Women who are obese and in their child-bearing years may discover conceiving isn’t as easy as they’d hoped. With an eye on boosting the odds in their favor, some women pursue bariatric surgery to address weight-related concerns. One of the most popular procedures – the gastric bypass – has been shown to help improve fertility chances. This operation, however, can increase the chances of infant nutritional concerns.
Recent studies have shown that women who undergo bypass procedures are more likely to have infants who are small for their gestational age. The risk also rises for nutritional deficiencies at birth. Nutritional deficiencies may even occur if an expectant mother takes supplements during a pregnancy, one study suggests. The deficiencies mainly involve vitamin A, zinc and calcium, researchers say.
The findings of the study are not entirely surprising, researchers have noted. Other studies have shown women who undergo gastric bypasses may have nutrient deficiencies themselves due to malabsorption. The newest finding, however, may indicate a need for more rigorous supplementation during pregnancy. It is also recommended that babies be evaluated following birth to ensure their nutrient levels are adequate.
Gastric bypass procedures involve a two-step operation that is designed to help people shed pounds and keep them off. The surgery involves both the surgical shrinking of the stomach and a rerouting of the digestive tract. It’s the second step that reduces the body’s ability to absorb calories, which also limits nutritional intake to an extent. People who undergo this procedure are counseled to balance their diets carefully and to use supplements to ensure proper nutrition.
Obesity can have a direct impact on fertility. Addressing the concern may increase chances of conception. For women who undergo weight loss surgery, there may be a need for more careful monitoring to ensure babies conceived and born are properly nourished along the way.