In the UK, more women are having weight loss surgery and at a younger age.
Weight loss surgery, also known as metabolic surgery, can be a very effective treatment for obesity. Loss of excess weight may improve fertility. It may also reduce the risk of pregnancy complications linked to excess weight. Dietary intake during the preconception period is extremely important for the health of the infant and mother.
Individuals who have had metabolic surgery are at high risk of malnutrition, particularly in the initial months after surgery. Food intake is usually restricted to very small portions and absorption of nutrients may be reduced. There may, therefore, be some health risks in pregnancies occurring after metabolic surgery and several questions remain unanswered.
Preliminary research is now underway with our collaborators at the University of Surrey and Western Sussex Hospitals in Chichester. Together with our clinical schools in the South West of England, we plan to set up a study to investigate the diet and reproductive health of women before and after metabolic surgery. We will look at how women’s nutrition, health, wellbeing and fertility change over that time period, to learn more and help improve the care of this population group.
For more information about this research, please contact Kate Maslin.