considered to be obese.

Some among the fraternity are not however pleased with the findings and say they represent only a very small view.

“I don’t think pregnancy should be the thing that tips the scale,” said Caughey. “I don’t think the evidence from this study is enough to say now that you should absolutely get this surgery so you have a better pregnancy outcome,” wrote Caughey, in an editorial accompanying the new research.

Caughey suggests women going in for bariatric surgery to get rid of their excess baggage to base their decision regarding the same based on the long-term health benefits of the procedure and not on potential pregnancy-related benefits.

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