Research Article: Pregnancy after bariatric surgery and adverse perinatal outcomes: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Date Published: August 6, 2019

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Author(s): Zainab Akhter, Judith Rankin, Dries Ceulemans, Lem Ngongalah, Roger Ackroyd, Roland Devlieger, Rute Vieira, Nicola Heslehurst, Kathleen Rasmussen

Abstract: BackgroundWomen who undergo bariatric surgery prior to pregnancy are less likely to experience comorbidities associated with obesity such as gestational diabetes and hypertension. However, bariatric surgery, particularly malabsorptive procedures, can make patients susceptible to deficiencies in nutrients that are essential for healthy fetal development. The objective of this systematic review and meta-analysis is to investigate the association between pregnancy after bariatric surgery and adverse perinatal outcomes.Methods and findingsSearches were conducted in Medline, Embase, PsycINFO, CINAHL, Scopus, and Google Scholar from inception to June 2019, supplemented by hand-searching reference lists, citations, and journals. Observational studies comparing perinatal outcomes post-bariatric surgery to pregnancies without prior bariatric surgery were included. Outcomes of interest were perinatal mortality, congenital anomalies, preterm birth, postterm birth, small and large for gestational age (SGA/LGA), and neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) admission. Pooled effect sizes were calculated using random-effects meta-analysis. Where data were available, results were subgrouped by type of bariatric surgery. We included 33 studies with 14,880 pregnancies post-bariatric surgery and 3,979,978 controls. Odds ratios (ORs) were increased after bariatric surgery (all types combined) for perinatal mortality (1.38, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.03–1.85, p = 0.031), congenital anomalies (1.29, 95% CI 1.04–1.59, p = 0.019), preterm birth (1.57, 95% CI 1.38–1.79, p < 0.001), and NICU admission (1.41, 95% CI 1.25–1.59, p < 0.001). Postterm birth decreased after bariatric surgery (OR 0.46, 95% CI 0.35–0.60, p < 0.001). ORs for SGA increased (2.72, 95% CI 2.32–3.20, p < 0.001) and LGA decreased (0.24, 95% CI 0.14–0.41, p < 0.001) after gastric bypass but not after gastric banding. Babies born after bariatric surgery (all types combined) weighed over 200 g less than those born to mothers without prior bariatric surgery (weighted mean difference −242.42 g, 95% CI −307.43 to −177.40 g, p < 0.001). There was low heterogeneity for all outcomes (I2 < 40%) except LGA. Limitations of our study are that as a meta-analysis of existing studies, the results are limited by the quality of the included studies and available data, unmeasured confounders, and the small number of studies for some outcomes.ConclusionsIn our systematic review of observational studies, we found that bariatric surgery, especially gastric bypass, prior to pregnancy was associated with increased risk of some adverse perinatal outcomes. This suggests that women who have undergone bariatric surgery may benefit from specific preconception and pregnancy nutritional support and increased monitoring of fetal growth and development. Future studies should explore whether restrictive surgery results in better perinatal outcomes, compared to malabsorptive surgery, without compromising maternal outcomes. If so, these may be the preferred surgery for women of reproductive age.Trial registrationPROSPERO CRD42017051537.

Partial Text: Obesity is a global public health challenge with over 650 million adults affected worldwide, and prevalence continues to rise, making obesity the most common medical condition in women of reproductive age [1,2]. Maternal obesity, defined as prepregnancy body mass index (BMI) ≥ 30 kg/m2, has severe implications for both mother and baby. Maternal risks include higher likelihood of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and cesarean section [3]. For the neonate, there is increased risk of pre- and postterm birth, small and large for gestational (SGA/LGA), congenital anomalies, and perinatal mortality [3,4]. Interventions to reduce maternal obesity are important not only to improve pregnancy outcomes but also to reduce the long-term health burden on the mother and offspring, including cardiovascular disease and insulin resistance [5].

This systematic review and meta-analysis has demonstrated that perinatal mortality, congenital anomalies, preterm birth, SGA, and NICU admission are associated with increased odds in women who have had bariatric surgery prior to pregnancy compared to women without prior bariatric surgery. Postterm birth and LGA, however, are associated with decreased odds after bariatric surgery. Malabsorptive procedures were associated with a significant increase in SGA and decrease in LGA, whereas restrictive procedures were not. Subgrouping by type of surgery significantly reduced heterogeneity for the outcomes with a high I2 value, whereas subgrouping by control group did not. There was no evidence of publication bias for any outcome except LGA.



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