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Women Who Undergo Weight Loss Surgery Should Wait Before Getting Pregnant

Update Date: Jan 13, 2013 03:46 AM EST

A new study suggests that women who go under the knife for weight loss should wait a minimum of 12 months before trying for a baby. The study also suggests that they also need further advice and information on reproductive issues.

The study looks in to details of safety, advantages and limitations of bariatric surgery and multidisciplinary management of patients before, during and after pregnancy, Medical Xpress reports.

There are an increasing number of women going in for bariatric surgery, and obesity is known to raise the risk of obstetric complications. However, the study suggests that a pregnancy following a bariatric surgery is still safer than pregnancy in morbidly obese women.

Although previous research has shown that pregnancies after weight loss surgery are a safe option, with 79.2 percent of participants showing no complications during their pregnancy, there can still be surgical complications during pregnancy following bariatric surgery.

A study conducted earlier has shown complications like band slippage and migration resulting in severe vomiting, and also, band leakage was reported. Apart from that, current evidence suggests that patients should not get pregnant for at least 12 months following bariatric surgery.

There are also reports of higher spontaneous miscarriage rate among pregnancies occurring within 18 months of having weight loss surgery compared with those pregnancies occurring more than 18 months after surgery, the report in Medical Xpress said.

In their study, the authors also suggest that women who get pregnant after weight loss surgeries must receive advice and information about contraception, nutrition and weight gain, and vitamin supplementation, among other topics.

"An increasing number of women of child-bearing age are undergoing bariatric surgery procedures and need information and guidance regarding reproductive issues. In light of current evidence available, pregnancy after bariatric surgery is safer, with fewer complications, than pregnancy in morbidly obese women. Multidisciplinary input care is the key to a healthy pregnancy for women who have undergone bariatric surgery. However, this group of women should still be considered high risk by both obstetricians and surgeons," Rahat Khan, consultant obstetrician and gynecologist, Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust, Harlow, and co-author of the study, said.

"Increasingly, obstetricians, surgeons and primary care clinicians will be required to address questions posed by their patients regarding the safety of pregnancy after weight loss surgery."

"Pregnancy after bariatric surgery is safer than pregnancy in morbidly obese women. Women who have had bariatric surgery generally tolerate pregnancy well. However, there are risks involved and patients must be well informed. Optimal education should be encouraged in these individuals so that they can make well informed decisions about planning pregnancy after their surgery," TOG's editor-in-chief, Jason Waugh said, according to the report.

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