Bariatric surgery before pregnancy may increase risk for gestational diabetes

A recent study published in the August issue of The Journal of the American College of Surgeons reveals that obese women who undergo bariatric surgery before pregnancy have three times the risk of developing gestational diabetes.

This disease affects an estimated seven percent of all pregnancies in the U.S. and its prevalence is increasing in individuals who carry excess weight. Approximately 33 percent of women over the age of 19 are currently obese.

"The major finding of our study is that women who had bariatric surgery before they delivered reduced odds of gestational diabetes when compared with women who had [the procedure] after they [gave birth]," said lead author Anne E. Burke from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

The researchers compared the rate of gestational diabetes in two groups of women. Only 8 percent of the individuals who underwent the procedure following childbirth had the condition, compared to 27 percent of patients who had the operation before pregnancy.

They said that although a growing body of research supports the safety and efficacy of bariatric surgery to reverse obesity, women should consult with their doctors to determine whether the procedure is right for them.