One in five women in the United States are obese at the time of conception. Obesity during pregnancy can increase the risk of complications for both mothers and infants, a common reason why younger women may explore the option of weight loss surgery. A new study examined the risks of prematurity, low birth weight and intensive care (ICU) admission for the infants of mothers who underwent bariatric surgery prior to pregnancy.

Researchers from the University of Washington Medical Center studied the birth certificates and hospital discharge data of more than 10,000 mothers and infants in Washington state from 1980 to 2013. They compared outcomes of women who had weight loss surgery prior to pregnancy to those who did not. The researchers found that women who had undergone bariatric surgery and gave birth within 2-3 years had a higher risk of complications. They suggest that women having bariatric surgery should wait as long as possible before conceiving in order to decrease these risks.