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Weight-loss surgery may help obese women have safer pregnancies

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Photo by Ohmega1982 – FreeDigitalPhotos.net

An article in the New York Times, in reference to a recent study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, hails the benefits of bariatric surgery for obese women looking to become pregnant.

By definition, an overweight or obese person has excess body fat with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or higher. The normal BMI range is 19-24. Women store most of their body fat in the midsection that includes the abdomen, hips and thighs. The concentration of fat in these areas is a cause of concern for a woman looking to become pregnant.

Fertility concerns for obese women range from irregular periods and increased risk of Infertility, to increased risk of miscarriage and decreased success of fertility treatments. Women who are overweight require higher doses of fertility medications. They also have fewer eggs retrieved when undergoing IVF and a lower pregnancy rate. Obese women are also at higher risk for surgical complications during fertility surgery. In addition to decreasing your fertility, being obese poses risks to you and your pregnancy once you become pregnant.

In these women, weight loss (even just 5-10% of body weight) may dramatically improve ovulation rates, making periods more regular and will increase fertility and pregnancy rates.

According to the NY Times, “While the study found some risks for women who had surgery . . . experts said that overall the results were better.” This is good news for women – especially those in the USA, “where nearly a third of women who become pregnant are obese.” Click here to read the full article.