Weight-loss surgery cuts pregnancy risks in obese women

OBESE women who undergo weight-loss surgery before having a baby have a much lower risk of developing serious health problems during pregnancy.

Obesity – especially extreme obesity – is a risk factor for so-called hypertensive disorders in pregnancy.

These include serious conditions such as pre-eclampsia, where abnormally high blood pressure and other health issues develop during pregnancy.

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Research has found that bariatric surgery – such as having a gastric band fitted – is an effective weight-loss intervention for women with a body mass index of 40 or more, or one with a BMI of 35-40 with associated conditions such as diabetes.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University in the United States set out to test the theory that women who had a delivery after bariatric surgery would have lower rates of hypertensive disorders in pregnancy compared with women who had a delivery before surgery.

Compared with women who delivered before surgery, women who delivered after surgery had substantially lower rates (75 per cent) of hypertensive disorders.

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