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The surgical management of obesity in young women: Consideration of the mother's and baby's health before, during, and after pregnancy

Lookup NU author(s): Stephen Attwood


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Background: Maternal obesity has a substantial associated morbidity and mortality affecting both mother and child. This has a major impact on provision of care due to increased requirements for both medical and surgical management of the consequences that follow obesity in pregnancy. Methods: A review examined the English language literature on Medline databases describing the effect of obesity on pregnancy and outcomes of pregnancy after bariatric surgery. Guidelines from the National Institute for Clinical Excellence yielded information on selection criteria for fertility treatment and bariatric surgery. The World Health Organization definitions of overweight and obesity were adhered to throughout this review. Results: The level of clinical and morbid obesity has shown a dramatic increase in women of childbearing age, with far-reaching consequences for both their own health and that of their offspring. Obese women require a substantial amount of additional clinical care beyond that offered to women of normal weight due to the wide range of medical and obstetric complications they experience. Recent evidence suggests that obesity may be implicated in approximately one-third of maternal deaths. The consensus of the literature is that the best way to reduce obesity-associated morbidity is by weight reduction before pregnancy. Where behavioral and medical interventions fail, the most successful method is bariatric surgery. The effect of surgery on the outcome of subsequent pregnancies indicate improved chances of normal pregnancy, delivery, and healthy babies. Conclusions: Bariatric surgery is a safe and effective method of weight loss for morbidly obese women of childbearing age, with favorable outcomes for pregnancies after surgery. © 2008 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Grundy MA, Woodcock S, Attwood SE

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Surgical Endoscopy

Year: 2008

Volume: 22

Issue: 10

Pages: 2107-2116

ISSN (print): 0930-2794

ISSN (electronic): 1432-2218


DOI: 10.1007/s00464-008-0019-5