A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) shows that children who are born two years or less after their mother’s had bariatric surgery are at an increased risk for perinatal complications. In this case, perinatal complications refer to health complications that present either in the weeks precipitating or immediately following the child’s birth.
Bariatric surgery is a type of medical procedure in which the size of the stomach is reduced with either a gastric band or by decreasing the size of the stomach by removing a portion of it. Sometimes, the procedure involves resecting and re-routing the small intestine to the stomach pouch; therefore, there are a few different surgical methods that can be used. Bariatric surgery is commonly used for weight loss.
For children born within two years of their mother’s bariatric surgery, especially since the mother has undergone physiological, metabolic and/or nutritional changes, the danger of health complications escalates. Studies have shown that after a woman has bariatric surgery she may suffer from nutritional deficiencies, and these deficiencies can negatively affect the development of a fetus, which can lead to medical problems either before or after birth.
Furthermore, the risk of NICU admission, premature birth, small size gestational age and a low Apgar score all increase when a baby is born within the two years following bariatric surgery. An Apgar score is a test that measures the Appearance, Pulse, Grimace, Activity, and Respiration of a baby at respectively one and five minutes after it is born. The study reflected that as time goes on, the risk that a child faces diminishes; by four years after bariatric surgery the infant’s risk level for medical issues decreased overall.
For these reasons, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists made the recommendation that women avoid becoming pregnant for minimally two years after bariatric procedures. Although the study was able to show the link between bariatric surgery and perinatal complications, the cause behind the connection is still heavily examined. The investigators who participated in the study found that maternal obesity appeared to play the largest, contributing role.
Many of the women who had bariatric surgery to lose weight remained obese, although they had lost different amounts of weight afterwards. Obesity comes along with what are called comorbid conditions, which include placental corruption, miscarriage, stillbirth, preeclampsia and congenital anomalies. Although some of these risk factors may decrease as post-bariatric patients lose weight, some also stick around, threatening the mother’s overall health as well as the health of her child.
Bariatric surgery is most often performed on women; they compromise 80% of all bariatric patients. For this reason coupled with pregnancy, it is important for women to heed the recommendation from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. As always, it is best to speak directly with your doctor or healthcare professional, especially if you are a woman who is considering becoming pregnant and has had bariatric surgery.
The Philadelphia personal injury lawyers at Galfand Berger have successfully represented clients in many different practice areas. If you or any of your loved has any legal questions, an attorney at Galfand Berger, LLP can help. With offices located in Philadelphia, Reading and Bethlehem, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.