Does Metabolic Surgery Make Pregnancy Safer? 

Posted on: 19th Aug, 2022

Could a 45-minute procedure done today reduce the risks of pregnancy, labor, and delivery even years later? This is an important question researchers have examined with respect to weight loss surgery. Here’s what we know about whether metabolic surgery makes pregnancy safer.

Obesity and Pregnancy

Pregnancy is an exciting time — a time for celebration, preparing for life change, but also concern because there are health risks both for mom and baby.  For a mom with obesity, these risks are a lot higher and include a greater risk of issues like gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, preeclampsia, loss of pregnancy, and complications during labor and delivery. Metabolic surgery creates favorable change in the hormone profile for individuals that significantly reduces blood sugar, blood pressure, body weight and liver fat storage. In theory, a lot of these things should help make pregnancy and delivery safer.

And safer is exactly what is found in the research on pregnancy among women who have had metabolic surgery in the past, either recently or years ago. Compared to similar aged women with similar health and weight status, women who previously had undergone sleeve gastrectomy or gastric bypass had significantly lower rates of pregnancy-related complications including gestational diabetes and hypertension. Below is a table put together by medical student Rachel Rezaei summarizing the results from Balestrin’s 2019 published paper among pregnant females.

Bariatric surgery today has for many years been called weight-loss surgery and more recently is referred to as metabolic surgery because it acts by changing the metabolic hormones. By trimming off some of the outer part of the stomach with a sleeve procedure, the surgery lowers hormones associated with diabetes and obesity, and increases the hormones associated with better metabolism and organ health. Anemia may be increased, especially among women who had gastric bypass, so it is important to keep taking vitamin supplements that include iron.

We know from larger studies that stroke, heart attack, and diabetes risks are reduced in the general population by undergoing metabolic surgery, but these more recent studies show a specific benefit for women of childbearing age in reducing their risks of future pregnancy.

Questions? The team at Nevada Surgical is here to help. Contact us today, and let’s discuss your options.

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