- The optimal time between bariatric surgery and conception of a child has not been determined by the authors.
- It is recommended that women who want to have a child wait at least two years after surgery, regardless of the type of surgery they have had.
At least 12 months before trying to have a baby and thus about two years before it is born… These are the times researchers recommend for women who have had bariatric surgery. According to them, disrespecting them would expose mothers-to-be and their babies to complications and even long-term health problems. Their work was presented on European Obesity Congresswhich took place in Maastricht, the Netherlands.
Many women undergo bariatric surgery
Bariatric surgery, also known as obesity surgery, is a procedure that aims to make the obese person lose weight. This can only be considered if the person has been trying to lose weight for several months, with specialized medical care, but has never been successful. This type of intervention is increasingly used in France. In 1997 there were 2,800 bariatric surgeries, while in 2016 there were 59,300 according to the Directorate of Research, Studies, Evaluation and Statistics† This operation is also becoming increasingly common among women: more than 80% of the operated patients are women. And often they are of childbearing age.
Risks of preeclampsia and gestational diabetes for mothers
According to the researchers, having a child without waiting at least two years exposes women to two main risks: preeclampsia and gestational diabetes. Preeclampsia is a complication that occurs during the last trimester of pregnancy and is manifested by high blood pressure and strong albuminuria, a kidney problem. Finding these symptoms in a pregnant woman requires hospitalization and initiation of antihypertensive treatment.
And from birth with insufficient weight and height
Gestational diabetes — or gestational diabetes — is an increase in blood sugar (ie, the amount of sugar in the blood) that occurs when a woman is pregnant and resolves after childbirth. However, it can be dangerous for the mother and fetus. The expectant mother may therefore suffer from high blood pressure or develop preeclampsia.† She is also more likely to have a cesarean section or premature birth. The fetus may also be immature. For babies, the biggest risk is that they are very underweight and short in stature, which can expose them to various health problems.
5 times more likely to have a small baby
To achieve this result, the researchers studied the cases of 48 pregnancies after bariatric surgery. The women were, on average, 34.3 years old and had a body mass index of 30.9, which is considered moderately obese. Among them, 14.6% of babies conceived less than 12 months after bariatric surgery, 14.6% 12 to 24 months later and 70.8% more than 24 months. Result: The mean weight at birth was 2980 grams and 26.3% of the babies were small. For example, they concluded that women who had children less than two years after their surgery were 15 times more likely to have a small baby than women who waited longer to conceive.
Nutritional deficiencies harm the baby
†The interval between bariatric surgery and conception has a significant impact on birth weight, with shorter intervals associated with a higher risk of having a baby with a very low birth weightTo explain Bárbara Araújo, one of the authors. This is likely due to the rapid weight loss that occurs after bariatric surgery, making it more difficult for pregnant women to gain adequate weight during pregnancy. Rapid weight loss can also lead to nutritional deficiencies that can harm the baby”†