The siblings known as the thousand-pound sisters, Tammy and Amy Slaton, were the subjects of the previous post. Amy lost enough weight on her own to qualify for bariatric surgery and underwent the gastric bypass procedure.
From a starting point of over 400 pounds, she shrank to 276; and also got pregnant about four months after her surgery, a move that is not recommended. Women in this situation are usually advised to wait at least two years. Fans of the media personality were pleased that baby boy Gage was born healthy (delivered by C-section because he was in breech position) at 5 pounds, 6 ounces.
But why the recommendation to wait as long as 24 months before embarking on a pregnancy? Because there can be complications — serious ones, like miscarriage, which occurs at a higher than the average rate to women who are a year or a year and a half post-bariatric surgery. It seems important for the mother’s body weight to stabilize, and for any nutrient deficiencies to be detected and corrected. Bariatric surgeon Dr. Michael Fishman says,
We know the risk of miscarriage is extremely high in the first 12 to 18 months after having weight loss surgery. Your body is working so hard to help this fetus grow but at the same time, you’re dropping all this weight. It’s counterintuitive to what a body should be doing during a pregnancy.
Now, leaving aside bariatric patients, what happens with maternal obesity in general?
Way back in 2015, researchers from three universities got together and studied pregnant obese women. They found problems that affect not only the mother, but the baby — among them, high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, and depression. Can this unwanted sharing include the passing along of obesity? Apparently, it can, as some authorities believe that “babies actually begin to become fat in the womb.”
Obesity expert Professor Donal O’Shea spoke of how the body-fat distribution of an obese mother’s fetus could develop differently, and how a baby’s appetite and eating patterns are influenced by insulin and insulin resistance. He said,
People have a tendency to put on too much weight in pregnancy and this increases the blood-sugar level of the mother-to-be, which in turn increases the blood-sugar level of the baby and predisposes it to be large at birth — and to potentially be at increased risk of overweight in childhood.
Professor Neena Modi, described at the time as the United Kingdom’s top pediatrician,
“warned that the country’s National Health Service was wasting millions on anti-obesity strategies targeting young people rather than pregnant women.”
A 2015 study compared groups of children, to conclude that maternal glycemia (the concentration of glucose in the blood) is “associated with some childhood anthropometric measures of obesity but not with subsequent body mass index, fasting glucose or insulin resistance.” Maternal obesity was found to be definitely associated with metabolic dysfunction and obesity in their offspring. Mark B. Landon, M.D. said,
We have known for some time that maternal glycemia has a direct impact on neonatal obesity. This analysis confirms that maternal obesity is far more significant as a risk for childhood obesity than are mild elevations of glucose levels during pregnancy. This research further suggests that efforts to reduce obesity prior to pregnancy should be emphasized in clinical practice.
(To be continued…)
Your responses and feedback are welcome!
Source: “‘1000-lb Sisters’ star Amy Slaton pregnant four months after weight-loss surgery,” Today.com, 12/09/20
Source: “The hidden risks of being overweight and pregnant,” Independent/ie, 05/28/15 Source: “Researchers to highlight impact of maternal glycemia on childhood obesity,” News-Medical.net, 02/03/15
Image by Dustin and Jennifer Stacey/CC BY 2.0