Infants Born Soon After Mother’s Bariatric Surgery Face Increased Risks
Written by Editor   
Thursday, January 19, 2017 02:11 PM

News Bite: Infants of mothers who had bariatric surgery less than two years prior to delivery were at greater risk for prematurity, NICU admission, and small size for gestational age.

Infants who were born less than two years after a mother’s bariatric surgery are at higher risk for prematurity, neonatal ICU (NICU) admission, and small size for gestational age compared with women who had not undergone bariatric surgery or those who waited longer between bariatric surgery and childbirth.

This study underscores the higher-risk status of this population and may indicate that a recently postoperative mother with underlying nutritional, metabolic and physiological changes is at an elevated risk for perinatal complications.

Because bariatric operations can result in nutritional deficiencies in women who undergo these procedures, there are concerns that surgery may adversely influence fetal development and infant outcomes, including NICU admissions and congenital malformations, which are likely to be affected by maternal metabolic and nutritional derangements.

The results appear to support the recommendation of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists that women avoid pregnancy for a minimum of two years after a bariatric operation, a recommendation based on expert opinion rather than robust evidence.

Although there is enough evidence to establish a link between bariatric surgery and perinatal complications, the cause or causes behind this association are unclear. 

More than 80% of patients who have bariatric surgery are women, and the average age of women undergoing these procedures is around 42 years.