Public Release:  Ben-Gurion U researchers -- bariatric surgery minimizes pregnancy complications for obese women

American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

BEER-SHEVA, ISRAEL, March 24, 2009 - Women who undergo bariatric surgery to treat obesity will reduce the risk of medical and obstetric complications when they become pregnant, according to a study by researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev's (BGU) Faculty of Health Sciences.

The study was recently published in the International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics by BGU Professor Eyal Sheiner and Dr. Adi Weintraub, also of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Soroka University Medical Center.

Between 1988 and 2006, 176 women had 301 (0.17%) deliveries that occurred before bariatric surgery and 354 women had 507 (0.28%) deliveries that occurred after bariatric surgery.

The study indicated that the risk of gestational diabetes alone drops by 60 percent when an obese woman has bariatric surgery before getting pregnant. There were significantly lower rates of hypertensive disorders in general and severe pre-eclampsia in particular, as well as lower rates of diabetes mellitus and anemia (defined as maternal hemoglobin less than 10 g/dL) following bariatric surgery.

The study did show, however, a significantly higher rate of cesarean births in women who had undergone bariatric surgery.

The prevalence of people who are overweight or obese has increased dramatically in high-income countries over the past 20 years. In the United States, for example, figures for 1999 through 2002 showed that some two-thirds (65.1%) of Americans aged 20 years or older had a body mass index (BMI, calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared) greater than 25 and were considered overweight; one-third (30.4%) were considered obese (BMI greater than 30), and 4.9% were morbidly obese (BMI greater than 40). Between 1999 and 2002, close to one-third of women of childbearing age (20󈞓 years) in the United States were classified as obese.

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About Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and American Associates

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev is a world-renowned institute of research and higher learning with 18,000 students on campuses in Beer-Sheva, Sede Boker and Eilat in Israel's southern desert. It is a university with a conscience, where the highest academic standards are integrated with community involvement, committed to sustainable development of the Negev. Founded in 1972, American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev plays a vital role in helping the University fulfill its unique responsibility to develop the Negev, reach out to its local community and its Arab neighbors, and share its expertise with the world. For more information, please visit www.aabgu.org.

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