The Risk of Birth Defects to Children of Obese Mothers Reduced by Weight-Loss Surgery

In a recent article in JAMA, the risk of major birth defects was found to be about 30% lower in children whose mother had weight-loss surgery than in children of obese untreated women. [Neovius M, et al. JAMA. 2019;doi:10.1001/jama.2019.12925].

Swedish researchers examined data on more than 33,000 births between 2007 and 2014. The risk of major birth defects was 4.9% in children born to untreated obese women as compared to 3.5% among normal weight women. But the risk of major birth defects was reduced to 3.4% in the children born to women who had gastric bypass surgery.

This research serves to assuage fears that bariatric surgery creates nutritional deficiencies which might increase the risk of birth defects and can’t be satisfactorily managed by patients taking their recommended nutritional supplements.