Study: Obesity surgery reduces pregnancy risks

The human and financial toll of obesity is particularly large during pregnancy when it increases the risk of birth defects, gestational diabetes and other conditions that endanger both the mother and her child.

According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, obesity surgery could reduce those risks for the women and their offspring. In a study published online in the British medical journal, the researchers reported that women who had obesity surgery before delivering their babies were significantly less likely to have problems associated with high blood pressure.

The study examined the records of 585 women who had undergone bariatric surgery — 269 after delivering and 316 before having their babies. The women who delivered before the surgery had higher rates of preexisting diabetes and gestational diabetes. They also had substantially higher rates of chronic and gestational hypertension.

“In this retrospective analysis… bariatric surgery was associated with lower rates of hypertensive disorders in subsequent pregnancy,” the researchers concluded.