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J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2012 Sep;25(9):1537-43. doi: 10.3109/14767058.2012.663829. Epub 2012 Mar 16.

Pregnancy and foetal outcome after bariatric surgery: a review of recent studies.

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Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, Padova University, Padova, Italy.


It is well known that maternal obesity has adverse effects on the health of offspring, causing immediate and long-term morbidities. The various types of procedure coming under the heading of bariatric surgery have proved effective in preventing some maternal and foetal complications in morbidly obese pregnant women. This review aims to assess the role, the risks and the benefits of bariatric surgery for mothers and offspring. According to recent findings, pregnancy and neonatal outcomes in morbidly obese women who have undergone bariatric surgery depend to some extent on the type of surgery used. Maternal complications, nutritional defects and intestinal obstruction are more frequently reported after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) and biliopancreatic diversion (BPD) than after laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (LAGB) procedures, whereas caesarean section, preterm delivery and neonatal death are more commonly reported after RYGB than after LAGB. The authors of the only long-term follow-up study conducted on this subject reported that the rate of obesity in the children dropped by 52% after bariatric surgery for the mother, and the cases of severe obesity decreased by 45%. Data on pregnancy and bariatric surgery confirm that the procedure is more effective than dietary measures alone in morbidly obese women, and that pregnancy outcome is generally favorable after surgery. Some studies have indicated, nonetheless, that pregnancies after bariatric surgery are at higher risk: the women affected require special medical attention, particularly as concerns gastrointestinal symptoms and vitamin deficiencies, warranting nutritional/dietary counselling by a multidisciplinary team before, during and after pregnancy.

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