Washington, Sept 2 (ANI): Obese women who undergo weight loss surgery before pregnancy tend to have children who are less likely to become fat, according to a new study.
Previous studies of obese pregnant women have shown that obesity and its co-morbidities can be transmitted to their children, which indicates that the intrauterine environment may determine whether a child at birth is already destined to become obese.
"Our study confirms previous research showing that the intrauterine environment may be more important than genes and the post-natal environment when it comes to the association between maternal obesity and childhood obesity," said Dr John Kral, of SUNY Downstate Medical Centre in Brooklyn, N.Y. and co-author of the study.
"Any medical or surgical treatment to reduce obesity and existing metabolic disorders before pregnancy can be an investment in the life of future offspring," he added.
Weight-loss surgery limits the amount of food a person can consume. Some of these operations also restrict the amount of food that can be digested.
In the new study, the researchers focused on 49 women who had undergone biliopancreatic diversion (BPD) prior to becoming pregnant.
This operation changes the normal process of digestion by making the stomach smaller and directing food to bypass part of the small intestine resulting in fewer calorie absorption.
The study showed that children who were born after their mother underwent weight-loss surgery had reduced birth weight and waist circumference.
They were three times less likely to become severely obese.
Furthermore, children born after their mother's weight-loss surgery had improved cardiovascular markers including reduced insulin resistance and lower cholesterol.
"Our findings show that obese women should be encouraged to lose weight before becoming pregnant, and then, once pregnant, should limit their weight gain," said Kral.
"For those women interested in both surgical treatment and having children, we believe surgery should come first. Preventing obesity and treating it effectively in young women could prevent further transmission to future generations," he added.
The study appears in Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. (ANI)