Alabama Bariatrics & Minimally Invasive Surgery

Bariatric Diet Orbera Gastric Band Sleeve Gastrectomy Gastric Bypass

W. Jay Suggs, MD, FACS, FASMBS
Huntsville & Decatur
Phone: (256) 274-4523
Fax: (256) 203-8791

  • slider01b.jpg
  • slider02.jpg
  • slider03.jpg
  • slider04.jpg
  • slider05b.jpg
  • slider06b.jpg
  • slider07.jpg
  • slider08.jpg

Contact Us

W. Jay Suggs, MD, FACS, FASMBS
Huntsville & Decatur
Phone: (256) 274-4523
Fax: (256) 203-8791
EMail: drsuggs@alabariatrics.com

Watch Our Slideshow!

Watch the Bariatric
Surgery Slideshow Here!

If you cannot view the
slideshow above, click here.

New Patient Packet

Follow Us

facebook twitter

Weight Loss Surgery in Decatur, AL and the Reverse of Birth Defects

Weight loss surgery surprisingly has a lot to do with fertility. It is a little known fact for most people who have talked about weight loss surgery outside a doctor's office. This is most likely due to the social stigma of outright talking about obesity in general.  But another relationship between medical conditions that patients don't really talk about is the connection between obesity and birth defects.  Not a lot of female patients who undergo weight loss surgery in Decatur, Al understand the connection between the two. So, what is that connection? Is there a guarantee weight loss can really reverse birth defect chances?

Obesity and Birth Defects

According to a publication on Nutrition Reviews, " ...the trend in the prevalence of obesity has also become a matter of concern to preconception healthcare programs. Prepregnancy obesity is associated with an increased risk of adverse reproductive health outcomes, including subfertility, miscarriage, gestational diabetes, gestational hypertension, preeclampsia, macrosomia, preterm birth, and fetal death."  But how do they know all of that? It all boils down to a long term examination of birth rates, defects, and the causes of those defects. How serious is this rate of birth defects?

Birth Defects and Infant Mortality Rate

mother-holding-her-infant-baby-UVFZWJ9And the observation of this trend isn't all that new. Surprisingly, observational studies that have covered the topic does not have only a wide range. It also has a very long time period of recorded information to fall back on. The World Health Organization was able to dig up statistical records from 36 countries all over the world. They were also able to start as far back as 1950. 

While infant mortality dropped throughout those decades, there was still a chance of infant mortality and birth defects in both richer and poorer countries. The chances of birth defects that contributed to infant mortality happened more often in countries with a higher poverty level. However, shockingly enough while it didn't happen more often, the chances of infants that died from birth defects were higher in wealthier countries.

These birth defects in both richer and poorer countries accounted for 30% of the overall infant mortality rate, and the sad thing is that a lot of them are preventable. 

Relationship Between Obesity and Birth Defects

According to a more recent, local study back in 2007 by Dr. Kim Waller in the University of Public Health in Texas, "We can expect major birth defects in four out of 100 babies born to obese mothers. The average birth defect risk is closer to three in 100 births among babies born to normal-weight mothers. "

 In the case of spinal cord defects, maternal obesity outright doubles the risk. Also, "Obesity-related risk increases in the range of 20% to 50% were also seen for prenatal heart defects, limb abnormalities, malformations in the anal opening or urethra in boys, and a condition known as diaphragmatic hernia, which can interfere with lung development."

While Spina Bifida can be mostly prevented with increased intake in folic acid, that still does not negate the possibility of other risks. 

So, should you plan on getting weight loss surgery before planning on getting pregnant? 

Weight Loss Surgery Can Decrease Birth Defect Risk

The short answer is yes. If you lose weight you are much more likely to get a successful pregnancy with fewer complications afterward. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, "Losing weight before you become pregnant is the best way to decrease the risk of problems caused by obesity. Losing even a small amount of weight ( about 10–20 pounds) can improve your overall health and pave the way for a healthier pregnancy."

What's interesting too is that we now have data that supports pre-pregnancy weight loss surgery.  Swedish researchers examined more recent data about women who got pregnant after gastric bypass surgery. "The risk of major birth defects was 3.4% in children born to women who had gastric bypass surgery. This is similar to the 3.5% rate among those born to normal-weight women."

What's more, it could be the same type of results that would come from women who got lost weight traditionally.  A more detailed study would have to go into it. But so far, it makes a decent amount of sense. 

So, if there is a chance that you are considering weight loss surgery in Decatur, Al, talk to a doctor about it. It's always good to ask questions. Especially if you are starting a new stage in your life.

Visit us at www.alabariatrics.com to learn more.